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.
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.
The 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.
During 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.