What (Still) Keeps CIOs Awake At Night?
Last year, I wrote about the Information Technology (IT) related issues that keep the many CIOs I have met around the world awake at night. With 2010 behind us now, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on how IBM System Networking addressed for the issues/ pain points our customers spoke about.
1. An increasing reliance in IT to support the growing needs of the business has made scalability a major concern for CIOs. How do you scale the IT infrastructure in a cost effective manner to keep pace with the growing demands of the business? In 2010, CIOs saw dramatic increases in I/O driven by virtualization, high performance computing, video and other bandwidth-intensive uses and frequently chose IBM System Networking’s 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches to keep pace with this growth. IBM System Networking also delivered a single-chip 40 Gigabit Ethernet switch to bring terabit scale to the data center network.
2. More physical IT infrastructure is impacting data center space, power and cooling. This raises concerns about density – being able to pack more compute and storage capacity per square foot of raised floor so as to get the maximum return on data center building infrastructure. IBM System Networking introduced top-of-rack switches such as our IBM BNT RackSwitch G8052 and IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 to enable the enterprises to build very high-density data center networks with four main characteristics – low latency, lossless, low cost, and low power.
3. With so much capital being invested in IT infrastructure, the question of maximizing utilization of this infrastructure is also top-of-mind. In the airline business they call this “yield management.” In the hospitality business, they call it “occupancy rates.” Innovations such as IBM System Networking’s VMready with Virtual Vision ensure that customers can virtualize their server infrastructure while maximizing virtual machine security, high availability, and mobility.
5. An increasing amount of sensitive information about businesses (customer and supplier information, costs and prices, contracts, sensitive intellectual property information, etc.), is going online. Protecting such information from getting in the wrong hands is of paramount importance and so security is very high on the CIO’s agenda. Security is increasingly required as an “embedded” characteristic of data center networks. IBM System Networking iFlow Director software enables the creation of wire-speed network security infrastructure and is rapidly gaining momentum in the market place.
6. And finally, more now than ever before, customers are very sensitive to total cost of ownership (TCO) of their IT infrastructure. IBM System Networking delivers a better end-to-end TCO to its customers that encompasses the compute, storage, and network elements of the IT infrastructure. Do a quick calculation on your cost & power savings with our TCO calculator.
I believe our industry indeed made significant progress in 2010 in helping CIOs address the issues that keep them awake at night. And, I am proud that IBM System Networking continues to play a key role in addressing these critical pain points.
System Networking and Data Center Efficiency Redefined
The value proposition for IBM System Networking is to provide the essential network connectivity solutions under the IBM brand to connect servers to servers, servers to storage and storage to storage. IBM System Networking offers a compelling alternative for customers seeking more efficient data centers with the greatest business value and lowest total cost of ownership for their data center networks.
System networking plays a critical role in customers’ server and storage buying decisions. Today, many customers are deploying IT infrastructure on an unprecedented scale – data centers are expanding from 5,000 to 50,000 and 100,000 servers. For such scale-out architectures, the system network plays a critical role. Consider density; if it requires three data centers to house 5,000 servers, how many data centers will it take to house 50,000 servers? The answer better not be 30! So, the system network must deliver the high-density networking required to support highly consolidated and massively virtualized data center infrastructures.
If you are a CIO undertaking an order of magnitude increase in infrastructure, you want to increase utilization through virtualization, which requires the system network to be virtualization aware. And of course, the system network is vital to the security of this infrastructure.
If you have an order of magnitude increase in infrastructure, much of the functionality required to solve deployment and management issues can reside on data center switches implemented within the system network.
As companies take their businesses online, rapid and accurate business intelligence becomes ever more critical, which requires the system network for fast transport of information to and from analytic engines.
If you are employing an order of magnitude more infrastructure, total cost of ownership is important, and companies spend 15 to 20% of their investment in infrastructure on the network.
To address CIO’s key strategic issues of scaling, density, utilization/virtualization, security, data management and cost ownership, system networking is the common thread. IBM is an incredibly reputable server and storage vendor, and you can see the critical role the network plays.
IBM Celebrates 100 Years
IBM is celebrating 100 years - a century of achievements that have changed the world. Across the decades, IBM has had a greater impact on business than any other company. IBM’s tradition of innovation is reflected by its leadership patent portfolio. For the past 18 years, IBM has received more U.S. patents than any other company, holding more than 40,000 patents worldwide. And IBM’s history of outstanding business performance and its strong balance sheet virtually define “blue chip company.”
