Lippis Report 182: Top 10 Findings: The Cloud Network Industry Test of 10/40GbE Fabrics

December 5th, 2011

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.

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Lippis Report 181: Early Results of the Lippis Report Open Industry Cloud Network Evaluation of 10/40Gbps Ethernet Fabrics at Ixia’s iSimCity

November 7th, 2011

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.

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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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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 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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Lippis Report 172: A Perfect Storm Clears a Path for IBM to Re-Enter the Network Market

May 24th, 2011

Three strong trends are taking shape that are so powerful they threaten the status quo of the networking industry. These trends are more like storms than new markets; in fact they represent a major industry discontinuity. The first storm is happening now and is represented by merchant silicon for 10 and 40 GbE chips lowering the barrier of entry for new entrants in the Ethernet switch market. The second storm is much weaker but promises to be just as big, or bigger, than the first. This second storm is the creation of a software ecosystem in the networking industry, thanks to initiatives such as Software Defined Networks (SDN), OpenFlow, Arista Network’s EOS Central, etc. The third storm is the paradigm shift in enterprise IT spending thanks to mobile and cloud computing. These three storms are starting to interact and feed upon each other, forming a perfect storm in the networking industry. The perfect storm is already doing damage, as all major IT firms position product portfolios to navigate through it and prepare for its aftermath of making existing networking legacy.

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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.

Scaling-out Ethernet for the Data Center

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February 14th, 2011

By Voltaire

The Data Center Bridging Group of the IEEE worked to enhance Ethernet to support class isolation, low latency, I/O and switch virtualization, lossless traffic flows, congestion control, multi-path L2 routing, and L2 discovery and capability exchange. These new technologies are referred to as Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) or Data Center Ethernet (DCE). Voltaire’s CEE switches and software offer performance requirements thanks to its scalable Ethernet fabric that lowers overall fabric costs, lowers power consumption, has greater efficiencies, and simplifies management.

This document describes the challenges inherent in traditional Ethernet solutions and how Voltaire’s scale-out Ethernet architecture effectively addresses those challenges.

Network Automation with the Force10 Open Automation Framework

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January 17th, 2011

By Force10 Networks

Deriving a return on virtualization investments means deploying effective automation techniques that can simplify the virtualized environment while allowing a policy-based deployment model. While many network vendors have chosen a proprietary path to automate network changes, Force10’s approach is to utilize open and industry standard technologies based on the extensible and modular Force10 Operating System (FTOS), across a range of the heterogeneous Force10 switch and routers portfolio.

Find out how to automate network changes in virtualized infrastructure by downloading this white paper

XNV (ExtremeXOS Network Virtualization) Bringing Virtual Machine Lifecycle Management to the Network

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January 17th, 2011

By Extreme Networks

Server virtualization brings with it a set of network operational challenges: from configuration challenges around Virtual Machine (VM) switching to managing virtual machine mobility, to providing VM location and inventory in the network. There are few tools available to the network administrator that provides visibility, control and insight into the VM environment until now. Extreme Networks® XNVTM provides network-level visibility and control of the server VM environment in a hypervisor-agnostic manner and without requiring any changes to the server virtualization operating environment.

Find out how by downloading this white paper:

Reducing Network Tiers in Virtualized Infrastructure

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January 17th, 2011

Shehzad MerchantA typical “non-virtualized” data center has three network layers, Top-of-Rack, End-of-Row and Core switches. But virtualized infrastructure adds two additional layers—the virtual switch and blade switch—raising the number of tiers from 3 to 5. This significantly increases latency plus the number of network elements within the data center resulting in increased data center management complexity. I talk with Shehzad Merchant, Senior Director for Strategy at Extreme Networks, about Extreme’s flattening approach to data center network fabric through its DirectAttach.

A Network Approach to Automated VM Moves with Virtualization Visibility

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November 15th, 2010

Shehzad MerchantMove a Virtual Machine (VM) from one physical server to another, and network port profile, VLANs, security settings, etc., have to be reconfigured. Many networking companies haven’t taken the critical step of giving complete visibility and control of the VM lifecycle from an infrastructure perspective. But with XNV, Extreme Networks is bringing this functionality and visibility to network administrators, tracking VMs and applying policy as they move throughout the network. Shehzad Merchant, Senior Director for Strategy at Extreme Networks, joins me for a discussion about Extreme’s approach to network automation and visibility of virtualized infrastructure through its XNV software module.

How Direct Attach from Extreme Networks Reduces Tiers in the Data Center

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August 24th, 2010

By Extreme Networks

A typical “non-virtualized” data center has three network layers, Top-of-Rack, End-of-Row and Core switches. But virtualized infrastructure adds two additional layers; the virtual switch and blade switch, raising the number of tiers from 3 to 5. This significantly increases latency plus the number of network elements within the data center resulting in increased data center management complexity.

Extreme Networks® Direct AttachTM eliminates the virtual switch layer, simplifying the network and improving performance. Extreme Networks high density BlackDiamond® 8800 series switches with 8900-series modules further enable data center simplification by utilizing high density blades and cabling to eliminate the blade switch, thereby reducing the number of tiers in the data center from 5 to 3.

Find out how by downloading this white paper:

A Simpler Data Center Fabric Emerges For The Age of Massively Scalable Data Centers

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July 1st, 2010

By Nick Lippis, the Lippis Report

A number of independent trends are driving a new age of massively scalable data centers. One of these trends include a new IT delivery model based upon cloud computing, where large hosting facilities provide a range of IT services to corporations and governments. Further, high performance computing (HPC) facilities built via server clusters on the order of thousands to tens of thousands of servers and more has ushered in new favorable economics, thanks to its use of x86 commodity hardware. The growth of public hosting and HPC facilities will only continue as efficient data center economics point to a fewer number of highly dense sites. It is this data center market segment, where the number of servers per facility is greater than 5,000, that we focus this white paper from a perspective of fabric, connecting servers and storage to internet/intranet via high performance Ethernet networking. For IT architects and designers of high-end data centers, this is the most important network design paper you will read this year.

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