Future Proofing the Data Center: A New Architecture for Innovation and Investment Protection Built on Carrier-Class Routers

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1 White Paper : A New Architecture for Innovation and Investment Protection Built on Carrier-Class Routers Contents Executive Summary....2 Introduction: Understanding the Need for Carrier-Class Routers....2 Next-Generation Cloud Data Centers....3 Business continuity and disaster avoidance....3 Data center interconnect....4 Part 1: WAN Connectivity....4 Connecting Branch Offices to Data Centers and the Internet...4 VPN Functions and Capabilities....4 High Availability....5 Part 2: Data Center Interconnect....5 Pervasive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery....5 Virtual Machine and Workload Portability....6 Accessing Cloud Services....6 Routed Data Centers....6 Part 3: Application Access....7 Virtualized and SaaS Applications....7 Multitenancy Traffic Segmentation....7 VPNs for Cloud Data Centers....7 Part 4: SDN Gateway....8 Deployment of SDN in the Data Center....8 Connecting Virtualized Applications to Other Resources....8 APIs in Software-Defined Networks....8 Accelerating SDN Adoption....9 Conclusion Open, Simple, and Smart....9 About Ziff Davis B2B Ziff Davis B2B is a leading provider of research to technology buyers and high-quality leads to IT vendors. As part of the Ziff Davis family, Ziff Davis B2B has access to over 50 million in-market technology buyers every month and supports the company s core mission of enabling technology buyers to make more informed business decisions. Copyright 2014 Ziff Davis B2B. All rights reserved. Contact Ziff Davis B2B 100 California Street, Suite 650 San Francisco, CA Tel: Fax:

2 Executive Summary Our concept of the corporate data center is changing rapidly. On-premise data centers are often supplemented with public cloud capacity. Flexibly delivering applications internally, to partners, and to customers, across the world is becoming more critical to the organization. Modern data centers are application centers, with distributed facilities to ensure rock-solid reliability and availability. Rapidly deploying and easily managing applications has administrators moving to DevOps models where developers and operators work in concert to deliver software via the Web faster and more cost-effectively than ever before. The term agility is no longer just a developer buzzword. It is very much a characteristic of the modern data center as operators are looking to build out network infrastructure that can accommodate new ways of doing business. At the same time, operators are struggling to meet current enterprise needs for exceptional performance and reliability while making strategic investments that will support future innovation. This paper will explore ways that carrier-class routers, previously the domain of telecommunications service providers, can help future-proof data center infrastructure while dramatically improving application delivery, availability, and manageability right now. Introduction: Understanding the Need for Carrier-Class Routers Routers have been a mainstay of business networking for decades. They have evolved in many ways from their relatively simple beginnings, connecting one network to another, with the other often being the biggest network of all: the Internet. Some have added functionality with firewalls, content filters, and bandwidth shaping, creating all-in-one solutions appealing to small businesses while others have focused on achieving the highest performance or the greatest customizability, leaving additional features to dedicated appliances. At the highest end, Service Providers that deliver bandwidth and communications services employ carrier-class routers to enable high-volume, high-bandwidth forwarding and control of both internal and customer traffic. Recently, these routers have been seeing greater adoption in the enterprise, for connections across the WAN, for branch office aggregation, and for Internet connectivity as well as in the data center where the cloud and the applications it supports are demanding the same performance required of Service Providers. ziffdavis.com 2 of 9