A wonderful video explores how computers came to “Think” and ultimately change the world. Another fascinating video takes you through IBM’s 100 years of achievements. In 1913, IBM applies the Hollerith tabulating machine to industry for the first time. In 1930, IBM receives its first patent for a traffic signal timing system. In 1939, IBM demonstrates an early form of email at the New York World’s Fair. In 1951, the IBM 701 becomes the world’s first mass-produced electronic computer. IBM’s Deep Blue defeats the world chess champion in 1997. On and on . . .
A host of innovations such as the SABRE airline reservation system, the IBM PC, the invention of DRAM and RISC and IBM’s embrace of Linux helped shape the second half of the 20th century. In 1974, IBM created networking with System Networking Architecture (SNA), the first complete protocol stack for interconnecting computers.
Fast forward to 2011, and TCP/IP and Ethernet have become the de facto means for global business networking. And, IBM's acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies now signals IBM’s reentry into networking as a system networking innovator just as it turns 100 years young!
What will the next 100 years bring? It’s easy to predict computers that that use 10x less power and run 1,000 times faster. Systems are on the horizon that can sequence the human genome and systems that can think like you. Networks can be expected to become ever more virtual. Innovations like the IEEE’s 802.1Qbg Ethernet Virtual Bridging (EVB) standard are being championed by great minds such as IBM’s Renato Recio and Vijoy Pandey to equip system networks with the intelligence to anticipate the movement of Virtual Machines anywhere and everywhere in the enterprise.
The employees of IBM System Networking have gotten off to a great start.
What a momentous time for the accomplished employees coming into IBM through the BLADE Network Technologies acquisition along with networking stars within the IBM company who together formed the System Networking business to become part of IBM’s second century of innovation!
You can learn more by visiting IBM100.
IT in 2011: My Predictions
As we enter 2011, businesses are busily refining strategies for harnessing and leveraging IT in the year ahead and beyond. It’s crystal ball time once again, so based on countless interactions with CIOs, industry analysts, vendor executives and other thought leaders over the course of the past year, here are my predictions for the top trends that will impact IT in 2011.
The Need for Speed is Relentless: For IT departments, the need for speed comes in two flavors: How fast can we provision IT infrastructure to process a given workload? And, how fast can we process the workload itself and turn data into actionable information? Cloud computing affects speed of provisioning by enabling rapid deployment of certain application services via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Speed does not kill, slow kills. Here is what I mean by that - businesses are going to survive and thrive because their IT infrastructure is fast and agile.
Fabric-based Infrastructure Gains Traction: Converged data and storage network fabrics will move from prototype to deployment as the Data Center Bridging (DCB) standards become well understood and iSCSI and FCoE networks move into the mainstream. Fabric-based infrastructure that abstracts processors, network bandwidth and storage into federated pools of easily deployable IT infrastructure will move from lab trials to mainstream deployment.
Virtualization Deployed for Production Workloads: A recent IDC survey found that customers are looking to not only increase the use of virtual servers, but also to increase the number of virtual machines per physical server. IDC forecasts that virtualized server shipments will grow at twice the rate of the entire server market through 2014. I predict that a significant part of this growth is going to come from virtual servers becoming a popular platform for mainstream applications. And, with solutions like IBM System Networking’s VMready, data center networks that tie together servers running these mainstream applications can now be made Virtual Machine-aware, thus removing a critical barrier that prevented enterprises from not being able to virtualize their mainstream applications.
Time Sharing at a Bureau is Back in Fashion: The tremendous interest in cloud computing is warranted because of the cloud’s promise of greater ROI and improved efficiency. SaaS-based application delivery will continue to gain in popularity in 2011 as a ready means of cost reduction, and simplicity. It’s a proven model, people….remember the 80s when enterprises shared CPU cycles on a large mainframe in a data processing bureau? Driven by privacy and regulatory concerns surrounding mission-critical data and customer information, enterprises will turn to the hybrid cloud model, deploying private clouds for essential information and using hosted and/or public clouds for less-critical data and applications, where the cloud can provide cost reduction and capacity on demand.
The Data Center Becomes Ever More Strategic: With less-essential workloads offloaded to the cloud, the in-house data center will become a highly leveraged business asset. The data center will operate a mix of dedicated processing, virtual servers and private cloud computing, with each considered a strategic IT asset. The in-house data center will be looked to for the advantages of what I have termed “rackonomics” for the greater ROI and improved efficiencies that come from deploying standardized racks of compute, storage and networking infrastructure, and will also be valued for what others have termed “cloudonomics” and “convergonomics.” Regardless of the economic model, for many industries and IT tasks, the in-house data center will remain a strategic business asset.
