1 Data Centre White Paper Summary.. Application Fluency In The Data Centre A strategic choice for the data centre network
2 Modernizing the Network: An Application-Fluent Approach With virtualization it s critical that the network and the data centre, understands how to accommodate and dynamically adapt to increasingly demanding workloads. Building on the model that Gartner calls application fluency, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has adopted an application-fluent approach toward architecting the next-generation data centre network. The Application Fluent Network is based upon a resilient architecture with automated controls in which the network dynamically adapts to the application, user and current device to provide a high-quality user experience, as well as simplified operations. This is achieved through a design that is built on three core pillars and is applied to the data centre as follows: Resilient architecture: Simplifies the network through a data centre fabric that provides lowlatency connectivity, has a small footprint, and is ready for the convergence of storage traffic. Virtualization of the network allows for any-to-any connectivity, supports the definition of virtual data centres, enables coexistence with the cloud and supports Ethernet Virtual Bridging. It also ensures resiliency due to localization of individual component failures, and offers built-in security. Automatic control: Includes the ability for applications to be managed as services, where the network understands each application, adapts to virtual machine movement, and dynamically allocates bandwidth. Streamlined operations: Offers automated, low-touch provisioning of top-of-rack switches and applications. The design provides vendor-agnostic integration between the application virtualization platform and network management platforms, with the lowest power consumption possible. According to Gartner, an application fluent and scalable network can help enterprises maintain business continuity and meet user SLAs eg. Disaster Recovery Times, by addressing both the internal and external forces that can impact application delivery. At the same time, an application fluent network can serve as a foundation for data centre transformation, empowering the enterprise to further evolve towards a more flexible, powerful and simplified computing environment.
3 A Roadmap for Application Fluency in the Data Centre The path for moving from a client-server computing model to application fluency in the data centre. The path includes two important milestones for corporations: virtualizing the network itself with deployment of a switching fabric, followed by convergence of data and storage networks. Many organizations have already made the critical first step toward application fluency with server virtualization. Unfortunately, many have not been able to reap all of the benefits of server virtualization because virtual machine (VM) movement requires manual intervention to modify network provisioning. That is one reason why network virtualization is the next step on the path. Network virtualization enables the data centre switching network to route traffic based on the optimal path in the network without being constrained by the underlying physical connectivity. Virtualization of the network delivers a switching fabric with low-latency, any-to-any connectivity. Equally important, a true data centre fabric must automatically adapt to virtual machine movement to relieve IT of the burden of manually provisioning the network. The choice of virtualization technology for the data centre fabric is key to efficiently enabling a multi-site data centre and connectivity to public cloud services. Ideally, the virtualization technology would allow the data centre network to appear as a single, logical fabric capable of being physically spread across several corporate sites, as is the case with Shortest Path Bridging (SPB). This ensures that IT has a more efficient, unified framework to manage operations across multiple data centre sites. Having all of the enterprise data centres connected in this way, in effect, transforms the corporate data centre into a private multi-site cloud. The Fabric for Change: Bringing Application Fluency to Data Centre Switching What does it take to move from a multi-tier switching hierarchy to a true fabric in the data centre? The Alcatel-Lucent Pod Virtualization in the data centre requires enterprises to optimize server-to-server traffic while striving to reduce costs. Alcatel-Lucent s Pod employs a unique direct-connect architecture for top-of-rack switches as shown in Figure 2. The Pod is a highly dense structure that allows server-to-server traffic to be delivered without the need for a core switch. The example shown in Figure 2 interconnects six top-of-rack switches delivering 240 server-facing ports while keeping latency between servers in the same pod at less than two microseconds. The network virtualization technology used is Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) and Virtual Chassis, to allow all top-of-rack switches to be managed as a single device with one IP address.
4 Alcatel-Lucent Pod Virtual Network Profile (vnp) The Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Virtual Network Profile (vnp) is shown below. Using vnp, the virtual machine applications are managed as services where the network understands each application and can automatically adapt to optimize application performance, including automating the movement of virtual machines within the fabric, agnostic to the choice of server virtualization platform. The vnp contains the critical information the network needs to understand each application, including provisioning requirements, security profiles such as access control rights and VLAN assignment, expected quality-of-service levels, the priority of the application with respect to other applications, and specific latency and jitter requirements. With this knowledge, the vnp can manage applications as services, enabling the network to automatically discover the location of each virtual machine, bind a specific vnp to that virtual machine, and provision the network for the applications, including modifying the network configuration to follow virtual machine moves. Virtual Network Profile (vnp) Enabling Multi-Site Data Centres and Private and Hybrid Cloud Models Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise s blueprint lets enterprises transform the corporate data centre into a multisite, private cloud by enabling the data centre switching fabric to become one logical structure that can be physically spread across several corporate sites. With the fabric acting as one entity, it helps simplify management and improve security. The fabric can be partitioned to support virtual data centres for specific departments. An application or service can exist
5 in more than one virtual data centre and security can be applied differently within each virtual data centre and at virtual data centre boundaries. The virtual data centre boundary is adjusted automatically to account for virtual machine movement. It is critical for data centre decision makers to make informed technology choices, such as Shortest Path Bridging - SPB, to enable the corporate data centre to become a multi-site private cloud. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is working to drive the SPB standard for network virtualization, as it believes that this is the optimal strategy to enable a hybrid cloud model, depicted below. The hybrid cloud model lets enterprises broaden the flexibility, availability and scalability of the IT environment without sacrificing the security and control available with a private cloud. To enable the flexibility needed for the hybrid cloud, the choice of a service provider-compatible virtualization technology, SPB, and the ability to manage applications as a service with vnp are essential. Hybrid Cloud Model
6 The Benefits of the Application Fluent Data Centre Network Starting with the deployment of a single Pod, organizations can start to benefit from an application fluent data approach and manage applications as a service across a range of data centre deployment models, including multi-site private clouds, dedicated virtual data centres and a hybrid cloud that integrates service provider offerings. For enterprises, application fluency delivers benefits across the organization, from the end user to IT to the corporate bottom line. With an Application Fluent Network from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, organizations can: Deliver a high-quality user experience: Meet the needs of virtualized applications with market-leading low latency Automatically optimize application performance through management-as-a-service capability Minimize downtime by localizing the effect of network failures with resilient direct-connect architecture Increase agility: Optimize server utilization more rapidly and with fewer errors via automated virtual machine movement Simplify application deployment and disaster recovery with a multi-site private cloud Accelerate the rollout of new services through a hybrid cloud model Reduce Costs: Reduce capital and operational costs with a high-density, low power-consuming network fabric Gain application performance visibility to reduce troubleshooting effort Streamline IT operations through integration with standard hypervisors Conclusion Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise provides a new approach to networking in the data centre application fluency. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise provides a new blueprint for a complete data centre switching fabric which extends the boundaries of the data centre through virtualization of the network with an innovative direct-connect architecture. Leveraging market-leading scalability, low latency and low power consumption, enterprises can move beyond costly client-server computing by managing applications as a service across a range of data centre deployment models, including multi-site private clouds, dedicated virtual data centres and a hybrid cloud that integrates service provider offerings.
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