The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Centers

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1 The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Centers Abstract: The transformation from a dedicated, or siloed, application-specific infrastructure to a shared and outsourced cloud infrastructure is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Enterprises today are taking advantage of the changes in incremental steps, in essence migrating from a purely physical infrastructure to a highly efficient virtualized infrastructure and potentially to a fully enabled cloud environment. This migration, and the incremental steps, promises to greatly enhance the efficiency and scalability of data center operations over time Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce.

2 Overview The data center is changing rapidly. Enterprise and service providers alike are looking to provision applications on the fly, scale applications seamlessly, and simply submit jobs without worrying about server capacity, memory or even location all while saving cost through server consolidation, reduced power consumption and highly automated operations. A confluence of technologies is affecting the way data centers are being built and operated. Blade and rack servers, multi-core processors and virtualization are driving compelling economic and transformative applications that are revolutionizing the data center environment. Business drivers, such as consolidation of locations, reducing physical footprint, reducing power consumption and achieving easier provisioning and maintenance of applications are leading to compelling CAPEX and OPEX savings as well as greatly increased service and maintenance velocity within enterprises and service provider networks. The transformation from a dedicated, or siloed, applicationspecific infrastructure to a shared and outsourced cloud infrastructure is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Enterprises today are taking advantage of the changes in incremental steps, in essence migrating from a purely physical infrastructure to a highly efficient virtualized infrastructure and potentially to a fully enabled cloud environment. This migration, and the incremental steps, promises to greatly enhance the efficiency and scalability of data center operations over time. Challenges in Realizing the Promise of Physical to Virtual to Cloud Virtualization and cloud computing have created a number of challenges in the data center including the increasing number of network tiers, complexity of the switching infrastructure, blurring of the lines between server, network and storage, and the mobility of operating systems and applications in what was previously a relatively static computing and networking environment. Increasing Number of Network Tiers Traditional data center architectures have included Top-of-Rack (ToR) or End-of-Row (EoR) switches which connect into either an aggregation or a core switch. Typically networks are deployed as two-tier or three-tier architectures. With the adoption of virtualization, a new switching tier has been introduced into the network by way of the virtual switch. The virtual switch is a software switch that sits inside the hypervisor and allows Virtual Machines (VMs) to communicate with each other. With the adoption of blade servers, it is becoming increasingly common to use a blade switch within the blade server enclosure that provides an additional layer of aggregation within the network. The blade switch allows communication between blade servers within a blade chassis enclosure and provides uplinks from the blade chassis enclosure to the rest of the physical network infrastructure such as ToR or EoR switches. The net effect of adding the virtual switch and the blade switch to the data center switching infrastructure is that the network architecture for the data center increases from a two- or three-tier architecture, to a four- or five-tier architecture. Rapid Propagation of Switches in the Network Server virtualization has created an explosion in the number of switches in the network because each server has its own switch embedded in the hypervisor. Previously, a single Ethernet switch could support up to 48 servers in a ToR environment or thousands of servers in a middle-of-row or EoR environment. Since each server has a dedicated virtual switch, an environment with 1,000 servers would result in 1,000 virtual switches. In this scenario, the cost overhead in terms of both OPEX and CAPEX is much greater than the comparable 20 ToR switches or a single modular chassisbased switch in a non-virtualized environment. The dramatic increase in the number of switches greatly increases the complexity of the switching infrastructure. Management Complexity The complexity of switching in the data center has increased not only in terms of number of tiers and switches in the network, but also in terms of complexity of switching management in the data center. For example, one issue is the configuration and management of a variety of vendors virtual switches since standards do not currently exist for virtual switches and each vendor has its own set of functionalities and capabilities. Virtual switches from many different vendors must coexist, not just within the data center, but even within a single server. Another issue created by the inclusion of switches in the server, whether a virtual switch or a blade switch, is which functional group has responsibility for configuration and management of the switch in the server. Traditionally, the networking group has been responsible for switches, but with virtualization there has been a shift in the control and management of networking-level functions from the network to the server group. The blurring of the line between the server and the networking groups can increase the likelihood of configuration errors, change management issues and can lead to more complicated maintenance and troubleshooting for the server and networking groups Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Center 2

