Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Peter Dyer, Michael Jannery

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, Linux, Virtualization

SDN Journal: Blog Post

There Is Cost Per Port and Then There Is Cost Per Port…

I let you do the math on the cost of that infrastructure. And the installation. And the maintenance

Earlier this week, Ethan Banks wrote a very nice article about Mellanox’s dual spine and leaf network in support of a large amount 10GbE access ports. After describing the scaled up network design, he reviews 8 observations about the design, not to point out good or bad, but merely to point out specific points to consider. Fully coincidental (Ethan lives close to us, but I am pretty sure he cannot peek through our windows) we had gone through a similar exercise this week, documenting the choices and limitations of spine and leaf networks. And as always, the conclusions are not ones of right or wrong, more of awareness of choices and consequences.

The Mellanox design Ethan describes employes an extra spine layer, we have seen and heard the same from Arista and others, some calling it a spine-spine or similar. Nitpicking perhaps, but adding a spine layer to a spine and leaf network and still calling it a spine and leaf network is like adding a docking station, screen and keyboard to a phone and still calling it a phone. It’s a computer that can make calls. And a spine and leaf network with an extra spine is a fat tree.

Ethan points out in his first few points that the sheer amount of cables and optics is astonishing. Let me try and put some numbers around that statement. If you build an approximate 3:1 oversubscribed spine and leaf network out of generic switches, I would probably use a Trident2 based ToR switch with 48 SFP+/10GbE ports and 6 QSFP/40GbE ports. The 48 ports should serve most rack deployments with single homed servers, only really dense or heavily multi homed servers would need more ports and I will use 4 of the QSFP ports to connect to my spine. That leaves 2 QSFPs on each leaf to be used for extra access ports, at the cost of some oversubscription. Or if I wanted I could use these as extra spine connections, lowering my oversubscription to 2:1. As a spine, and staying away from chassis based systems, I would pick a 32xQSFP/40GbE switch.

The largest spine and leaf I could build out of this combination is one that contains 16 spine switches and 96 leaf switches. In a spine and leaf I need to connect each leaf to each spine and I have the equivalent of 16x10GbE to use out of each leaf, which I can connect to at best 16 spines. With each spine receiving 1x10GbE from each leaf, I can build out to 96 leafs to fill out my 32xQSFP or 96x10GbE equivalent spine switch capacity. 96 Leaf switches give me 4608 10GbE access ports at 3:1 oversubscription, 5376 at a slightly worse oversubscription if I use the extra QSFP ports on my leaf switches. To support these 5376 access ports, I need 3584 10GbE fabric ports: 16 each from 96 leaf switches plus 32×4 from each spine. That means 1792 switch interconnect cables. And 3584 10GbE short reach optics, because the vast majority of connections between spines and leafs is likely to be at a distance that DAC cables cannot cover (not considering the fact that most high density 10GbE switches are designed without PHYs, limiting the use of passive cables to usually 5m or less).

I let you do the math on the cost of that infrastructure. And the installation. And the maintenance. And the sheer complexity of running a 10GbE from each leaf to each spine. If you want to reduce some of this complexity, you can switch to using 40GbE/QSFPs between the leafs and spines, but by doing so you have reduced the maximum size of the network. Each leaf will now contribute 1 QSFP worth of interconnect to each spine, to a 32xQSFP spine can only support 32 leaf switches, or 1536 10GbE access ports (1792 if you use the 2 extra leaf QSFP ports). And you probably noticed that I left no room on the spine switches to actually leave this spine and leaf network to the rest of the network infrastructure. Taking a few QSFPs for that will reduce the size of the network more.

Even in the spine, spine and leaf network (or spine, leaf and ToR in Mellanox terminology) the amount of cabling between the ToR (someone explain why that is not the leaf of the network?) and the aggregation leaf may be reduced, the cabling between their aggregation leaf and spine still follows the same model as above.

We often focus on the cost of switches and the derived cost per port. Of course the cost per port is important, but don’t fool yourself by taking the cost of a switch and dividing it by the number of ports it supports. It makes for great quotes in press releases, but the actual cost for that port is way higher the moment you add in the overhead required to connect that port to the rest of the network. And for spine and leaf networks, the cost of the rest of the network has a very large portion of cables and optics. Even for reasonably priced optics, that piece of the infrastructure is likely going to cost more than the cost of the spine switches together. Even when you create one of these multispined animals…

[Today's fun fact: The human spine contains 120 muscles and approximately 220 individual ligaments.]

The post There is cost per port and then there is cost per port… appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.