Fit-for-Purpose Data Center Networking

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October 24th, 2011

Simplified and optimized service orchestration maximizes the return from a virtualized computing environment
By Avaya

This white paper discusses Avaya’s approach to Data center Networking from a fabric perspective. Virtualization within the data center is now taken for granted, with some declaring that ‘Cloud Computing’ will be the choice of most enterprises and that applications and information will become commodities. Experience has proved one thing; the data center of the future cannot be built on the technology of the past. General-purpose products, outmoded techniques, and legacy designs cannot be re-packaged as ‘data center-ready’. Ethernet is readily available, cost-effective, extensible, and – as the 40/100 Gigabit developments prove – scalable. Find out Avaya’s approach to data center networking fabric by downloading this white paper.

Lippis Report 179: New Design Principles in Campus and Data Center Networking: In the Age of the Next Gen Catalyst 6K with Supervisor 2T

September 26th, 2011

By all counts, Cisco’s upgrade of the Catalyst 6K via its new Supervisor 2T, or Sup2T, is its most ambitious and thoughtful yet for the venerable platform. The Sup2T is a 2 Terabit (Tb) platform that triples the previous Sup720 performance. Thanks to the support of Virtual Switching System (VSS), the platform allows two 2 Tbps switches to combine into a single 4 Tbps virtual switch. The Sup2T is a major upgrade to the most widely-deployed switching platform in campus and data center networking in the industry. But while these performance numbers are impressive, it’s the new Cat6K’s network services and pricing that deliver most of the value. From a services’ point of view, the Cat6K stands alone.

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Understanding VXLAN Virtual-Physical-Cloud L2/L3 Networks

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September 26th, 2011

By Arista Networks

VMWARE VXLAN is a new network technology developed by VMware that enables stateful VM mobility across traditional L3 routed boundaries. This enables more freedom and flexibility in matching workloads to computing power. By enabling a larger, and essentially flatter network while building on top of proven models for stable scaling of networks such as routing and equal-cost multipath forwarding, VXLAN enables any workload to be provisioned on any virtualized host, anywhere in the network that is IP reachable. No longer do routed topology decisions restrict workload mobility.

If you are a VMware and network administrator who is building virtualized networks with more than 250 VMs or want to stretch a virtual machine farm across two data centers or two or more routed domains with full workload portability, then you need to read this white paper.

Building Cloud-Scale Networks Using Open Fabric Architectures

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September 26th, 2011

By Extreme Networks

Several technology inflection points are coming together that are fundamentally changing the way networks are architected, deployed and operated, both in the public and private cloud. From performance, to scale, to virtualization support and automation to simplified orchestration, the requirements are rapidly changing and driving new approaches to building data center networks. This white paper does an excellent job at articulating cloud-scale network architecture via an open fabric that accounts for all major industry trends.

VMready: Virtual Machine-aware Networking

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September 26th, 2011

By IBM

Data centers are undergoing monumental paradigm shifts. As demand for greater processing continues to outstrip available floor space, rack space, power and air-conditioning, the market has turned to virtualization to use the resources available efficiently. Most networking switches are not aware of VMs. This creates security and availability issues for both server and network administrators as they try to exploit the value of virtualization and manage this new environment. IBM® System Networking offers VMready®, switches. Find out how these switches solve the most difficult VM mobility and visibility problems.

Lippis Report 178: Nearly 2 Years after HP Buys 3Com for $2.7B, It Has Very Little to Show for IT: Can HP Make It in Networking?

September 12th, 2011

Back in November of 2009, I wrote Lippis Report Research Note 136 titled “HP Plans to Acquire 3Com Accelerating a New IT Convergence Era.” In that Research Note, I wrote

“When 3Com is fully integrated into HP what kind of networking revenue and market share can HP gain? ProCurve + 3Com is approximately $2B of revenue now. With the existing product lines can HP generate $5B, $10B or more of network revenue over five years? Time will tell.”

Well after nearly two years, HP Networking or HPN’s North America (NA) layer 2/3 Ethernet switch market share by revenue is nearly the same, bouncing between 5% and 6.1%, according Dell’Oro, with HPN’s Q2CY11 NA switch revenue share being down to 6%. Considering HPN’s limited results after significant investments in sales, channels and marketing, including its “proof-of-concept” plus “A Catalyst for Change” Cisco Trade-in program, not to mention engineering investment, the question is can HP make it in networking? We attempt to answer that question in this Lippis Report Research Note.

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Lippis Report 175: Cisco’s Data Center Fabric Weaves Computing, Networking and Storage for iBusiness Outcomes

July 12th, 2011

The tech sector is at a crossroads. In just 18 short months, mobile and cloud computing has fundamentally changed business assumptions and technical underpinnings of IT delivery. And in the process IT business leaders are fundamentally changing their buying requirements and corporate IT investments challenging existing vendor relationships. The tech sector served up corporate IT along technical lines of computing, networking, storage and applications, but these lines are blurring as every major multi-billion dollar IT firm now seeks to deliver vertical offerings comprised of a single rack of compute, storage and networking to address scale and simplicity associated with the new mobile and cloud computing models. Cisco, IBM, HP, Dell and Oracle all are repositioning their data center offers to address the market opportunity and shift to assist IT leaders building iBusinesses. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we dive into Cisco’s Data Center Fabric as it’s the furthest along at integrating compute, networking and storage access for corporate advantage offering a glimpse of IT’s future.