3 Mobility VM mobility is a benefit of virtualization. Disaster and site recovery processes, as well as load-balancing applications, count on the ability to dynamically move workloads across the data center infrastructure. Resiliency and fault tolerance depend heavily on this dynamic capability as well. The ability to dynamically provision new workloads relies on being able to move workloads around, yet networks are static. Traditionally, network configurations were set up and rarely changed, but the need to provision workloads dynamically means that network configurations must also be dynamic. VM mobility requires the network configuration (VLAN, QoS, ACLs, rate limiting, etc.) to dynamically follow the virtual machine as it moves through the network. Extreme Networks Four Pillars Solution Physical Efficient Scalable Automated Customized Network Topology Reduce Network Tiers Bandwidth and Performance Fixed and Modular Platforms Robust and Flexible Stacking Integration with VM Platforms Network Profiles for VMs Heterogeneous (Best-of-Breed) Support for Virtual Machines EPICenter Single Pane of Glass Provision 1,000s of Switches across Multiple Sites VEPA 1G 10G 40G 100G lication and Awareness Support Automated Configuration User Generated Scripts XML-Enabled Infrastructure Open APIs Program and lication Integration Foundation for Achieving Value in the Data Center 5413_01 Figure 1 The Four Pillar Strategy Migrating from Physical to Virtual to Cloud To realize the compelling benefits of the move from physical to virtual to cloud, Extreme Networks has developed a network infrastructure solution that will accommodate the evolving technology landscape in the data center and address the complexities introduced by virtualization and consolidation in the data center. This solution will allow users to migrate from a traditional or physical infrastructure to a virtual one, and later to a cloud environment without forcing particular technologies or an operating methodology on the user This approach applies to enterprise data centers and hosting centers of any scale The Extreme Networks solution for migrating from physical to virtual to cloud is represented by Four Pillars (see Figure 1). Each pillar represents an advanced data center implementation phase. 1. The first pillar is called Physical. This represents the physical network that most data centers are using today. As this physical network is the foundation for all virtualization, it is important that this infrastructure be robust, easy to manage and scalable. 2. The second pillar is called Efficient. This is where the efficiencies of virtualization are realized. 3. The third pillar is called Scalable. This pillar provides support for dramatic scaling of switches and virtual machines. It also includes the highly scalable Extreme Networks Direct Attach architecture that supports switching of the virtual machines in the network, rather than on the server. 4. The last pillar on the far right is called Automated and Customized. This provides a model for data center managers to customize their environment and automate routine tasks which could otherwise be very time consuming and prone to errors at scale Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Center 3

4 Pillar 1: Physical Network Infrastructure The physical data center networking infrastructure is the foundation for the migration from traditional network designs to highly efficient virtualized environments and the cloud. As the data center evolves, the physical infrastructure must have the capability to meet the needs of evolving virtualized and cloud models. The infrastructure must be able to handle the increasing bandwidth requirements, address virtualization efficiently in the network, and deploy newer, scalable network architectures. The physical infrastructure for both stackable and modular chassis-based platforms needs to be able to address these evolving technologies without requiring the network manager to rip and replace their existing infrastructure. With its Direct Attach architecture, Extreme Networks provides the bandwidth and speed required with its high-performance, highly scalable fixed and modular systems. Extreme Networks stackable Summit series switches provide high-performance, line rate GbE and 10 GbE switches that can scale to support 100 GbE in the future. The BlackDiamond modular chassis-based products provide the performance and fan-out to enable a significant reduction of network tiers through highly scalable line cards, including a 96-port GbE services line card. These products create a compelling architecture for data center managers. Reducing Network Tiers Reducing network tiers is a key element of the Four Pillar strategy for the data center. The Direct Attach architecture enables the reduction of network tiers in non-virtualized, highly virtualized and cloud environments. There are two components to the Direct Attach architecture that enable the reduction of network tiers. The first includes highperformance, high fan-out line cards with cable consolidation, connector technology that reduces network tiers from five- and four-tier networks to three- and two-tier networks and reduces cabling in the data center by up to 83%. The second component in reducing network tiers is moving virtual machine switching from the server, where it exists today, back into the network. The first step to simplifying the data center network is to eliminate the blade switch tier and in some architectures, the ToR switch. Eliminating these network tiers greatly reduces oversubscription and end-to-end latency in the network. It also eliminates heterogeneity between switching layers in the network. However, the alternative to the blade switch the pass-through blade introduces wiring and cabling complexity that can be onerous. Extreme Networks has introduced products that can address the cabling challenges of the pass-through blade and ToR consolidation without introducing the oversubscription, latency and management overhead of a blade switch and ToR architecture. The BlackDiamond 8900-G96T-c blade, for example, incorporates 96 gigabit copper connections on a single I/O switch module. Utilizing MRJ21 cabling technology allows six Ethernet cables to be consolidated into one cable. In this architecture, a pass-through blade can be used for the blade server enclosure and a 6:1 cable consolidation ratio can be achieved, thus significantly reducing cable complexity within the rack. Furthermore, by connecting the blade servers via the pass-through module directly to the Ethernet ports of the BlackDiamond-G96T-c module in an EoR configuration, the blade switch is eliminated, as well as the active ToR switch, which eliminates two switching tiers in the network. The advantages of this solution are significant: Eliminates oversubscription at the blade switch and ToR layers by directly attaching the servers to the EoR switch Eliminates the management overhead involved with blade switches and heterogeneity across switching layers Eliminates the conflict between server and network management organizations regarding managing and troubleshooting of problems related to the blade switch Eliminates additional switching latencies associated with the blade switch and ToR switch Reduces costs by eliminating expensive active network elements Reduces cabling overhead and management issues Reduces power consumption in the data center Pillar 2: Efficient Virtualization Lifecycle Management Today s virtualized data centers are highly inefficient with respect to server-level virtualization because the network and server are isolated. The next step in the Four Pillar strategy is to efficiently manage a highly virtualized network environment with tight integration between the server environment and the network. This integration is required to enable mobility in the network as well as to provide network administrator-level insight and control into virtualization. Also critical to the success of achieving efficiencies are: Tight integration with virtualization management platforms Support for heterogeneous hypervisor environments Management of virtualization mobility through Virtual Port Profiles (VPPs) Full lifecycle management of virtual machines from creation to end of life 2010 Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Center 4

