I’m pleased to report that BTI has become the latest company to publicly endorse the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN) approach to designing data center networks. As regular readers of my blog know, IBM has released a set of technical briefs describing ODIN, which provides an approach to using open industry standards to create next generation data center networks. I’ve written, podcasted, and been interviewed many times about ODIN, all of which is linked from my blog. This approach to using industry standards as the preferred means to designing data center networks has been endorsed in this post from Chandra Pandey, Vice-President of Platform Solutions at BTI. Many thanks for this support of open networking standards; I’m sure we’ll have more to say about how to create these solutions with IBM and BTI technology in the near future.
Data Center Networking
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Top Ten Must-Reads on IBM Networking Strategy
There’s been so much going on in the world of data networking lately that I hardly know where to begin. It feels like I’ve been living on Internet Time this year (maybe you have, too); it’s hard to believe it’s already most of the way through first quarter. So, while I usually don’t take this approach, I thought that the fastest way to get everyone up to date on all the latest networking news would be to let you pick your favorites from the list of my recent presentations, podcasts, and webinars.
For starters, I recently got back from the Open Network Exchange meeting in New York City, sponsored by Network World magazine in mid-February. I gave a talk on how software-defined networking is being used as part of the ODIN network architecture, including some thoughts on finding a standard definition for SDN (something even Bob Metcalf hasn’t been able to do). I also spoke about how SDN disrupts existing markets, reviewed IBM’s early client adopters & the benefits they have realized, and offered a few thoughts on what the future holds. You can see my presentation, plus others from the conference, at this site:
Of course, there’s still a lot of debate among different parts of the industry regarding what SDN really means. In particular, the datacom and telecom worlds have surprisingly different perspectives on this issue. I recently participated in a roundtable discussion on this topic, along with representatives from Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, MRV, AT&T, Verizon, Orange, Ericsson, Rad Data Communications, and the ONF; you can listen to the discussion here In the future we plan more of these round table discussions, leading up to the 2013 MPLS/Ethernet World Congress, so keep watching as the debate continues.
I still feel that network virtualization is the next big thing in our industry, and software-defined networking has become one of the hottest topics since the creation of Ethernet 25 years ago (if your memory doesn’t go back that far, read the first chapter in your CCNA qualification guidebook to see how the world used to be made up of private networks from IBM, DEC, Xerox, and others). While SDN is almost certainly over-hyped right now, I believe it’s nearing the peak of the Gartner Group hype cycle, as evidenced by some early adopters who have found high value use cases for this technology. To hear more, listen to my podcast with Lippis Group on SDN enablement of next generation data centers, recorded December 2012
While you’re on the Lippis Group website, if you still haven’t read my blog or the IBM System Networking website articles about the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN), download my podcast on this topic to get up to date on how ODIN is being applied at large data centers worldwide, and how it will continue to reflect changes in the networking community throughout this coming year.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog and Twitter feed, then you know that I’m passionate about open standards. In fact, if somebody tries to tell you they have SDN working in their data center today, but it only runs on their equipment, don’t believe them…SDN only works when it’s part of a larger, standards-based data center strategy. If you’d like to read about that larger strategy, and how it relates to big data, analytics, and other workloads, there’s a nice, short introduction in the new IBM RedPaper Point of View (PoV) article series. Sponsored in part by the IBM Academy of Technology, these new Redpapers bring you all the key facts for a quick tutorial on a subject, and refer you to the much longer Redbooks for a step-by-step cookbook on how to make them work for you. Redpapers are available on a wide range of topics; for data networking, start with my PoV on data networking IBM Redbooks PoV publication, #redp-4933-00 ,
Or, if you’d like a slightly longer discussion on this topic, look no further than the Winter 2012 issue of Enterprise Tech Journal for my article “Getting the most from your data center network”.
Interested in storage area networking, or wondering how the SAN is going to change in the future? I've been working on that question with some of our industry partners, including ODIN-endorser and leading SAN authority Brocade, who have also recently been qualified by IBM for extended distance backup solutions using SAN Volume Controller (SVC). To see how SVC handles long distance Fibre Channel applications and integrates with VMWare management solutions, check out our recent presentation from IBM SHARE (session 12735) on avoiding the fog and smog that can come with cloud networks.
Late last year, the governor of New York State announced the creation of a new, $3M Center for Cloud Computing and Analytics, based at Marist College. IBM has funded an SDN research lab which is affiliated with this group, and which will also be taking advantage of Marist’s membership in the Internet 2 consortium (regular blog readers will also recall that Marist is the first academic institution to endorse ODIN). While this program is still in its early days, Marist has successfully built an SDN testbed using the Floodlight controller, made contributions to the Floodlight distro, released an open source SDN dashboard tool called Avior, and begun to prototype SDN in a mainframe enterprise environment. The college recently presented a 90 minute, sold-out presentation on their SDN work at the TIP 2013 conference in Hawaii; if you didn’t get a trip to this tropical paradise to hear them, you can still find their presentation and summaries of their recent work.
Did I hear someone ask how Google is using optical
technologies to add value in their data center networks? (yes, I have the technology to hear you
through my blog page, but if I told you how it works I’d have to kill
you). Anyway, some of my colleagues at
Google recently weighed in on this topic for Laser Focus World, and I was
subsequently invited to present a
webinar based on their work (with a few of my own recent accomplishments thrown
in). You might not agree with everything
they have to say (after all, very few of us are running a data center with
Google’s requirements), but it’s always interesting to hear one of the biggest
network operators on the planet talking about optical technology. You can listen to an on-demand playback of my webinar, which cites the original Google article.
You can find out more about speakers on these and other related topics by visiting the OFC cloud/datacom landing page
Also, I’ll be doing a live daily blog from OFC starting March 17, so be sure to check this site for regular updates during the conference. Or you can stop by & visit me in person, either during my presentation for the OIDA workshop on metrics for aggregated networks or my tutorial on optical interconnects for datacom on Tuesday, March 19. I’ll also be stopping by the Elsevier booth on the trade show floor to check on plans for the fourth edition of my book, the Handbook of Fiber Optic Data Communication, coming out later this year (but that’s another blog….)
As I’ve said before, this is a very interesting time to be an optical network engineer. I hope that some of these recent articles appeal to you, and if there’s another topic you’d like to see me cover, drop me a line or send me a tweet (@Dr_Casimer). And if anybody would like to get together at OFC/NFOEC in Anaheim, be sure to let me know!