Yes, The Network Fabric in IBM PureSystems Is Interoperable With Existing Network Infrastructures
Since the recent introduction of IBM PureSystems
with network components developed by System Networking, clients are expressing great interest in the advantages of Expert Integrated Systems. One of their first questions is invariably: “Will IBM networks work with my existing data center and core network infrastructures?”
The answer is a resounding YES. When deploying an IBM PureFlex or PureApplication System, IBM’s standards-based approach to system networking ensures interoperability with existing network infrastructures across the edge, aggregation layer and core. Data centers with equipment from Cisco, Juniper and other network providers can benefit immediately – without any fear that IBM is somehow endeavoring to foist a “rip and replace” Trojan Horse strategy on our valued client.
With that said, here are four clear-cut reasons why IBM System Networking
delivers clear advantages:
- IBM’s Standards-Based Approach – Our mature and battle-tested IBM Networking OS is developed based on a standards-compliant philosophy driven by IBM’s leadership role in key international standards bodies, such as the IEEE, IETF and Open Networking Foundation.
- Certified Cisco Interoperability – Our clients in the world’s largest enterprise, financial services and cloud operators, know that network topologies implemented using our gear will work flawlessly with Cisco infrastructures. IBM System Networking products have been certified by The Tolly Group to deliver interoperability with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches. IBM and Juniper Networks recently collaborated to test the new IBM PureFlex System with Juniper products to build and run a cloud-based data center.
- Administrator-Friendly Operation – A common IBM Networking OS runs on IBM Ethernet products across our IBM PureSystems, BladeCenter, and RackSwitch lines. IBM system and network management tools such as Tivoli work with IBM Networking Element Manager. And, a Cisco-like command line interface is familiar to any Cisco-trained administrator.
- Proven Worldwide – With more than 14 million Ethernet switch ports connecting servers, storage and core networks, IBM System Networking has emerged as one of the industry’s foremost, innovative and focused data center networking providers. We estimate that nearly two million IBM switch ports are working with Cisco aggregation and core networks today in the world’s largest and most demanding network environments. Beyond the already significant performance, low latency and energy efficiency advantages delivered by IBM System Networking solutions, our clients know they can have a multi-vendor approach to data center networking, if that is what best suits their need.
Bottom line, clients will implement IBM PureSystems to harness the flexibility of a general-purpose system, the elasticity of cloud and the simplicity of an appliance tuned to the workload. However, as they move to fundamentally change the experience and economics of IT, they do not want to rip and replace their existing investment in networking or implement a proprietary fabric architecture that only works with a single vendor’s components.
Those are simply the realities of data center networking today. And, that’s why IBM has invested in ensuring that Expert Integrated Systems implemented with IBM networking are purpose built for the needs of the modern data center –interoperable, fast, intelligent, virtual and tuned to the task.
In a coming post, I’ll drill down into just how to implement an IBM PureSystems network to achieve the greatest performance and latency advantages.
IBM Delivers Standards-Based Virtualization Awareness and Automation for Large-Scale, Highly Virtualized Data Centers
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 often managed separately from physical infrastructure, 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 address the need for massively scalable, highly virtualized data centers, key standards have emerged for network virtualization automation. IBM System Networking
has developed and delivered the new IBM Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) 5000V
™ alongside switch-resident IBM VMready®
, so 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 IBM RackSwitch™
, as well as embedded Ethernet switches for IBM BladeCenter®
and IBM FlexSystems®
, along with IBM’s 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 virtual switch.
The IBM System Networking Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V is an advanced, feature-rich distributed virtual switch developed by IBM in cooperation with VMware with policy-based virtual machine (VM) connectivity. The IBM Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) 5000V 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. No fork lift of physical edge switches is required -- a simple firmware upgrade enables IEEE 802.1Qbg support on IBM physical switches. Virtual Machine (VM) traffic is switched at the device -- virtual or physical -- nearest to the VM in the traditional vSwitch EVB mode or in the transparent or reflective relay VEPA mode. IBM System Networking DVS 5000V is highly recommended for VM switching in VMware vSphere enterprise data center solutions – it is designed from the ground up to automate and scale any highly virtualized enterprise workload.
The standards-based network virtualization awareness, automation and “Virtual Vision” provided by IBM’s DVS 5000V and VMready demonstrate the healthy ecosystem in virtualization-aware networking and ensures that clients have freedom of choice to implement a multi-vendor network infrastructure that is equipped, enabled and scalable for massive virtualization.
