Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Destiny Bertucci, Stackify Blog, XebiaLabs Blog

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
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
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, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
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 lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...