Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, PagerDuty Blog, Yeshim Deniz, Eric Robertson

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
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...