40 Gb and 100 Gb Ethernet

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November 7th, 2011

Just as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is going through widespread
deployment in the data center, the discussion has now shifted to even
higher speed interconnects—namely 40 GbE and 100 GbE
By IBM

In July 2006, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Higher Speed Study Group was formed to look into the next evolutionary step after 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). In the past, Ethernet speeds would increase by a factor of 10. However, the next generation jump from 10 GbE to 100 GbE has proven to be a technological challenge. Some within the IEEE group felt that 100 GbE made sense for communication service providers and other backbone network providers, but not as a next step for servers—it was simply more speed and expense than would be needed for the near future. While the IEEE initially planned to standardize only on 100 GbE as the next step after 10 GbE, server vendors initiated a push in early 2007 to include 40 GbE in the standard, with the rationale that the effort used to develop 40 GbE would be used for the development of 100 GbE.

In July 2007, the IEEE 802.3ba study group was named, and it is the first standard to include two different Ethernet speeds—the 40 Gbps rate for local server applications, and the 100 Gbps rate for internet backbone—to serve both market needs. In June 2010, the official 802.3ba standard was ratified, opening the field to higher performance in server systems and components, data centers, network storage and systems, high-performance computing (HPC) clusters, data centers, carriers, and the like. This paper provides perspective on the placement and use of 40 and 100GbE.

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.

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.

Extreme Networks Starts Race to 40GbE Cloud Networking with Open Fabric

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June 20th, 2011

Extreme Networks has added to its Extreme Open Fabric cloud networking portfolio by introducing a unique 10/40GbE ToR switch in its Summit X670; an ultra low latency switch thanks to a PHY-less design and cut-through switching. For the core, the new BlackDiamond X8 is a massive core switch built for virtualized infrastructure. It boasts 192x40GbE or 768 10GbE ports, 5 Watts/10GbE port power consumption, 128K VMs, high reliability and compact size being only one-third of a rack or 14.5 RUs. In this Lippis Report podcast, I talk with Shehzad Merchant, VP of Technology at Extreme Networks, about Extreme’s new cloud networking products and the architecture it now offers to IT architects and designers.

Lippis Report 155: The Two-Tier High-End Data Center Ethernet Fabric Network Gains Steam

August 24th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgIt hasn’t been since the mid 1990s that the networking industry was focused on multi-protocol integration or convergence. But the industry is gearing up for a major innovation and competitive cycle fueled by the multi-billion dollar addressable market for data center network fabrics. Over the last eighteen months, every major Ethernet infrastructure provider has been talking about two and three tier network fabrics for high-end data centers.

Companies such as Cisco, Arista Networks, HP/3Com, Force10, Voltaire, Extreme, Brocade, Juniper et al have announced network fabrics for data centers with five thousand and more servers with and without storage enablement. Juniper talks of a one-tier fabric through their Project Stratus work with IBM to be available some time in the future. Brocade recently introduced its Brocade One, which is a converged data center fabric. Extreme Networks launched its DirectAttachTM that eliminates virtual plus blade switch layers. HP has FlexFabric, a virtualized fabric for the data center. Cisco launched its FabricPath Switching System or FSS for the Nexus 7000 that enables massive scale of a two-tier fabric.

In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the architectural attributes of two tier network fabrics.

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Lippis Report 153: Why Ethernet will be the dominant Two Tier High End Data Center Network Fabric

July 27th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgIn Lippis Report 151: A Two or Three Tier High-End Data Center Ethernet Fabric Architecture? we detailed the new two tier data center Ethernet fabric that is becoming conventional wisdom amongst business leaders of high end data centers and cloud computing service providers. The networking industry is headed for a major innovation and competitive cycle fueled by a multi-billion dollar addressable market for data center network fabrics. Over the last eighteen months, every major Ethernet infrastructure provider has announced or taken a position on two tier network fabrics for high-end data centers. Companies such as Cisco, Arista Networks, Force10, Voltaire, HP/3Com, Juniper, Extreme, Brocade, BLADE Network Technology, et al have announced network fabrics for data centers with two thousand and more servers that either support storage enablement or not. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review why it is Ethernet that will be the network fabric of high performance computing or HPC and cloud computing deployments.

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Lippis Report 151: A Two or Three Tier High-End Data Center Ethernet Fabric Architecture?

June 30th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgIt hasn’t been since the mid 1990s that the networking industry was focused on multi-protocol integration or convergence. The industry is gearing up for a major innovation and competitive cycle fueled by the multi-billion dollar addressable market for data center network fabrics. Over the last eighteen months, every major Ethernet infrastructure provider has been talking about two and three tier network fabrics for high-end data centers. Companies such as Cisco, Arista Networks, HP/3Com, Force10, Voltaire, Extreme, Brocade, Juniper et al have announced network fabrics for data centers with five thousand and more servers with and without storage enablement. Juniper talks of a one-tier fabric through their Project Stratus work with IBM to be available some time in the future. Brocade recently introduced its’ Brocade One, which is a converged data center fabric. Cisco just launched its’ FabricPath Switching System or FSS for the Nexus 7000 that enables massive scale of a two-tier fabric. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the architectural attributes of two and three tier network fabrics and review FSS and its accompanying F-Series 10GbE module.

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Ethernet: the Best Choice for Low Latency

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May 3rd, 2010

By Arista Networks

Can Ethernet compete with Infiniband in the low-latency trading and high performance computing markets? Administrators and IT professionals face a choice when deciding whether to invest in Infiniband or Ethernet for their low-latency networks. This paper addresses many of the characteristics of Infiniband that have made their way into Ethernet.

To learn more, download the Arista Networks whitepaper.

Arista Networks Addresses A New Era In Cloud Networking

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May 3rd, 2010

dougOur industry is in a compute innovation cycle thanks to virtualization and cloud computing and it’s changing fundamental networking requirements and design. These changes are beyond increased packet processing performance and ultra low latency. They extend to network design and product features that enable increased server virtualization scale, workload mobility and cloud computing. I discuss a new model for networking born out of data center virtualization and cloud computing with Doug Gourlay, Vice President Marketing at Arista Networks. This is Arista Networks’ first podcast; sure to be a classic.

Enjoy, Nick

Scaling-out Ethernet for the Data Center: Applying the scalability, efficiency, and fabric virtualization capabilities of InfiniBand to Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE)

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April 19th, 2010

By Voltaire

This paper describes the challenges inherent in existing Ethernet solutions and how Voltaire’s new scale-out Ethernet architecture effectively addresses those challenges. Voltaire’s InfiniBand products and fabric management solutions have been addressing Data center architecture changes for years. Today, Voltaire delivers the fabric for the world’s largest supercomputers, the world’s fastest financial trading platforms, and the world’s most scalable database machines. Soon, Voltaire will extend its product offering to include Converged Enhanced Ethernet CEE switches and software, allowing end users with less demanding performance requirements to benefit from a far more scalable Ethernet fabric that also lowers overall fabric costs, lowers power consumption, has greater efficiencies, and simplifies management.

Find out how by downloading this white paper.

Switching Architectures for Cloud Network Designs

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April 19th, 2010

Networks today require predictable performance and are much more aware of application flows than traditional networks with static addressing of devices. Enterprise networks in the past were designed for specific applications while new cloud designs in the data center can address a multitude of applications. This is clearly a radical departure from today’s oversubscribed networks in which delays and high transit latency are inherent.

To learn more, download the Arista Networks whitepaper.