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Force10 Networks Introduces New Era of Open Cloud Networking

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June 20th, 2011

Force10 introduced a disruptive set of products to address the new cloud networking market driven by massive virtualization and cloud spec scale data centers. First its new Z9000 Distributed Core System promises to be 1/10th the footprint, at 1/5th the price and 1/20th the power consumption of other core switches. The Z9000 is 32x40GbE or 128x10GbE platform where multiple Z9000s are connected via an open distributed core supporting up to 24,000 10GbE server links. In addition, Force10 introduced a next generation ToR switch, the S7000 that supports 40x10GbE, 12×2/4/8G FC plus 4x40GbE combining networking, storage and Open Cloud Applications. Arpit Joshipura, Chief Marketing Officer at Force10 Networks, discusses Force10’s Open Cloud Networking products and strategy, and the new design options they afford to IT architects.

Lippis Report 173: Software Defined Networking The OpenFlow Way, Grabs Industry Attention

June 7th, 2011

In Lippis Report 172, I mentioned three huge trends that are starting to interact with each other creating a perfect storm that is gripping the tech industry. One of those trends is the creation of a software ecosystem in the networking market, thanks to the Clean Slate program out of Stanford University that has spawned the Software Defined Network (SDN) initiative and open controller protocol called OpenFlow. I spent a week in the Valley talking to people at Stanford and many industry executives from Cisco, Juniper, Marvell, Big Switch, Nicira, Arista, IBM and others. In this Lippis Report Research Note, I share with you what I learned. OpenFlow-based SDN is being both hyped and in its current state, limited, but it does represent a new paradigm that has the industry abuzz, filled with possibilities.

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Purpose-Built S60 Optimized for High Performance Storage

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May 24th, 2011

By Force10 Networks

Storage networks present major challenges for data center switches that must be resolved to ensure fast and error-free transport of storage traffic. Force10 S60 switches are purpose-built to handle storage traffic with line-rate performance in Gigabit Ethernet and 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks.

Lippis Report 167: Alcatel-Lucent Jumps into the Data Center Switching Market with Its OmniSwitch 10K

February 28th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgThe data center switching market is heating up. To address the scale issues posed by mobile and cloud computing nearly every network vendor is launching its own version of a 10/40/100 GbE fabric to connect servers and storage to the internet. At the heart of this fabric is a two-tier (Fat-Tree) network made up of leaf/ToR and spine/Core switches. Here leafs connect servers and spines connect leafs while also being interconnected in a logical mesh. The protocols to create this logical mesh are based upon IS-IS link state routing, but each vendor is taking a unique approach with Cisco using its FastPath, Alcatel-Lucent and Avaya using SPB (802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging) while Brocade VDX is based upon TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links). Juniper recently announced QFabric but has not detailed what it’s using for logical meshing. At the center of new data center design are leaf and spine switches. In Lippis Report Research Note 166, we detailed the latest ToR switches. In this Lippis Report Research Note 167, we dive into performance and power consumption measurements plus the use of SPB of Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniSwitch 10K, a new entry into spine/core data center switching market.

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Lippis Report 166: A New Generation of Top-of-Rack Data Center 10GbE Switching Is Here

February 14th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgDuring December 6-10, 2010, the Lippis Report and Ixia conducted the industry’s first 10GbE data center switching evaluation of Top-of-Rack and Core Ethernet switches at the modern iSimCity lab in Santa Clara, CA. We evaluated Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniSwitch 10K, Arista’s 7504 Series Data Center Switch, BLADE Network Technologies’, an IBM Company, IBM BNT RackSwitch G8124 and IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264, Force10 Network’s S-Series S4810, Hitachi Cable’s Apresia 15000-64XL-PSR, Juniper Network’s EX Series EX8216 Ethernet Switch and Voltaire®’s Vantage™ 6048. We are conducting a second round of test scheduled for the week of April 4-8 at iSimCity, and it is open to all suppliers of 10GbE data center switching. We learned a lot about these products, both in the lab and out. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we dive into the Top-of-Rack 10GbE switches we tested as they represent a new generation of products that exhibit low power consumption, low latency, high performance and are all based upon new single chip designs from Broadcom, Marvell or Fulcrum Micro.

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It’s Not Your Father’s Network

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February 14th, 2011

By Ken Won, Director of Product Marketing at Force10 Networks

Server and storage environments have seen a lot of changes in the past ten years, while developments in networking have remained fairly static. Now, the demands of virtualization and network convergence are driving significant changes in the data center network. Networks have always been considered as plumbing that connect servers and storage, but new, dynamic switches are changing the network’s role in the overall data center. It’s not your father’s network anymore, and savvy data center managers need to understand and plan for the changes that are coming.

This white paper discusses new network technologies, explains what they are, and suggests how to plan for them in future data center architectures.

Arista Zero Touch Provisioning “From Zero to Hero, in 20 Minutes”

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February 14th, 2011

By Arista Networks

While servers and applications have fully embraced the concepts of automation, sadly the network infrastructure, on which they all rely, is still mired in legacy technologies. Current methodology, such as CLI, requires extensive hands-on provisioning and configuration by knowledgeable personnel. In modern cloud infrastructure, network managers must be able to centralize provisioning and configuration roles to improve reliability, minimize bring-up costs, and contain the expenses of creating a cloud data center service. Whether you are looking to maximize the efficiency and reliability of your existing operations, or you are looking to take advantage of a cloud-based infrastructure, fully automated provisioning is an essential capability, and Arista’s Zero Touch provisioning offers the first approach to automated network configuration.