3 Next-Generation Cloud Data Centers The next-generation data center is often not just a single building. Instead, cloud technologies are used to leverage multiple distributed facilities and even public cloud infrastructures to achieve extraordinary scale and agility. As Gartner points out in a recent study, To optimally serve the business, network architects must shift their thinking from technology to users and business processes. This shift in networking implementations includes building robust platforms for deploying applications and ensuring that these applications are always available to users. To that end, data centers built around the cloud, capable of hosting distributed applications and workloads across virtualized environments and geographic locations, require routing hardware that is powerful enough to enable them to act as if they are merely combinations of multiple co-located servers. Typical business routers can t achieve this but carrier-class routers with their advanced designs can. Business continuity and disaster avoidance Only a few years ago, users were accustomed to frequent server downtime and maintenance cycles. Today, businesses can t afford downtime, and applications need to be available 24/7. A natural disaster on one coast can t affect operations on the other coast, much less operations in a global enterprise. Offsite backup is no What makes a router carrier-class? The term carrier-class conjures images of Service Providers and the sorts of Internet backbone connections afforded to telecommunications giants. More recently they are bringing their intelligent, high-performance routing to a much broader range of data center operators and enterprise networks. Carrier-class routers have sufficient performance and programmability to handle everything from connecting branch offices to the interconnection of multiple datacenters. They separate control, management, services, and forwarding planes to provide higher availability and performance than standard routers. Standard routers are designed to connect networks to each other. Carrier-class routers are now bringing Service Provider-level performance to data center operators who need to bring every aspect of their facilities under their control. longer enough to ensure business continuity. Private clouds encompassing distributed data centers and real-time replication of data and state information are key to mitigating or avoiding disasters that can have significant financial and operational impacts across an organization. Intelligent routers with data processing horsepower to spare and the ability to create the many connections between data centers deliver on the original promise of the Internet itself: redundant, high-availability, disaster-resistant networks. ziffdavis.com 3 of 9

4 Data Center Interconnect Business continuity and disaster recovery rely on the interconnectedness of distributed data centers. On an every-day level, though, data center operators need to be able to simply manage multiple data centers as if they were not spread across countries or continents. Connections need to be instantaneous and secure, and the physical location of virtual machines needs to be transparent to users, developers, and the applications they use and manage. Part 1: WAN Connectivity How do operators ensure that the buildings within a campus can share multiple, high-bandwidth connections to the data center? How do they make branch offices behave as if they are not remote but close to the applications and data that run the business? How can users, no matter where they are or what device they are using, access critical data and applications? The capabilities of carrier-class routers are evolving fast to meet these needs. Connecting Branch Offices to Data Centers and the Internet Branch offices are no longer the second-class citizens of the corporate enterprise. Mid-sized and large companies frequently locate additional offices near major partners, customers, suppliers, or industry hubs to facilitate collaboration, remote workers, and a variety of business dealings. These branch offices require the same level of connectivity to the data center and to data and applications in private clouds as their main campus counterparts. Carrier-class routers such at the MX Series from Juniper Networks provide the level of performance and scalability that make this possible. They also provide important disaster preparedness and failover capabilities in the event that components or connections fail. Routers at the branch office and the data center must support more than just fast connections they need to facilitate the many connections required to ensure that branch offices connect to other branches, to data centers, and to the Internet as if they were on different floors of the same building. VPN Functions and Capabilities Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) serve two primary functions in the enterprise: 1. Provide secure connections between sites (branch offices, main campuses, and data centers) and 2. Give remote employees secure access to network resources regardless of their physical locations. Since the information security needs facing organizations allow little room for error and because remote workers are demanding better, faster connectivity to corporate resources and applications, a rich set of VPN capabilities need to be baked into edge routers in the data center. In fact, basic connectivity is only half the story. Full support for Layer 2 and Layer 3 ziffdavis.com 4 of 9

5 VPN protocols ensures that administrators have the tools they need to ensure security and performance while utilizing the standards that best suit their environments. High Availability The right WAN infrastructure is a key aspect of high availability for data and applications. As noted previously, redundant connections between remote sites and distributed data centers provide a high degree of fault tolerance to ensure uptime. From an operational perspective, giving administrators the ability to intelligently fail-over, scale-up, and migrate traffic at the router means that application rollouts, system maintenance, and other management tasks never result in downtime. Part 2: Data Center Interconnect The ability to not just connect to remote data but to truly interconnect distributed data centers is a requirement for the modern enterprise. This capability, known as Data Center Interconnect, is critical to the next generation of applications and services that employees and customers expect and require to operate the business. Pervasive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Disaster recovery is a multibillion-dollar concern with far-reaching implications for the countless organizations that rely on their information systems to conduct business. For instance how long can a business live without an application or service when goes down? And how long does it take to restore an application that accepts customer orders or delivers converged communications to every employee? The answers are probably not very long and usually too long, respectively. The appropriate hardware, however, can shift an organization s focus from disaster recovery to pervasive, system-wide measures that support business continuity. Business continuity begins with distributed, redundant, virtualized data centers, but also requires network hardware that can rapidly adjust to changing conditions (including site-destroying events). Juniper Networks offers their MX Series of carrier-class routers that can not only aggregate redundant connections but simplify the task of managing the connections between distributed data centers. Virtual Machine and Workload Portability Virtualization is commonly used to achieve maximum hardware utilization, flexibility, and scalability in a data center. By consolidating all data center resources into a single cloud, operators can shift compute power and storage on-demand. Much of this can even be automated to respond to developer, user, and business needs on the fly. ziffdavis.com 5 of 9