Security and Mobility will Redefine the Data Center Edge: Enterprises and their customers are using smart devices, such as iPads and smart phones to access corporate applications, in record numbers. This ubiquitous use of mobile computing will require ever greater amounts of bandwidth and place greater demands on the network, both in terms of security and mobility.
2011 is the Year of Smarter Systems: A smarter system is one that is optimized for a given workload and one where all the essential elements – compute, storage, software, and the network that connects all these pieces together is pre-packaged in a rack or multiple racks ready-to-use. All the customer needs to do is plug this system into an electrical outlet and start using it….just like we use our laptops today.
Real-Time Analytics Drive Business Decision Making: More powerful computers and faster networks will enable businesses to make more-informed decisions. It will become increasingly possible to run predictive simulations and real-time business analytics that forecast futures, rather than to simply provide after-the-fact analysis, which promises significant breakthroughs in business results. For example, GM is using high-powered IBM computers to simulate crashes and find ways to both prevent crashes and improve passenger safety when collisions/accidents occur.
Data Centers Will Become the Most Expensive Piece of Real Estate Anywhere in the World: With so much capital being invested in IT infrastructure, the “occupancy rate” of the data center will remain a key concern. Blade servers will increasingly give IT departments the flexibility they need to add incremental compute power and enable higher utilization in the data center. Blade server architectures will continue to gain in acceptance and market share in 2011. I also expect a new wave of blade center technology innovations to take hold in the latter part of 2011.
All-in-all, 2011 is most certainly going to be the year of Information Technology and a very promising one at that.
Achieving More with Systems and Networks Tuned to the Task
IBM is the leader in workload-optimized systems that are tuned to the task. Analyst James Clabby of Clabby Analytics defines the workload-optimized system “as one that matches architecture to the needs it is purchased for. Systems performance is no longer defined by the fastest processor or other leading benchmarks, but rather by the ability to deploy new services faster, with higher quality and within financial objectives.”
IBM's leadership in workload-optimized systems spans more than four decades, leveraging significant investments in microelectronics R&D, software integration, and system networking and harnesses IBM’s vast experience of deploying systems to solve industry problems. For example, IBM is working with partners to deliver a comprehensive system to bring the power of analytics and get clients up and running quickly and affordably without risk. IBM provides the industry insight through services to test and tune the system to the client's exact specifications, works with partners to ensure their applications are optimized and offers financing to ensure the systems match clients' budgets.
Workload-optimized systems address many diverse workloads, such as industry-specific applications like Wall Street’s High Frequency Trading, cross-industry applications like business analytics, and configuration-specific IT environments like cloud computing and virtualization. For example, the IBM Smart Analytics System
is a fine-tuned hardware and software platform specifically designed for customized analytics applications in industries such as healthcare, financial markets, energy and retail. The widespread use of virtualization has led to the development of virtualization-optimized systems such as IBM BladeCenter HX5
with MAX5. The BladeCenter HX5 is a scalable blade server designed to provide new levels of utilization, performance, and reliability for virtualized workloads such as database, business intelligence, modeling and simulation, and other enterprise applications.
Workload-optimized systems extend into the networking arena, which is no longer solely defined by general-purpose infrastructures. IBM’s VMready
switch-resident, virtualization-aware networking software is a prime example of IBM System Networking technology developed specifically for today’s highly virtualized workloads, and can be deployed to optimize virtualization-oriented systems such as BladeCenter even further. With VMready, as VMs migrate across physical hosts, so do their network attributes automatically. VMready allows you to manage virtual machines as they are added, moved and removed while retaining the same ACLs, QoS and VLAN attributes anywhere across the data center network. VMready allows for a "define once, use many" configuration that optimizes the data center network infrastructure for broad deployment of virtualization.
James Clabby encourages a look beyond systems specifications and characteristics when choosing where to deploy applications to consider what a particular system is actually intended to do for an enterprise. I couldn’t agree more. I encourage clients to evaluate network infrastructure in terms of its ability to deliver speed and intelligence tuned to the task.
CIOs Look to Big Data to Drive Innovation and Growth
In IBM’s Global Chief Information Officer Study– “The Essential CIO” – based on a poll of 3,000 global CIOs, 83 percent of CIOs surveyed identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from “Big Data,” as their top-priority investment area.
The IBM study looked at what constitutes the fundamental tasks of the CIO and what traits define the outperforming CIOs as they infuse technology into products, services and processes to transform their business, drive profitability and expand into new areas. CIOs are facing an increasingly complex business environment defined by sweeping changes and the need for gaining greater intelligence, insight and visibility. These CIOs increasingly view tackling “Big Data” as a key imperative to both gaining insight and to expanding relationships with customers and partners.