5 Extreme Networks White Paper To enable efficient virtualized networks, Extreme Networks has developed XNV (ExtremeXOS Network Virtualization) for VM lifecycle management. XNV is a set of softwareloadable modules that delivers network-level visibility, control and automation of virtual machines into the hands of the network administrator. XNV allows the application of network-level capabilities such as ACLs (Access Control Lists), QoS (Quality of Service), rate limiting, and more down to the individual virtual machine level as well as the automatic enforcement of these capabilities in the network as the virtual machines move dynamically from server to server XNV allows network operators to incorporate the same level of hardened network security already deployed across the corporate network to a highly virtualized data center Typically, virtual machines are managed through server management platforms and tools, providing little or no insight to the network for network administration teams. This results in significant operational inefficiencies when it comes to network configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting in a highly virtualized and dynamic environment. XNV brings complete network-level insight and control into the virtualization process through integration with server virtualization technologies such as those from VMware and Microsoft (see Figure 2). The set of XNV loadable software modules applies across the entire data center product portfolio, including the Summit X450a, Summit X480 and Summit X650 fixedconfiguration switches and BlackDiamond 8800 series chassis with 8900-series modules specifically developed for data center applications. Server 1 Server 2 A B C C MACA IPA MACB IPB IPC IPC Virtualization Layer Virtualization Layer Physical Server Physical Server MACA MACB 96-port 10/100/1000BASE-T, MPU21 BlackDiamond 8800 Series 96-port 10/100/1000BASE-T, MPU21 VPPA BlackDiamond 8800 Series VPPB ExtremeXOS Switch 1 ExtremeXOS Switch _01 Figure Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Center 5