6 The real power of virtualization, however, can be unlocked with routers that improve performance and provide the necessary connectivity so that private clouds and virtual infrastructures can be deployed across multiple physical locations. Virtualization abstracts operating systems and software from the underlying hardware. Carrier-class routers deliver the flexibility and performance such that the underlying hardware can reside in multiple locations. Moreover, cloud architectures that span multiple interconnected data centers make virtual machines and the workloads they support truly portable, whether for failover, to scale beyond a particular facility, or to shift workloads to physical locations with excess capacity. Accessing Cloud Services Private clouds, especially those that can be built across multiple data centers, will play increasingly critical roles in delivering applications and services to customers. Cloud service providers will build out private cloud services for clients, even if those clouds aren t specifically on-premises. At the same time, though, public cloud services have evolved to such a point that they can meet a variety of needs very cost-effectively, augmenting, supplementing, or replacing on-premises data center capacity. Thus, many enterprises are adopting hybrid models, offloading services to public clouds where necessary or appropriate. Routers need to be equipped to handle routing traffic to both public and private clouds, providing resiliency, and seamlessly integrating services running in public clouds with those running in corporate data centers. Carrier-class routers deliver degrees of flexibility to interconnect not just on-premise data centers but extend those data centers into the public cloud. Routing Within and Between Data Centers The total economic impact of cloud technology could be $1.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually in Of this total, $1.2 trillion to $5.5 trillion could be in the form of surplus from use of cloud-enabled Internet services, while $500 billion to $700 billion could come through productivity improvements for enterprise IT. McKinsey and Company, 2013 Applications are designed to be distributed across clusters of servers in the data center, and they are virtualized and workloads are mobile. Hosting providers are using routers for this level of interconnection since modern applications are designed to benefit from the resiliency and dynamic connectivity implemented in routers. This model has several important ramifications. The ability of advanced routers to respond to changing traffic demands and to handle outages in the network is essential to application performance and availability. Carrier-class routers do a great job of interconnecting data centers for seamless workload, application, and virtual machine portability. A solution like Juniper s MX Series routers eliminates the complications of connecting physical networks and data centers to virtual to ziffdavis.com 6 of 9

7 counterparts. This new architecture dramatically simplifies management of distributed data centers, whether they operate virtually in the same facility or are physically spread around the globe. Part 3: Application Access Applications are at the heart of the modern data center. No matter how many physical locations or public cloud services may be connected by hybrid and/or distributed architectures, it s all about connecting applications to users. Virtualized and SaaS Applications The majority of applications being written today are designed for the Web, often intended for delivery as a service and run in virtual machines in the cloud. According to Informatica, fully 84% of new software is being deployed as a service. While this approach makes application deployment far easier, for the Enterprise, it also requires more robust management of bandwidth as workloads vary. In the data center, distributed applications frequently run across multiple virtual machines. These may run on any number of physical servers that may themselves exist across racks in more than one physical data center location. Clearly, ensuring reliable access and sufficient bandwidth for any application with many variables requires considerable processing power in a router and high-level insight from management software to ensure that data is flowing as required. Multi-tenancy Traffic Segmentation Cloud data centers rely on the concept of multi-tenancy to achieve economies of scale and maximize utilization. Whether clouds are private and tenants are different lines of business within an organization or they are public with multiple organizations sharing resources, traffic from each tenant must be carefully segmented. Such segmentation is computationally intensive and can be implemented in a variety of ways; regardless of the exact implementation, though, edge routers in a data center need to have segmentation capabilities built in. The MX Series from Juniper networks has long supported VPLS for this purpose and recently have implemented Ethernet VPNs or E-VPN. VPNs for Cloud Data Centers Dedicated VPN hardware can add expense and management complexity to cloud data centers. While VPN appliances are necessary in some contexts, Juniper MX Series routers natively support a rich mix of VPNs that secure and maximize performance across WAN connections. VPNs are an essential component of secure end-user connections to data center resources as well as connection of branch offices and data center interconnect. More importantly, combining security with optimized performance ensures that applications are accessible anytime, anywhere, with the least impact on the overall bandwidth available to the data center. ziffdavis.com 7 of 9