CIOs are looking to invest in technologies such as analytics and data mining that not only help them better utilize structured data, but also unstructured data in the form of videos, blogs and tweets that can be obtained through the social web.
Top trends from the CIO Study:
- CIOs are focused on gaining deeper insight and intelligence (77 percent), people skills (68 percent) and client intimacy (67 percent) over the next five years.
- 72 percent of CIOs are focused on integrating business and technology to drive innovation.
- CIOs are harnessing the following tools and methods to turn data into actionable information: data warehousing (64 percent), visual dashboards (64 percent), master data management (63 percent), client analytics (63 percent).
Big Data is often defined as multi-terabyte data sets, but also implies big complexity, many diverse data sources, types and indexing schemes, and big processing to achieve useful analytic results. Big Data can become cumbersome without specialized systems for capture, I/O and storage, search, sharing, analytics and visualizing. Companies often struggle with drawing intelligence from multiple sources of disparate information. Managers can spend the lion’s share of their time just gathering data and less time acting upon it. With an optimized approach to Big Data, managers can spend more of their time focusing on the data that can make a difference to the business, avoiding excessive costs and duplicating efficient practices throughout the business.
Each of us are affected by the explosion of Big Data – whether it’s through the massive amounts of information generated and aggregated through social networks, the personalization that businesses can achieve from in-depth knowledge of our preferences and buying behaviors or the impact that compelling visualizations can have on business decisions. And as Big Data technologies improve how data is structured, stored, organized and retrieved, and, how complex analytics can help discover entirely new things, Big Data will have a big impact on the way we live, work and progress.
To those of us at IBM System Networking
, amidst all the complexity associated with Big Data, one thing stands clear. The rise of Big Data drives faster and more efficient network connectivity. For example, IBM BNT RackSwitches are vital components of Netezza’s TwinFin Data Warehouse Appliance
. Spend enough time with Big Data, and you’ll need the fastest and most highly optimized networking possible. And you’ll want that speed and intelligence at the edge of the network, close to users, applications and innovation. At IBM System Networking, that’s what we’re all about.
IBM’s Global CIO Study: Cloud is Ready for Prime Time
IBM has conducted its most recent Global Chief Information Officer Study– “The Essential CIO” – based on a poll of 3,000 global CIOs. Published in IBM’s centennial year, it is a definitive study of trends among CIOs from organizations of all types and sizes in 71 countries across 18 industries.
According to the study, one of the more interesting results over IBM’s Global Chief Information Officer 2009 study is that cloud computing has come of age with interest in the cloud increasing more than any other CIO priority. This 2010 study shows that 60 percent of organizations are ready to embrace the cloud over the next five years, an increase that is nearly double that of the 2009 study.
One of the reasons for embracing the cloud is that CIOs reported that their companies are seeking simple, meaningful and direct access to their enterprises’ Big Data –terabytes and petabytes of information, and the applications that cloud computing can deliver in a cost-efficient manner. While early cloud deployments typically addressed inter-departmental requirements, cloud computing has now become more widely used to connect organizations and their partners and customers.
The study research suggests that CEOs and CIOs are increasingly on the same page as CEOs better understand the importance of technology. Thus, They CEOs are increasingly relying on CIOs to turn today’s complex and changeable Big Data into usable information, information into intelligence and intelligence into better decisions. This is bringing CEOs and CIOs increasingly on the same page, as CEOs better understand the critical importance of technology for business success and competitiveness.
As one respondent noted: “Importantly, the role of CIO is not being looked on as ‘Chief IT Mechanic.’ It is recognized as a means to extract value from technology and gain insight from complex systems,” said Mark Hale, Director of IS for Food Retail, The Co-operative Group.
At IBM System Networking, we are focused on optimized systems that remove the barriers to cloud computing so that CIOs can turn vast amounts of data into business insights and enhance services and innovation. By speeding the transfer of data to and from servers to servers, servers to storage, and analytic engines, such as Netezza’s TwinFin Data Warehouse Appliance, IBM’s high-performance, virtual, scalable, standards-based and easy-to-manage system networking solutions are already fueling this cloud revolution in the world’s largest public and private enterprises.
The IBM Global CIO Study makes it clear that we have indeed entered a new era of IT where enterprises are vitally interested in IT infrastructure that is designed for Big Data, tuned to the task, and managed in the cloud – we call this new era Smarter Computing. In upcoming blogs, I’ll take a deeper look at the role that cloud computing, optimized systems and Big Data play in enabling Smarter Computing. Continue the conversation with us at ibm.com/theessentialcio.