6 Pillar 3: Scalable Virtualized Environments Large data center operators are quickly running into scale issues in their facilities. These scale issues manifest themselves in three distinct areas: explosion of the number of virtual machines in the network, Layer 2 and Layer 3 scalability needed to handle this explosion and increased demand for higher speed connectivity in the aggregation and networking core. Extreme Networks has created an architecture that allows switching to move back into the network, provides a data center product portfolio that can handle 40 GbE today while preparing data centers for 100 GbE, and enables Layer 2 and Layer 3 scalability that can meet the requirements of the burgeoning number of virtual machines. Today, virtualization in the data center is achieved by having a software switch in the server. This creates network scalability issues, as well as complexity and performance issues at the server level including inefficient use of server resources to run switching functionality in the network. As networks scale to tens of thousands of virtual machines per server, the switching overhead on the server can lead to significant degradation of server performance and erratic application performance. For this reason, the industry is looking to remove switching functionality from the server and put it back in the network, where it belongs. Server and application performance are one of many reasons for moving switching back into the network; other reasons include management simplicity as well as security. Extreme Networks Direct Attach architecture enables virtual machine switching to move back into the network and out of the server domain. At the hardware level, Extreme Networks has enabled support of both scale and capacity through the introduction of the Summit X480 ToR switches and BlackDiamond 8900-xl blades. These products provide unprecedented Layer 2 and Layer 3 table size support of up to 512K MAC or IP addresses. This capability enables highly virtualized environments to support the rapid growth of virtualization. This is particularly important in managed hosting and cloud data center environments and gives enterprises the headroom to handle virtualization in their environments. Virtualization has also created an explosion of the amount of bandwidth required on a single server. As servers change from hosting a single application to tens of thousands of applications, the need for 10 GbE connectivity has increased. Ten GbE interfaces are native on blade servers now and 10 GbE LAN on Motherboard (LOM) is expected this year on 1RU and 2RU rack servers. This bandwidth increase at the server level is creating the need for 40 GbE and 100 GbE at the aggregation points in the network. Extreme Networks data center solutions provide unprecedented scale both on the Summit stackable and BlackDiamond modular chassis-based products with support for both 40 GbE today and 100 GbE when available in the market. Direct Attach Switching Architecture This architecture allows administrators to leverage mature, well-understood and fully capable network switches at wire speed for virtual machine switching, while still enjoying the benefits of server virtualization. The Direct Attach architecture allows virtual machines to be directly attached to the network without going through the software switch on the server (see Figure 3). With this unique approach, Direct Attach enables a reduction in switching tiers by eliminating the virtual switch tier, which in turn reduces the switching burden on the server, reduces cost, reduces end-to-end latency, reduces oversubscription in the network and simplifies management. Finally, Direct Attach allows for uniform, network-based enforcement of security, compliance and regulatory policies in a hypervisor-agnostic manner. Extreme Networks Direct Attach is enabled through a software feature pack that implements this functionality across the entire data center product portfolio (Summit X450a, Summit X480, Summit X650 and BlackDiamond 8800 series chassis with 8900-series modules). VM Figure 3 VM Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. The Four Pillar Strategy for Next Generation Data Center 6

7 Pillar 4: Automated and Customized Data Center Networks As data centers deploy at scale, with increased complexity and computational density, it becomes increasingly important to be able to automate redundant tasks and simplify add/ change/delete processes within the data center. In addition, as integration of data center storage, networking and server resources increases, the network administrator needs the ability to easily integrate and customize deployments via common APIs. The ability to tightly couple all components of the infrastructure and orchestrate the management of the pieces via a common platform becomes essential to realizing the benefits of highly virtualized and cloud environments. The Extreme Networks switch portfolio is designed from the ground up to support automation and customization in the data center. The key elements to enabling automation and customization within the data center include: Conclusion Today s data center is transforming rapidly to take advantage of the service and economic advantages of virtualization and consolidation. We believe that data centers require a phased solution that allows users to migrate from a traditional or physical infrastructure to a virtual one and eventually to cloud-based services without forcing technologies or an operating methodology on the user. Extreme Networks Four Pillars strategy provides a seamless migration path for next-generation data centers that allows organizations to take advantage of the move from physical to virtual to cloud at their own pace without having to forklift upgrade the infrastructure along the way. A single modular operating system that runs across the product portfolio Support for standard XML API and SDK for easy integration with other management and provisioning platforms Dynamic scripting capability that enables easy automation of routine tasks (a.k.a. widgets see Figure 4) Widgets 1 to run convenient 2 programs on your switch EPICenter to manage databases required for virtualization A powerful management platform for managing and configuring the entire network Support for loadable modules that enable various functionality and capabilities CLI XML Widgets Scripts 3 XML to develop custom applications; interface switch with external applications and databases Extreme Networks automation and customization capabilities are built on the foundation of a single modular operating system, ExtremeXOS, and the EPICenter management platform. This foundation is the enabling element for the open API-based automation tools which include softwareloadable modules such as Extreme Networks XNV, XMLbased Web services and dynamic scripting capabilities that enable trigger-based automation capabilities in the network, such as virtual port profiles. HTTPS SNMP v3 SDK ExtremeXOS CLEAR- Flow Universal Port Figure Corporate and North America Extreme Networks, Inc Monroe Street Santa Clara, CA USA Phone Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America Phone Asia Pacific Phone Japan Phone Extreme Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Extreme Networks, the Extreme Networks logo, BlackDiamond, Direct Attach, EPICenter, ExtremeXOS, Summit and XNV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Extreme Networks, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the trademarks of their respective owners. Specifications are subject to change without notice. 1663_01 04/10

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