Our standards-based approach enables clients to implement an integrated network across physical and virtual networks so the entire system-level network is aware of Virtual Machines and can automate their live mobility as workload requirements change. It’s truly a comprehensive solution that many clients are seeing as the way forward as they continue to embrace and extend virtualization across servers and workloads.
How do you see data center networks evolving to keep pace with the demands of massive virtualization?
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 Leads All in 40G Ethernet Shipments
I am proud to report that IBM holds the leadership position in the emerging market for 40 Gigabit Ethernet in the data center. According to research firm Dell’Oro Group, which recently began tracking the 40G Ethernet market, IBM is the market leader. This leadership position is due to the continued growth of 10G Ethernet, which necessitates 40G uplinks and aggregation switches as delivered by our innovative IBM RackSwitch G8264 and IBM RackSwitch G8316 top-of-rack switches.
In Dell'Oro's first 40G market report for the third calendar quarter of 2011, IBM RackSwitch products held a market share of more than 69%, more than 4 times greater than any other vendor.
The market for 40G Ethernet is still in its infancy. However, as data centers and cloud operators increasingly deploy servers equipped with 10G Ethernet, this drives the need for 40G upstream connectivity. The IBM RackSwitch G8264 and G8316 are ideal in this regard because they can be equipped with 10G server interconnects and 10G uplinks that can be easily upgraded to 40G as requirements demand.
The IBM RackSwitch G8264 is a 10/40G top-of-rack switch specifically designed for applications requiring the highest performance. It combines 1.28 Tbps throughput with up to 4 40G ports or up to 64 10G ports. The RackSwitch G8316 is a 40G top-of-rack aggregation switch that can be configured with either 16 40G ports or up to 64 10G ports. These switches set IBM apart and our leadership position in the emerging market for 40G Ethernet demonstrates that our innovative products are being well received in the marketplace.
IBM System Networking on Track
As we pass the one-year anniversary of IBM’s acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies, I am pleased to report that IBM System Networking is on track in our focus to deliver “Smarter Networking for Smarter Data Centers.” We have exceeded our business objectives across the past four quarters, delivered an enhanced and expanded portfolio of data center networking solutions, and are succeeding in our goal to bring intelligence and speed to the essential access, distribution and aggregation layers where server and storage systems are connected to the data center network.
Gartner’s recent report: “Competitive Landscape: Data Center Ethernet Switches, Worldwide, 2011 Update” validates our growing market impact. Gartner places IBM System Networking as the number-two vendor in the data center networking market that has grown to $6.1 billion and 22.5 million ports.
Gartner reports that users now recognize the need for a "significantly new type of Ethernet switch for their data centers. As more and more data centers are affected by trends like consolidation, virtualization and automation, this has given rise to a set of new problems that network managers have to address.” As a result, Gartner asserts that data center networking must address:
• Growing east-west network traffic
• Growing need for 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches at every layer of the data center network
• Redundant design at various levels of the network
• Flat topologies to bring down the number of hops and reduce network latency
• Effectively providing interconnects and network services like security authentication, load balancing/failover, virtual LAN (VLAN) administration and traffic shaping to virtual machines.
• Overcoming the topological, failover and scalability limits imposed by spanning tree protocol (STP)
• Low power consumption with front to rear airflow design.
IBM System Networking delivers across all these requirements, which is why we are playing a leadership role in the data center networking market. Clients who deploy Smarter Computing using IBM System Networking solutions realize improved economics, better network performance, lower latency, less complexity, greater energy efficiency and streamlined management. These advantages become paramount as clients deploy a new class of switches specifically designed for the data center in ever-growing numbers.
IBM’s “Blue Pods”
With standardized components available for virtually every element of IT infrastructure from server to storage and network to rack, it’s perhaps no surprise that the standardized data center or “Pod” is becoming increasingly popular. For example, IBM’s Portable Modular Data Center is a data center in 20- or 40-foot shipping container that can be located anywhere that power and chilled water can be delivered. Other “Blue Pods” include the Enterprise Modular Data Center, a standardized raised-floor data center that can be built out in modules of 5,000 to 20,000 square feet, and the Modular High-Density Zone, which can convert an existing raised-floor space into an area that can deliver more computing capacity and power density.