Harnessing the Full Potential of Virtualization
With VMworld 2011 taking place this week in Las Vegas (August 29 to September 1), the industry’s attention is riveted on virtualization. IBM provides deep virtualization expertise and an integrated portfolio of solutions to enable and support business and IT virtualization objectives. IBM approaches transformation from a holistic perspective with smarter systems, software, and services, enabling virtualization not only at the platform level, but also across operating systems and middleware.
Virtualization brings both benefits and drawbacks to the data center: it can maximize underutilized resources and minimize infrastructure spending—but add complexity and administrative overhead for the network administrator.
Today, among the biggest problems clients are facing with their virtual server and storage infrastructures is that when VMs move, the network that connects these server and storage devices is not VM aware, relying instead on conventional physical device awareness. Thus, with a network that is not VM-aware, when VMs move, network addresses, security policies and class of service policies need to be re-configured manually. Enabling the network with awareness of virtualization is what is needed.
This inability of conventional data center networks to understand the language of virtualization and see Virtual Machines (VMs) as they move from server to server and even from data center to data center poses a major impediment to the use of virtualization, particularly for production application workloads, where performance, availability, and security are bottom-line priorities. Those who manage physical and virtual infrastructures know that the network must keep pace with virtualization, and they are increasingly vocal about their desire for scalable, secure and open solutions for building a virtualization-aware network.
To fulfill the promise of smarter computing, Virtual Machines (VMs) need to be supported by an intelligent network. IBM System Networking’s switch-resident VMready® with Virtual Vision is a unique solution that enables the network to be Virtual Machine aware, so that the network can be configured, managed and secured for 1000s of virtual ports (v-ports).
With VMready, as VMs migrate across physical hosts, so do their network attributes automatically, retaining the same ACLs, QoS and VLAN attributes. VMready will support the emerging Edge Virtual Bridging (EVB) technologies now being defined by the IEEE 802.1Qbg working group to make it easier for businesses to achieve server-network virtualization in the data center.
Our clients have been crystal clear in expressing their desire for networks that can scale, secure and migrate VMs even across long distances between data centers. And, they want to achieve this automated network change management without locking into proprietary stacks or having to rip and replace their existing virtual infrastructures. With VMready and Virtual Vision, IBM is enabling data center operators to maximize their investment in server virtualization.
If you’re attending VMworld 2011, please make sure to learn more about VMready by visiting IBM in Booth #321.
IBM Introduces High-Performance Storage Area Networking for Cloud and Virtualized Data Centers
IBM System Networking offers a wide portfolio of smarter networking solutions for next-generation data center solutions, including Ethernet and Fibre Channel. Today, we’re pleased to announce the availability of new, high-performance 16Gbps Fibre Channel storage area networking (SAN) solutions for cloud and virtualized data centers.
This new high-performance Fibre Channel fabric platform implements smarter private cloud computing for today’s most popular virtualized storage environments. With these new 16 Gbps SAN solutions from IBM, clients can unleash the full potential of private cloud storage with improved scalability, performance and reliability, reduced network complexity and costs and centralized management.
Our next-generation IBM System Networking products are designed to help enterprise clients migrate smoothly to private cloud architectures through faster data transfers, fewer links needed to accomplish the same task and fewer devices managed overall, with energy consumption seven times more efficient than competitive solutions.
In addition to high performance and ease of management, IBM System Networking’s new smarter SAN networking solutions also address one of the biggest needs in today’s data centers – the push to provide standards-based solutions that are fast, truly interoperable and efficient. As demand for highly virtualized infrastructures increases, and public, private and hybrid clouds become increasingly popular, the new IBM solutions will consolidate and lower expenses around servers and storage deployments while accelerating and streamlining SAN backbones and switching platforms to accelerate access to the cloud.
IBM’s new 16 Gbps Fibre Channel SAN solutions are orchestrated with leading IBM products, including IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and IBM Systems Director. The portfolio includes:
- Our new IBM® System Storage® SAN768B-2 and SAN384B-2 fabric backbones are among the industry's newest Fibre Channel switching infrastructure, providing reliable, scalable, high-performance foundations for private cloud storage and highly virtualized environments. These new backbones enable simpler, flatter, low-latency chassis connectivity to reduce network complexity, management and costs.
