Computer networking vendors have been increasing the speed and port density of their Ethernet switches while reducing power draw and price per port. But while Ethernet switching hardware marches on linearly, thanks to 10, 40 and 100GbE, networking software is taking a different historical path as the pace of compute and network technology evolution has diverged, with networking lagging. Highly virtualized server deployment has broken traditional networking approaches on multiple levels, for example. In response, the industry is now developing a “virtualized infrastructure” or “stack” to add network flexibility. To close the technology gap, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is promoted as the new “organizing principle” to deliver network software and service value. While it will be, likely, years before SDN’s organizing principles take hold, I propose that these two industry activities are inexplicably linked and phased; here’s why…
There are a growing number of options to make data center networking more flexible. One option is the use of Edge Virtual Bridging or EVB, which has been standardized in project IEEE 802.1Qbg and championed by IBM, HP, Brocade, QLogic, Emulex and many others. This approach extends the Virtual Ethernet Bridge or VEB sometime called Virtual Ethernet Switch (VES) used by hypervisors to connect VMs to the data center network. Renato Recio, IBM Fellow & System Networking CTO joins me to discuss IBM’s approach to virtual network infrastructure overlays and in particular its support for Edge Virtual Bridging.
During the middle of 2012, a few firms will introduce core switches for campus networking. Many of these products will be based upon merchant silicon such as HP Networking’s A10500 Series Enterprise Core Switch. While these products will boast performance advantage, they will find it difficult to win share against established firms such as Cisco’s Catalyst 6500, thanks to its investment in network services. In this Lippis Report Research Note 184, we explore the importance of network services and their role in campus network design.
In this Lippis Report Research Note 183, we provide our very popular annual top 10 2012 industry predictions that were provided by Andre Kindness, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Nick Lippis, CEO of Lippis Enterprises, and Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research. We take a look into the year ahead and provide our view as to what will come to pass. This Research Note is based upon the “2012 Networking Industry Predictions” Lippis Report podcast.
The following are our top 10 2012 Networking Industry Predictions.
The Inflobox plug-in module for VMware’s vCenter Orchestrator promises to bridge network and virtual IT team silos by enabling automated assignment of IP addresses to VMs. The Infloblox plug-in enables IP addresses to be automatically assigned to virtual machines in less than a minute and then constantly monitored and managed, which simplifies troubleshooting, accelerates time to value and offers greater flexibility for the virtual team. Steve Garrison, VP Marketing for Infoblox and I discuss the problems of networking in virtualized environments and how Infoblox’s vCenter plug-in solves them.
The Fall 2011 Open Industry Network Performance and Power Test Report is now available. Since our Spring 2011 test, we added four products from three vendors to the 11 products from eight vendors already tested. We now have data on 15 data center switching products from nine vendors in the new report to be released after Thanksgiving. Our cloud networking test of 10 and 40GbE is now the industry benchmark for cloud networking. In fact, only those companies that are sure of their product(s) enter the test at Ixia’s iSimCity. We found that 40GbE is hard, and thus you have to give credit to the vendors that go through the testing—in this test, those vendors are Extreme Networks, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent. These firms have high performance data center switching product that is Enterprise and Cloud service provider ready. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we share our the top 10 findings from this round of testing. Lippis Report subscribers can download the 125-page report here, free of charge.
The cloud model isn’t about transforming IT. It’s about reinventing the way organizations do business. Organizations in every industry, regardless of size or geography, are embracing cloud computing as a way to reduce the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches. Organizations that approach cloud in a tactical fashion risk adding complexity and inefficiency (not to mention security exposure) due to fragmentation, redundancy and operating silos. Conversely, organizations that embrace cloud strategically—from a business as well as IT perspective—can capture new business value through innovation, flexibility, speed, integrity and security—while reducing cost and complexity.
To deliver the cloud’s full business value, cloud-enabled data centers require speed, flexibility, cost-effective operation and scalability. This paper discusses the technical and business requirements of cloud computing, focusing on the networking layer of the cloud.
The Lippis Report has conducted three open industry test of 10 and 40GbE data center fabric switches at Ixia’s iSimCity. Michael Githens of Ixia interviews Nick Lippis of the Lippis Report to look back on what we have learned after testing eleven products from nine vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Brocade, Dell/Force10, Extreme Networks, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Juniper Networks and Mellanox/Voltaire. We then look forward as to what the industry will be serving up in 2012 for data center fabrics.
Download “Fall 2011 Open Industry Network Performance And Power Test Report” here.
While the Lippis Report test were being conducted of the Extreme Networks BlackDiamond® X8 Core and Summit® X670V ToR data center fabric switches at Ixia’s iSimCity, Darius Goodall, Product and Technical Marketing of Extreme joined me to discuss the firm’s latest product investment. We talk cloud network architecture and what’s unique about the new X8 and X670V.
Download “Fall 2011 Open Industry Network Performance And Power Test Report” here.
During the weeks of October 10 and October 31, 2011, at Ixia’s iSimCity, the Lippis Report conducted its third industry test of cloud networking data center switches operating at 10 and 40GbE. In just six short months, the industry has moved forward by breaking all previous records of data center switch speed, power consumption, port density and bandwidth. We added four products from three vendors to the eleven products from eight vendors already tested. We now have data on fifteen data center switching products from nine vendors in the new report to be released after Thanksgiving. During May 2011 Interop, we had eleven vendors provide verbal commitment to participate in this Fall industry test (remember it is free for vendors to submit products to test). As the deadline for signed agreements came, this field of eleven dropped to three because their products were simply not ready. 40GbE is hard, and thus you have to give credit to the vendors that go through the testing—in this test, those vendors are Extreme Networks, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent. These firms have high performance data center switching product that is Enterprise and Cloud service provider ready. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we share our insights gained from testing all these products and provide the topic cloud networking industry trends taking shape now.
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.
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.
Avaya has expanded its cloud networking product portfolio with the Virtual Services Platform or VSP 7000, a 10GbE Top of Rack (ToR) Switch and its new Virtualization Provisioning Service or VPS management software.
The VSP 7000 boasts a multi-Terabit Fabric capable of horizontally stacking many 7000s, offering a new approach to server connections. The VPS virtualization management application provides visibility and automated control of virtualized infrastructure. VPS is designed to provide NetOps and SysOps shared visibility of physical, logical and now virtual IT assets. Dan DeBacker, Director of Data Solutions Architecture at Avaya, discusses the new VSP 7000 plus VPS and the new data center design options they afford.
In Cisco’s Data Center Fabric, it has delivered a set of features and innovations that solve some of the most difficult networking challenges found in virtualized infrastructure. IP address and VM mobility plus adapter and VM Fabric EXtenders (FEX) offer increased support for virtualized data center infrastructure, offering designers flexibility to move virtualized assets independent of location. These innovations are proposed by Cisco that promises virtualization aware networking, lower cost and increased performance. Omar Sultan, Senior Manager, Data Center Architecture at Cisco Systems, and I discuss Cisco’s new data center virtualization tools.