As organizations struggle to handle growth in existing data centers, most organizations need to install and operate high-density computing to keep up with IT demands. However, the majority of today’s data centers are not designed to support high-density computing. So, these modular data centers offer a quick-to-deploy high-density solution with exceptional energy efficiency. And these modular approaches are ideal for organizations that want affordable capacity on demand. A Portable Modular Data Center can be designed, built and drop-shipped in as little as a few weeks to any location in the world, and does not require onerous capital outlays.
An IBM Portable Modular Data Center can cost up to 30 percent less to design and build compared to custom raised floor solutions, and can have up to a 50 percent smaller footprint. These Blue Pods are open, using industry-standard 19-inch racks and can house 1,428 blade servers or 1,178 IBM iDataPlex servers per container. This high-density compute power requires equivalent networking capacity. And this is where IBM System Networking is an ideal complement. IBM System Networking RackSwitch products consume power equivalent to standard light bulbs and are designed with server-friendly airflow that matches the hot-aisle/cold-aisle designs of the modular data center. IBM BladeCenter switches consume even less power and are tightly integrated with the BladeCenter architecture. Our VMready switch-resident software provides the networking capability to equip the Pod for the challenges of virtualization.
As CIOs remake IT infrastructures into more agile and automated environments that can respond to complexity with operational flexibility, Blue Pods support change while helping to mitigate associated risks. They help to address the continuing pressure to do more, faster and better – with less. In many cases, Pods enable organizations to accelerate their preparations for increasing complexity without requiring a significant expansion of existing IT operations. And Pods address the imperative to do more, faster and better—with less. Pods enable the data center to perform as the engine of business growth. And that’s what smarter computing is all about.
Take an online tour of an IBM Portable Modular Data Center.
The Transformation of the Data Center Network
Recently, I joined the other networking industry executives in Network World’s Data Center Switching Challenge Series. Host Robin Layland points out that the data center network is undergoing a major transformation as server virtualization, intense storage growth and the increase in east-west traffic – application-to-application and application-to-storage traffic – are placing new demands on the data center networking infrastructure. Layland asserts that to accommodate these changes, data centers must become more cloud-like. That requires running a new Ethernet fabric – a high-throughput, self-configuring, low-latency and self-healing data center network that automatically forwards traffic over the shortest available path. I couldn’t agree more.
Certainly, new technology innovations including the transformation of the data center network, signal that we are entering a new era of computing that IBM calls Smarter Computing. At IBM System Networking, we believe that Smarter Computing can be achieved by connecting servers and storage with a high-speed and intelligent network fabric that is faster, greener, open and easy to manage. In Round One of the Challenge, I describe how evolving to these next-generation data centers, requires organizations to scale their infrastructures while minimizing complexity, achieving virtualization and consolidation with the quality of service required for production application workloads and successfully merging data and storage into a single network.
As organizations drive to transform and virtualize their IT infrastructures to reduce costs and manage risk, networking is pivotal to success. Optimizing network performance, availability, adaptability, security, and cost is essential to achieving the maximum benefit from the data center infrastructure. This in turn addresses CIOs’ key issues, including scalability, density, simplicity, utilization, security, analytics and total cost of ownership.
The value proposition for IBM System Networking is to provide the essential data and storage networking solutions under the IBM brand to connect servers to servers, servers to storage and storage to storage. Clients seeking more efficient data centers with the greatest business value and lowest total cost of ownership for their data center networks can implement an open, standards-based approach to simplify management, flatten and converge the network and optimize and automation virtualization.
In Round Two of the Challenge, Robin and I take a deeper look into the requirements for the data center network fabric in a brief podcast. The best way to look at the attributes of a data center fabric is what we call the four “L’s”. It’s got to be lossless. It’s got to be low latency. It’s got to consume low power and it’s got to have a very low cost of acquisition and operation. These are the essential attributes of a data center interconnect fabric. The problems on a large scale that this sort of a data center fabric is trying to solve are, first and foremost, to help clients scale their infrastructure. Second, to allow clients to increase the density of clients and storage per square foot of raised floor. Third, to make it incredibly simple to provision and manage data center infrastructure. Fourth, to enhance the security of the IT infrastructure. Fifth, to aid in the process of better analytics of a corporation’s information and data repositories. Sixth, to maximize the utilization of the IT infrastructure through technologies like virtualization, and finally, to lower the total cost of ownership of IT infrastructure.
Network World’s Data Center Switching Challenge is a great place to start when you are evaluating your data center networking needs and how leading vendors are taking new and innovative approaches to address next-generation requirements.
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 RackSwitch G8264 Wins Communications Solutions Product of the Year Recognition
I am happy to report that the IBM System Networking RackSwitch G8264 is a recipient of TMC’s 2010 Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award. See the press release here.