- The IBM® System Storage® SAN48B-5 SAN switch is designed to meet the demands of hyper-scale, private cloud storage environments by delivering 16 Gbps Fibre Channel technology and capabilities that support highly virtualized environments. Our new switch delivers 16 Gbps performance with up to 48 ports in an energy-efficient, 1U form factor, providing great flexibility for diverse deployment and cooling strategies.
- IBM® Network Advisor V11 is a software management platform that unifies network management for storage area networks (SAN) and converged networks. It is designed to provide a consistent user interface across Fibre Channel and FCoE over Data Center Bridging (DCB), along with custom views and controls based on the users' areas of specialization.
Our clients continue to have significant needs for Fibre Channel SANs, and according to Dell'Oro Group, SAN switch market revenues are expected to reach $2.5B in 2011, increasing to $4.7B by 2015.
These new products will be available in August, 2011. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/networking
IBM System Networking Wins Golden Bridge Award for Business Innovation
I am delighted to report that IBM received the 4th Annual Golden Bridge Award for Business Innovation. The award was given for System Networking’s IBM RackSwitch G8264 with OpenFlow. IBM is leading the way in driving one of the foremost innovations in business technology -- Software Defined Networking (SDN). IBM is one of the first vendors to implement a new data center networking protocol known as OpenFlow for the enterprise. Software Defined Networking using OpenFlow has been standardized through the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) with the collaboration of global network and cloud operators, universities and research labs, and led by IBM and other industry leaders.
SDN enables the separation of network intelligence from the underlying network hardware -- using interoperable software to make the system network more agile, optimized and responsive. The IBM RackSwitch G8264 with OpenFlow supports the rise of Big Data, in which applications, workloads and systems are continuously generating vast amounts of information. Today’s networks are based on hardware, and thus can be too static to support today’s torrent of information. Software Defined Networking promises innovations to turn today’s networks into programmable infrastructure with the flexibility of today’s computers.
With the new IBM Programmable Network Controller
and OpenFlow-enabled RackSwitch G8264, IBM is one of a very few vendors to offer a complete SDN solution. IBM’s SDN solution is enabling greater control over data center infrastructures. This enables data center and network operators to employ a software-defined network fabric with workload-prioritized performance, optimized quality of service and pattern-based system integration.
Congratulations are in order to everyone on the IBM System Networking team who work so hard to deliver innovation every day for the world’s most demanding clients.
For more information about the IBM RackSwitch G8264, OpenFlow, Software Defined Networking and the coming new breed of Virtual Application Networks (VANs), please see:
A Fundamental Change in the Economics of IT – Innovation, Agility, Flexibility Massive Scalability through IBM’s New Expert Integrated PureSystems
The introduction by IBM of a new category of expert integrated systems sets the stage for a new, simpler era of computing and a fundamental change in the economics of IT. As 10,000 online viewers heard key IBM executives extol our vision of expert integrated systems and announce the introduction of the new PureSystems family – it is indeed a watershed day for IBM and our customers, as well as our Systems and Technology Group – and, for IBM System Networking.
We are delighted that IBM’s new PureSystems family, which results from $2 billion in R&D and acquisitions over the past four years, including IBM’s acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies and our talented team of BLADErs in October 2010, integrates networking components from IBM System Networking. Without these investments, the integration of IBM systems using IBM ”house brand” networking components would simply not have been possible less than just two years ago!
IBM’s new PureSystems are factory-built, tuned-to-the task, workload-optimized solutions that integrate server, storage and networking. IBM’s watershed approach to expert integrated systems took four years to define, develop and deliver, resulting in a single integrated, purpose-built system that doubles the computing power previously achievable per square foot of data space.
As organizations worldwide are challenged to deliver and harness innovation and business agility, and achieve massive scalability through integration, interoperability and standardization, IBM’s vision of expert integrated systems, and our new PureSystems family reflect this new economic reality. For example, by cutting months from costly deployments and time-consuming and manually intensive provisioning practices– new compute, storage and network capacity can be deployed up to 30 to 40 times faster.
Integrated systems require less manual intervention, consume much less precious space and power, and operate and scale far more efficiently. The results are ready-to-go systems that enable IT organizations to focus on, achieve and accelerate the innovation that their businesses and end users are looking for them to deliver.
This dense packing of compute power in PureSystems is exactly why the network will be so important to the future of this system. Before this, large amounts of servers and storage would have to be spread out across the data center; network latency and physical distance would ultimately limit performance. Now that multi-core processors, advanced storage technology, and other features have made it possible to fit this much processing power into a few racks, we can take full advantage of Ethernet running up to 40 Gigabit and Fibre Channel running up to 16 Gigabits per second
to realize very high bandwidth and low latency over short distances.
