Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Flint Brenton, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, Miska Kaipiainen, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Managing Cloud-Scale Network Virtualization

Integrating Flexible, Standards-Based Switch Technology Increases Long-Term Network Value

Network infrastructure design has never faced more complex real-world demands. Fast, reliable connectivity is at the heart of business today, whether it is powering global systems, internal operations or customer-facing communications and services. Private and public cloud applications, complex usage models and scale requirements that may span literally billions of transactions have sparked a growing focus on scalable, high performance networks.

Private cloud networks installed in large enterprises are greatly influenced by legacy use models, whereas public cloud networks are characteristically greenfield designs, built from the ground up without legacy equipment or usage model restrictions. Public cloud network designs are generally chosen for their cost-savings, equipment vendor-agnostic, commodity-like scaling capabilities. The resulting network is designed for the future, with off-the- shelf, easily replaceable, and cost-effective network equipment. While the same performance demands pertain to private clouds, a public cloud’s focus on massive scale and support for multitenancy demands vendor-agnostic equipment and standards-based design approaches.

Virtualization is critical to meeting these cloud-scale demands overall – ensuring datacenter efficiency and keeping technology investments poised to evolve based on future demands. At the same time, virtualization is not a free pass for creating workable network infrastructures; the same efficient IT policies that apply to use of virtual machines in physical servers are relevant to network infrastructures as well. This is especially true of an enterprise evolving from a singular focus on operational efficiencies to a broader view of growth, flexibility and return on IT investments. Technology choices should address not only performance, but also footprint, power and long-term agility in transforming seamlessly to what’s next. Design flexibility is more important than ever, and greater value must be placed on flexible switch technologies that enable multitenancy as well as dramatic levels of scaling in support of virtual machines (VMs).

New Essentials of VM-Aware Switching

Historically, physical servers have been tiered for north-south data flow from access, distribution, and core layers to the wide area network and back again. Today’s network traffic moves in an east-west pattern – inherent in modern distributed systems and applications with data that travels across racks and pods. This methodology has resulted in rapid adoption of fast, fat, and flat network topologies and network virtualization in which deployments rely on sophisticated switching technologies to deliver maximum scale and performance.

VM-aware switching is ideal in these environments, which increasingly require native OS-based server level functionality without the performance hits sustained by virtualized servers running multiple VMs. Several standards-based switching technologies including SR-IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualization by PCI Special Interest Group) and VEPA/EVB (Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator/Edge Virtual Bridging by IEEE 802.1) have emerged to address this issue, and ensure improved performance and scalability of applications that run in VMs. With intelligent switching solutions, such as Smart-NV technology enabled Broadcom switch solutions, virtual switch ports support link aggregation, queuing, ACL, statistics, and mirroring services similar to how those services are readily available for physical ports.

Maximizing Fast, Fat and Flat Using L2oL3 Techniques

Today’s fast, fat, and flat networks implement high-bandwidth, high-density, fixed-configuration aggregation and access layer switches connected in a spine-leaf model. Often interpreted as an L2 network (either physical or virtual), flat topologies span multiple pods or sites within a data center or even across data centers. TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) or SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) technologies may be deployed to create scalable and large flat physical L2 networks with no multipath constraints.

When the underlying network is L3, a flat virtual L2 network can be attained using L2oL3 (layer 2 over layer 3) network virtualization technologies, such as VXLAN (Virtual Extended LAN) or NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation). L2oL3 overlay techniques are well-suited to large-scale data centers that rely on L3’s proven scalability of L3 addressing and multipathing technologies. These techniques further extend the benefits of fast, fat, and flat architectures, enabling network virtualization at cloud-scale and proving essential for combining L2 and L3 network topologies. For network designers, L2oL3 technologies – and the sophisticated network switches that support the transit switch and gateway features needed for such overlay technologies – are crucial to today’s cloud infrastructures and the design flexibility that is required.

L2oL3-based network virtualization technologies eliminate the VLAN-based scaling challenges (limited up to 4K VLAN IDs) that exacerbate scaling in multitenant networks. They also promise to detach network virtualization- related configuration from physical switches, enabling software-defined networks across multivendor equipment — an attractive benefit for public and hybrid cloud deployments.

Technologies such as Smart-NV technology enabled Broadcom switch solutions support new and innovative L2oL3 overlay network technologies to enable network virtualization at cloud-scale. This meets cloud-scale requirements – including extending the scale of virtual LANs, as well as providing VM scale, network partitioning, and hybrid cloud enablement for multitenancy support. This type of deployment also allows efficient VM-based workload placement through live VM migration across pods or sites in a single data center or across data centers.

Keeping Networks Poised for What’s Next

Global data traffic is increasing exponentially – today’s levels are expected to rise 26-fold within the next three years. In the year 2015, millions of minutes of video will cross the network every second and the number of connected devices is expected to reach twice the global population. With this unprecedented growth, the highly scalable, virtualized network deployments expected to manage an incredible amount of traffic must rely on innovative switching technologies to enable the full potential of network performance-sensitive applications.

Where tiered and over-subscribed network architectures have successfully served the tiered server environments of the past, today’s deployments instead require virtualization and clustered applications in servers. The significant increase in east-west data center traffic patterns make it clear that network architectures must transform to enable the required performance demands of these applications. Network infrastructure in turn can be used to gain a competitive advantage – today and in the future – as more and more data is generated by public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Virtualization and switching technologies optimized for cloud computing have the potential to future-proof the network for years to come.

Network virtualization complements server virtualization in private and public cloud data centers, helping higher ROI and business performance through dynamic resource allocation. Network switches designed for such data centers must support multiple virtualization technologies. Driven by both legacy and new use models, comprehensive network virtualization technologies are needed in enterprise private clouds. Further, public cloud data centers are designed and engineered for multitenancy, scale, and cost-effectiveness, requiring a subset of such virtualization technologies. Ideal solutions will effectively meet all network infrastructure virtualization requirements – offering flexible comprehensive performance and scale for current and next-generation private, public, and hybrid cloud networks.

More Stories By Sujal Das

Sujal Das serves as Director of Product Marketing for Broadcom Corporation’s Infrastructure and Networking Group (ING). In this role, he is responsible for driving Broadcom’s Ethernet switch business in the data center and enterprise LAN market segments, and the development of product, ecosystem and strategy based on technology trends and application workloads. Das has extensive experience in semiconductors, networking software, data center network architectures, virtualization, and server systems. Prior to Broadcom, he served in senior product development and marketing roles at AMD, Marvell Semiconductors and Mellanox Technologies.

Das earned a BS EEE degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India and an MBA from Santa Clara University. He has published and presented on numerous data center networking and virtualization related topics in well-known industry publications and events. He has been active in the open source community, driving multiple initiatives that have helped proliferate the adoption of high-performance networking in data center applications.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...