TRILL in the Data Center: Look Before You Leap

Listen to the Podcast

July 11th, 2011

In the quest to build a data center network that is flat, fast and fault tolerant, the networking industry has served up a new two-tier architecture made up of Top-of-Rack or ToR server connecting switches and highly dense Core switches. Core switches connect ToR devices. The key question is how best to provide switch connectivity to deliver a lossless, high performance, low latency fabric that supports virtualization mobility. The answer is found in Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group or MC-LAG, Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links or TRILL and/or Shortest Path Bridging (SPB). Dhritiman Dasgupta, Director of Product Marketing for Fabric and Switching Technologies at Juniper Networks, discusses its QFabric approach and why TRILL’s hair pinning method to inter-VLAN routing is a poor approach. It’s a fascinating discussion that you have to listen to. You can also download a white paper on this topic here.

Lippis Report 169: Making Sense of Data Center Switching Fabrics

March 28th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgIn the Lippis Report, we have discussed the fundamental changes shaping a new data center network architecture. These drivers are massive virtualization, a sea change in traffic patterns that are now dominated with east-west flows on top of existing north-south traffic, ultra low latency, the emergence of cloud spec data centers, etc. As a result, data center networking attributes are changing with requirements of traffic, steering in virtualized infrastructure, avoiding manual network changes as VMs move, removing oversubscription (thanks to spanning tree), streamlining network tiers to hasten east-west traffic flows, etc. The industry is responding to these changes and requirements with new approaches to data center networking, such as the Open Networking Foundation, Cisco’s FabricPath, Juniper’s QFabric, Brocade’s VCS, Avaya’s VENA, Nicira Networks’ network virtualization software, etc. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we explore a key technology to enabling two-tier network fabrics, and that’s link aggregation and its various approaches, including Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group, Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) and Shortest Path Bridging (SPB).

Read the rest of this entry »

Large Flat Networks for Virtualization, Cloud Computing and High-Frequency Trading

Get the White Paper

March 28th, 2011

By BLADE Networking Technologies, an IBM Company

Today, virtualization, cloud computing and high frequency trading place new demands on the system network fabric to deliver non-stop, ultra low-latency traffic flows. This traffic is increasingly “east-west” in nature to enable machine-to-machine communications versus the “north-south” traffic that characterizes conventional client/server and Web-based application environments. To deliver this east-west traffic using the most efficient flows, large flat networks are becoming increasingly popular. These flat Layer 2 networks eliminate extra hops to decrease latency, do not block any paths across the network, and are simple to configure. Such flat networks are built with large numbers of inexpensive top-of-rack switches, scale horizontally by simply adding more switches, and enable VLANs to span across a data center to provide larger server pools for virtualization. TRILL or TRansparent Interconnection of Lots of Links is fundamental to IBM’s approach and is explained in this white paper.

It’s Not Your Father’s Network

Get the White Paper

February 14th, 2011

By Ken Won, Director of Product Marketing at Force10 Networks

Server and storage environments have seen a lot of changes in the past ten years, while developments in networking have remained fairly static. Now, the demands of virtualization and network convergence are driving significant changes in the data center network. Networks have always been considered as plumbing that connect servers and storage, but new, dynamic switches are changing the network’s role in the overall data center. It’s not your father’s network anymore, and savvy data center managers need to understand and plan for the changes that are coming.

This white paper discusses new network technologies, explains what they are, and suggests how to plan for them in future data center architectures.