I am particularly pleased that IBM’s vision of expert integrated systems is aimed at realizing a fundamental change in the economics of IT. This vision of integration, scalability and standardization at the rack, row, data center and beyond echoes and reinforces customers’ needs for open, integrated systems that improve business efficiency, innovation and competitiveness I am truly excited as we set the stage for a new category of expert integrated systems and introduce a new era of value in the economics of IT.
Do you think that expert integrated systems can meet your organization’s requirements for innovation, flexibility, agility, and scale? How would viewing all of IT through a single pane of glass enhance IT ability to realize business goals?
IBM System Networking’s Vijoy Pandey Named IBM Distinguished Engineer
I am extremely please to report that my esteemed colleague and long-time collaborator Vijoy Pandey, IBM System Networking’s CTO for our Network OS and Switching, has been named an IBM Distinguished Engineer. I have had the pleasure of working with Vijoy across the past decade at Alteon Networks, Nortel, BLADE Network Technologies, where he joined me as one of our original employees, and now IBM, where he continues to lead the development of the IBM Networking Operating System and champion innovations such as our VMready virtualization automation software.
Vijoy’s recognition as an IBM Distinguished Engineer recognizes his outstanding technical contributions and leadership and puts him in the illustrious community of 500 other IBM Distinguished Engineers. Vijoy serves as a key link between IBM System Networking and the rest of our Systems and Technology Group, and has become a key "go-to" networking expert. Vijoy and his team help IBM drive innovation at the systems networking level, enabling clients to speed the delivery of key information from system to system -- for workloads such as analytics and cloud computing -- while also reducing data center costs. Vijoy is clearly a technical leader of the networking field, is well known across the industry and has proven to be a critical resource to IBM.
Vijoy holds a Ph.D. in Wireless and Cellular Networks from the University of California, Davis and a technical degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. In addition to his exceptional technical acumen, Vijoy is an accomplished photographer. You can see some of the wonderful images captured by Vijoy and his wife Rachna at varp.net. Please join me in congratulating Vijoy for his well-deserved recognition as an IBM Distinguished Engineer.
IBM System Networking Sets the Pace with Standards-Based Network Virtualization Automation
With the vast majority of IT organizations now implementing virtualization, clients are seeking to dramatically reduce cost and complexity in highly virtualized data centers. In today’s data center environments, server virtualization is managed separately from physical servers, requiring the collaboration of server, network, storage, and security administrators. Data center managers are seeking a consistent networking environment across virtual and physical environments, so that virtual and physical servers can use the same configurations, policies and management tools. Network policies should migrate automatically along with mobile virtual machines to ensure that security, performance and access remains intact as virtual machines move from server to server.
To extend IBM’s industry-leading innovation in network virtualization management and automation, I am happy to report that IBM System Networking has delivered the new IBM Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) 5000V to solve these emerging client needsUsing this server-based technology, clients can implement standards-based network virtualization in today’s I/O-intensive virtual switch environments. Using IBM’s innovative VMready virtualization-aware networking on the IBM RackSwitch and BladeCenter switches along with the IBM DVS 5000V as the virtual switch in VMware environments, clients can radically simplify and automate virtualization management. VMready works with all the major hypervisors and supports the IEEE 802.1Qbg standard for automating Virtual Machine mobility. VMware clients can further optimize and automate virtualization management with more advanced capabilities using the new IBM Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V.
Key aspects of our new IBM Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V include:
• Large-scale server virtualization by providing enterprise-level switch functionality in the hypervisor
• Advanced networking features not available through base vSwitch
• Mobility of VM security and network properties
• 802.1Qbg standards-based unified management of VM network policies across the virtual and physical network
• Network administrators can manage and provision network settings at the virtual machine level
• Flexible and scalable to a large number of ports
The IBM System Networking Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V is an advanced, feature-rich distributed virtual switch for VMware environments with policy-based virtual machine (VM) connectivity. It enables network administrators familiar with IBM System Networking switches to manage the IBM DVS 5000V just like IBM physical switches using advanced networking, troubleshooting and management features so the virtual switch is no longer hidden and difficult to manage.
Support for Edge Virtual Bridging (EVB) based on the IEEE 802.1Qbg standard enables scalable, flexible management of networking configuration and policy requirements per VM and eliminates many of the networking challenges introduced with server virtualization. The IBM DVS 5000V works with VMware vSphere 5.0 and beyond and interoperates with any 802.1Qbg-compliant physical switch to enable switching of local VM traffic in the hypervisor or in the upstream physical switch.