8 Part 4: SDN Gateway Software-defined networking (SDN) is eliminating the boundaries of traditional approaches to network design and the connection of nodes in a data center. Although SDN is more common among large, multi-tenant cloud providers than in smaller enterprises, new standards and capabilities are emerging quickly that will make SDN a clear choice for mid-sized and large enterprises very soon. The SDN market is expected to grow to $2.45 billion by 2018, according to Gigaom, and for good reason. According to a recent survey, 42% of respondents identified increased productivity as an expected benefit of SDN initiatives, while 30% looked to increased speeds for service delivery. Deployment of SDN in the Data Center In the data center, SDN has the potential to facilitate new levels of automation, driven by applications rather than manual interventions. Instructions can be written in modern programming languages to customize the way traffic is handled in the data center to optimize communications to suit specific applications and business needs. Data center operators will typically employ specific SDN controller hardware or so-called virtual overlay networks like Juniper s Contrail or VMware s NSX to bring the agility of SDN to their networks. In terms of future-proofing a data center, choosing hardware that supports existing and emerging standards, and open models, and a variety of virtual overlays will give operators maximum flexibility in the months and years to come. Because SDN provides substantial flexibility and is increasingly on the radar of both mid-sized and large enterprises, bringing SDN capable routers into the data center now ensures that virtually any SDN implementation will be supported when organizations are ready to move to software-defined environments. APIs in Software-Defined Networks Many SDN solutions include APIs that applications (virtual and otherwise) can call to create a dynamic, application-driven data center. If you need to allocate more bandwidth to an application at certain times of the day or when particular conditions are met, this capability can be built directly into the application. If you want to implement specific network security measures around an application, SDN can handle that, too. Choosing hardware now with full support for both northbound and southbound APIs (programming interfaces that provide hooks for both applications on a network and for control of specific networking functions, respectively) is fundamental to preparing for future SDN implementations. Even if an organization isn t ready for SDN now, developers will be looking to leverage SDN functions soon to improve the efficiency and security of their applications as SDN becomes more ubiquitous. ziffdavis.com 8 of 9

9 Accelerating SDN Adoption The need for new SDN-enabled routing hardware is a major requirement to the adoption of this powerful new technology. The benefits in terms of overall network simplification and the potential for automation in the data center are quite clear. Administrators, operators, and developers who understand these advantages are clamoring to accelerate adoption new technologies but legacy hardware, and architectures, can hold them back. It is little surprise, then, that routers capable of supporting existing data center architectures and can also support SDN are the best way to future-proof data center hardware investments. The MX Series of edge routers from Juniper Networks provide the capability to interconnect SDN types with advanced data plane information sharing and tunnel stitching. They are ready for full-blown SDN implementations as businesses find that their needs are better met with SDN enabled applications and more agile networks to support them. Conclusion Open, Simple, and Smart Adding powerful new capabilities to enterprise networks in general and data centers in particular needn t be an exercise in repeated rip and replace of core infrastructure like routers. Instead, choosing the right routers with hardware, capabilities, and software features proven in telecommunications networks can ensure both performance and a sound investment. Hardware on the market right now, like Juniper s MX Series of routers, allows network engineers to assemble intelligent new architectures that meet current demands for data center and user connectivity while preparing for increasingly application- and user-driven cloud environments. Investing in carrier-class routers now enables future rollouts of softwaredefined networking solutions, support for distributed applications, and high-availability interconnected data centers that act as one resource pool. More importantly, they allow innovation at the network level that ensures networks and data centers won t be a barrier to business growth or operational efficiency in the years to come. To learn more about MetaFabric Routing Architectures, visit: ziffdavis.com 9 of 9

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