Lippis Report 167: Alcatel-Lucent Jumps into the Data Center Switching Market with Its OmniSwitch 10K

February 28th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgThe 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.

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Lippis Report 166: A New Generation of Top-of-Rack Data Center 10GbE Switching Is Here

February 14th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgDuring 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.

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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.

Open Industry Network Performance And Power Test

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January 23rd, 2011

The IT Industry’s Second Open Network Performance and Power Draw Test
for
Private/Public Data Center Cloud Computing Ethernet Fabrics

Evaluating 10 GbE Switches

A cross vendor comparative test report conducted at Ixia’s iSmiCity defined by The Lippis Report. This report provides detailed test information on the following new products that have not been previously tested in public. The report details test results of the following products:

Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 10K,
Arista 7504 Series Data Center Switch,
Arista 7124SX 10G SFP Data Center Switch,
Arista 7050S-64 10/40G Data Center Switch,
Brocade VDXTM 6720-24 Data Center Switch,
IBM BNT RackSwitch G8124,
IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264,
Force10 S-Series S4810,
Hitachi Cable, Apresia15000-64XL-PSR,
Juniper Network EX Series EX8216 Ethernet Switch,
Voltaire® VantageTM 6048.

This 93-page report is a must for those evaluating 10/40 GbE data center switching equipment for private or public cloud infrastructure. You don’t want to buy data center switching gear until you read this report.

To download the report click here.

A Flat Data Center Network Fabric Discussion with Voltaire

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November 1st, 2010

Ronnie Kenneth, CEO, and Asaf Somekh, VP Marketing of Voltaire, a leader in data center networking, are my guests as we dive into Ethernet data center fabric design options. Data Center vendors are discussed too, and you have to hear what they had to say about Cisco. Enjoy, Nick

Lippis Report 154: Is Networking Too Rigid?

August 10th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgNetworking has become “rigid”. Yes I know it’s almost absurd to attribute inflexibility or rigidity to networking. Look what TCP/IP has done for us. There are nearly 2 billion people connected to the internet and according to the Internet World Stats internet user growth rate increased by 380% between 2000-2009. With 2 billion people and growing online, accessing a plethora of applications via a wide range of end-points there is no doubt that the internet and TCP/IP has been a much bigger success than anyone would have imagined back in the early ’90s. But there’s always a give and take between computing and networking where one drives and changes the other. Right now we are in a compute innovation cycle that’s driving a fundamental change in networking which screams out the need for more flexibility.

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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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Lippis Report 149: High End 10GbE Data Center Switches Reviewed

May 31st, 2010

nicklippis.jpg
In Lippis Report 148 we reviewed the major drivers and trends that are propelling the high-end data center Ethernet switch market to well over a $1B annual run rate. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the major suppliers of these switches. We review Cisco, Arista Networks Force10 Networks, BLADE Network Technologies, HP/3Com/H3C, Voltaire, Avaya, Brocade, and Juniper and identify their unique positions and offerings to participants in the burgeoning market. Our focus is the high-end, high density 10GbE switches that are enabling virtualized cloud computing data centers thanks to Terabits per second of back plane switching capacity, billions of packets per second of layer 2/3 forwarding, hundreds of 10GbE port connectivity per chassis, a new two-tier architecture, microsecond level latency, low power consumption, non-stop operation and software hooks that eliminate network barriers to large scale server virtualization. The engineering in these switches should be celebrated, as they represent the state-of-the-art in computer and network design. In short, they represent the fundamental building block of a new generation of IT delivery based upon cloud computing and virtualization. This Research Note is a must read for any IT executive designing a data center.

After finishing this Research Note, it became evident that this market needs a set of industry neural 10GbE switch test to independently verify vendor claims. We hope to make such a contribution this Fall.
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Lippis Report 148: What’s Driving The Multi Billion Dollar Data Center Ethernet Market

May 17th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgDuring last week’s Cisco Q3 FY10 quarterly financial conference call, John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, said something that impressed and shocked me. The company has been quiet about the growth rates for its Nexus line of data center switches until this call. What shocked me was that the Nexus 7000 is now on an annualized run rate of $1B, yes that’s Billion with a B! I remember being interviewed by John Markoff of the NY Times in Jan ’08 about the Cisco’s Nexus and Juniper’s yet to be announced Ethernet switches. In just 27 short months, the Nexus product line including the 7000, 5000 and 2000 represents a $1.4 B run rate of revenue to Cisco. Another insight gained from this ramp up is that the data center networking trends that we’ve discussed here in various Lippis Report Research Notes are powerful demand drivers for Cisco and other companies participating in this lucrative emerging market and its just starting! Companies such as Arista Networks, Force10 Networks, Blade Network Technologies, HP/3Com/H3C, Voltaire, Avaya, Brocade, Juniper, et al, have unique positions and offerings to participants in the burgeoning market. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the mega trends driving high market growth. We save a product review of each of the suppliers for our next Lippis Report Research Note.

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Lippis Report 147: What I Learned At Interop

May 3rd, 2010

nicklippis.jpgThis past Interop in Las Vegas was one of the best I have attended, since even before the economy took a noise dive in 2008. The tone and level of excitement of the industry’s growth potential was refreshingly up beat from the hundreds of IT and vendor executives I talked with. While the size of Interop is a small fraction of what it was in the late 1990s, (70k attendees with over 600 exhibitors to ~ 15K attendees with ~ 200 exhibitors) it still provides a pulse of the networking industry. In fact, Interop has come full circle, back to being a networking event even though it has added other topics. You have to give Dan Lynch credit for creating such a long lasting venue for our industry. Congratulations to Cisco, Arista Networks, HP/3Com, Mallonx for winning best of show in their respective categories and for Arista for winning Best of Interop. In this Lippis Report Research Note I provide the key industry themes that were evident at Interop this year.

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Scaling-out Ethernet for the Data Center: Applying the scalability, efficiency, and fabric virtualization capabilities of InfiniBand to Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE)

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April 19th, 2010

By Voltaire

This paper describes the challenges inherent in existing Ethernet solutions and how Voltaire’s new scale-out Ethernet architecture effectively addresses those challenges. Voltaire’s InfiniBand products and fabric management solutions have been addressing Data center architecture changes for years. Today, Voltaire delivers the fabric for the world’s largest supercomputers, the world’s fastest financial trading platforms, and the world’s most scalable database machines. Soon, Voltaire will extend its product offering to include Converged Enhanced Ethernet CEE switches and software, allowing end users with less demanding performance requirements to benefit from a far more scalable Ethernet fabric that also lowers overall fabric costs, lowers power consumption, has greater efficiencies, and simplifies management.

Find out how by downloading this white paper.