Do you see your clients’ initiatives to implement massively virtualized infrastructures requiring a new level of network virtualization automation and management? Do you see standards-based networking as a key enabler for their next-generation network topologies?
The Cloud-Ready System Network
Today’s competitive business needs are driving the development of cloud-based data centers that are more cost-effective, agile, and scalable than ever before. Cloud computing places higher demands on the system network in areas such as speed, flexibility, virtualization, cost-effective operation and scalability. To meet the technical and business requirements of cloud computing, the networking layer of a cloud must offer high bandwidth and low latency, converged communications and storage, agile networks for virtual machine mobility, massive scalability and manageability and advanced energy efficiency.
The essential attributes of a cloud network include terabit scalability, predictable low latency, non-blocking throughput and high-speed interconnects using 1/10GbE and the emerging 40/100GbE. For example, the new IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 delivers throughput of up 1.28 Terabits per second and with its single-chip architecture, low latency is delivered across all port combinations. To bring even more bandwidth to the cloud, the RackSwitch G8264 is among the industry’s first top-of-rack switches with 40GbE interconnects.
One of the main advantages of cloud computing is on-demand access to resources, and virtualization plays a key role in providing those resources. IBM System Networking's VMready network virtualization software enables cloud computing infrastructures with mobile, active virtual machines. Cloud computing users can gain even greater advantages from mobile virtual machines when they can be moved securely and with predictable performance not only within a cloud, but over greater distances to connect multiple clouds. Movement between clouds enables applications such as disaster recovery and data replication.
Today, cloud computing environments are deploying IT infrastructure on an unprecedented scale – data centers are expanding from 5,000 to 50,000 and 100,000 servers. For such scale-out architectures, the system network must deliver the high-density networking required to support highly consolidated and massively virtualized data center infrastructures. Today’s “flat” network topologies enabled through standards such as TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) are key to this scalability.
Power and cooling are some of the biggest expenses of operating a cloud data center. A common estimate for data center cooling and distribution costs is two watts for every single watt consumed by data center equipment and networking gear is 10 to 15% of the entire infrastructure —so choosing the most energy-efficient network components is essential. As clouds grow to thousands of servers and beyond, per-component power savings are magnified into hundreds of thousands of kilowatts.
From a business perspective, the system network architecture for today’s cloud computing applications must support incremental deployment that does not require razing an existing facility and building a new one. And as new pieces of the cloud are fitted into place, IT managers don’t want to be locked into a single-vendor implementation for any aspect of the solution. They want the freedom to select best-in-class hardware and software components, and they want to deploy new capacity as rapidly as possible. For example, IBM has extended Tivoli's virtualization management capabilities so that it can provision and deploy hundreds or thousands of virtual machines an hour for large-scale enterprise cloud implementations.
IBM System Sets New Low-Latency Record for Real-time Market Data over 10GbE
In the world of High-Frequency Trading (HFT), opportunities exist only fleetingly and therefore trading solutions must run at the lowest latency to be competitive . Low-latency 10 Gigabit Ethernet has become the interconnect
of choice for HFT solutions. IBM and Mellanox have demonstrated a solution that
performs at high throughput rates and low latency to facilitate High-Frequency
I am happy to report that an IBM system has set a new record in low-latency messaging performance for Ethernet networks based on
the latest STAC-M2 benchmark test conducted by
Mellanox. The record was achieved using IBM x3550 servers running IBM’s WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging (LLM) technology using
Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN 10GbE NICs with RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) and the IBM BNT RackSwitch
G8264 10GbE switch.
The IBM and Mellanox solution outperformed the most recent record holder (based on a comparable configuration), achieving a 30% improvement
over results that were announced just two months ago. The benchmark results highlight an enhancement in latency reduction and scaling of messaging
performance, validating IBM and Mellanox’s performance leadership for high-performance connectivity to data centers in the financial services
STAC-M2 is a vendor neutral benchmark set by the Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC) Benchmark Council, a consortium of
financial and trading industry participants that sets testing standards and supports performance improvements for technology used in capital markets.
This STAC benchmark demonstrates that IBM and Mellanox are addressing the performance requirements of the financial services industry by providing financial services enterprises with innovative server,
storage, software and networking solutions that meet their customers’ needs for fast transactions and value-added services.
STAC Benchmark Council members with a premium subscription can request the full STAC® Report. The report highlights are available to the
public. For more information, read IBM’s white paper about this impressive
low-latency solution for High Frequency Trading. Find more information about IBM System Networking’s low latency solutions here.