Lippis Report 197: Cisco’s Unified Fabric for Physical, Virtual and Cloud Environments

August 14th, 2012

Over the past several years, the term “fabric” has been used to describe a weave of computing, storage and networking that make up the foundation of data center infrastructure. Many networking firms use the term “fabric” to describe converged networking and storage. But today’s data centers are built with a combination of physical, virtual and cloud networking elements that need to interoperate and span multiple data centers. A modern fabric needs to incorporate all of these forms of networking consistently to deliver flexibility through a wide range of design options. Cisco Systems has one of the most expansive fabric definitions that is backed up by over 36,000 customers who deployed NX-OS. Cisco modifies the term “fabric” with the word “unified” to describe a functionally-rich fabric, yet control is simplified through integrated management. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review Cisco’s Unified Fabric from business driver, architectural structure and outcome point of views.

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Cisco Scales Up Its Data Center Fabric At Industry Setting Levels

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November 21st, 2011

IT business leaders are seeking data center fabrics that scale to support increasing density of physical and virtual servers at cloud spec. In October of this year, Cisco delivered a monster data center fabric announcement aimed at increasing scale, security and new data center services. A few highlights are the second-generation Nexus 7000 capabilities, a new Nexus 7009 platform, plus FabricPath capabilities on the Nexus 5500 and expanded Nexus 1GbE and 40GbE form factors of the Nexus 3000. Shashi Kiran, Director of Market Management for Data Center/Virtualization and Enterprise Switching at Cisco Systems joins me to talk about what IT business leaders will gain from this new announcement from a business outcome and data center fabric design perspective.

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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Cisco Launches FabricPath Switching System For Scalable Data Center Ethernet Fabrics

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July 1st, 2010

Craig GriffinMassively scalable data centers have unique requirements such as low latency, high performance, non-stop operation, simplicity of design, workload mobility and storage transport support. To address these requirements Cisco launched FabricPath, which is a scalable multi-link and multipath technology allowing 2 to 48 Nexus 7000s to be configured in a large, non-blocking Ethernet switch fabric. This fabric, called a FabricPath Switching System or FSS, eliminates oversubscription and creates a two-tier fabric. In addition to FabricPath, Cisco launched its’ F-Series 10GbE module for the Nexus 7000, which offers 32 ports of auto-sensing 1/10GbE targeted at server access, aggregation and FCoE implementations solutions. Craig Griffin, Senior Director of Product Management for Cisco’s Nexus 7000 discusses new Ethernet innovations for the age of massively scalable data centers.

A white paper on the topic is available here:

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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