Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, ManageEngine IT Matters, Jyoti Bansal

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
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions 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. Founded in 1999, A&I Solutions is a leading information technology (IT) software and services provider focusing on best-in-class enterprise solutions. By partnering with industry leaders in technology, A&I assures customers high performance levels across all IT environments including: mai...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America 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. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale 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. Outscale's technology makes an automated and adaptable Cloud available to businesses, supporting them in the most complex IT projects while controlling their operational aspects. You boost your IT infrastructure's reactivity, with request responses that only take a few seconds.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, 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. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute 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. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu 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, 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. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, 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. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
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.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
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...