Towards an Open Data Center with an Interoperable Network
Part III – What have we done so far?
In support of networking solutions for open, interoperable data center networks, IBM has taken the lead in creating a series of technical briefs known as ODIN (from my last blog post) which describe the issues facing these networks, and the standards which can be applied to address these issues (for the complete list of materials, see the IBM System Networking website). So what is ODIN, and why does it matter ?
First, we should clearly state that ODIN is NOT a new industry standard, and does not compete with existing standards. Rather, the ODIN documents explain and interpret existing standards and describes best practices for incorporating standards into a multi-vendor network. It can be used to guide strategic planning discussions, help prepare a vendor-agnostic request for proposal (RFP), and clarify preferred technologies to optimize each aspect of the network design. Taking advantage of this material can promote buying confidence by letting administrators choose among multiple networking vendors and avoid incompatible offerings that lock them into a nonstandard architecture
ODIN addresses best practices and interpretations of networking standards that are vital to efficient data center operations. These methods and standards facilitate the transition from discrete, special-purpose networks, each with its own management tool, to a converged, flattened network with a common set of management tools. They represent a proven approach that has been implemented by IBM and others within their own data centers using existing products, as well as through engagements with industry-leading clients worldwide. The first release of this material includes features such as:
Industry standards supporting VM migration and flat Layer 2 networks, including features to enable VM migration and support alternative Layer 2 and 3 designs
Lossless, converged enhanced Ethernet (including IEEE specifications for data center bridging)
Extended distance connectivity between multiple data centers leveraging MPLS/VPLS and protocol-agnostic optical wavelength division multiplexing, including special consideration for ultra-low latency network requirements
Emerging standards for overlay networks featuring software-defined networking and OpenFlow, as well as emerging network overlays such as distributed overlay virtual Ethernet (DOVE)
Additional features and standards will be added in the future. For now ODIN has been endorsed by many leading industry companies and universities, and more are expected to participate in the future. Drop me a line if you’d like to know how your company or university can participate.
What do you think about an industry standard approach to networking? Give me your feedback below, or send a quick response to my Twitter feed.