The RackSwitch G8264 is IBM System Networking’s innovative 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch specifically designed for the data center to provide speed, intelligence and interoperability, interconnecting highly virtualized servers equipped with 10 Gigabit Ethernet and providing seamless migration to 40 Gigabit upstream networks.
RackSwitch G8264’s is power packed with innovations that include:
Single-Chip Switch Fabric: RackSwitch G8264 uses an innovative switching architecture to operate with low, deterministic latency, consistent bi-directional throughput at line rate across all ports combinations, better microburst absorption, greater reliability and ultra-low power consumption of just 5.8 watts per port.
Massive Scale: RackSwitch G8264 includes 48 SFP+ ports for 10 GbE or 1 GbE operation and four QSFP+ ports for 40 GbE uplinks or 10 GbE use via a breakout cable for a total of 64 10 GbE ports. The terabit-class switch provides massive scalability for highly virtualized data center networks with up to 448 10GbE server ports in a stacked configuration for interconnecting thousands of virtual machines.
Virtual Vision: RackSwitch G8264 integrates VMready with Virtual Vision to secure and automate Virtual Machine migrations across large data center environments. Innovative and proven VMready “sees” virtual machines (VMs) as they move from server to server, protecting virtual machines by automatically synchronizing network policies among switches and hypervisors. With the Virtual Vision central policy database, VMready provides a single point of management for VM traffic and security across an entire data center with hundreds of servers and thousands of VMs, all designed for easy transition to emerging IEEE 802.1Qbg standards.
Next Generation Data Center Networking: RackSwitch G8264 supports the DCB/CEE standards for converged data center networks for FCoE, iSCSI or NAS, IBM Virtual Fabric for flexible vNIC connectivity, HotLinks and Layer 2 failover and standard Layer 2/3 features including stacking, IP PIM multicast, dynamic routing and spanning tree.
Congestion Prevention: Because network traffic between highly virtualized multi-core servers generates large amounts of server-to-server network traffic, virtualized servers need congestion notifications much earlier than enabled by conventional switches. IBM RackSwitch G8264 incorporates Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) and Weighed Random Early Detection (WRED), which control packet flow from servers to avoid large saw-tooth fluctuations in network throughput that can slow application performance.
The IBM System Networking RackSwitch G8264 tops in top of rack switches, and this latest award is welcome recognition of the innovation that sets it apart.
Cloud Computing for Rethinking IT and Reinventing Business
In IBM’s Global Chief Information Officer Study– “The Essential CIO” – based on a poll of 3,000 global CIOs– shows that cloud computing has come of age with interest in the cloud increasing more than any other CIO priority. As I mentioned earlier, 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.
The cloud represents a profound evolution of IT with revolutionary implications for business and society, creating new possibilities and enabling more efficient, flexible and collaborative computing models. The cloud enables “IT without boundaries”—systems and processes that break down traditional silos and simplify access to information in order to deliver better business outcomes. Cloud computing offers organizations dramatic increases in agility and efficiency— innovation to ensure speedy, cost-effective delivery of products and services. To realize the benefits of cloud computing while overcoming the inherent challenges, organizations must take a holistic approach that spans business and innovation, users and applications, systems and networks.
IBM enables Smarter Computing managed in the cloud with a wide range of solutions. For example, IBM Tivoli Service Automation Manager enables users to request, deploy, monitor and manage cloud computing services. IBM SmartCloud Managed Backup
services provide end-to-end, cloud-based managed services to help protect business data, regardless of where it's stored. IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
is an agile cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) designed to provide rapid access to security-rich, enterprise-class virtual server environments, well suited for development and test activities and other dynamic workloads. IBM Smart Business Storage Cloud
offers a storage-virtualization solution designed to support storage optimization efforts. The IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud
provides a pre-integrated and preloaded system with software, server, storage, networking and start-up services to help take the guesswork out of establishing a virtualized data center environment.
System networking is essential to the cloud, and our Cloud Ready Network Architecture
addresses the network-related requirements for private and public cloud computing. As enterprises and cloud providers seek to harness the considerable advantages of cloud computing, their networks must be equipped with five essential elements -- high-bandwidth/low-latency switching, convergence to Ethernet, massive virtualization for agile workloads, scalable fabric management and advanced energy efficiency. Cloud Ready Network Architecture is extending the performance and capabilities of data center networks from blade server to switch to SAN that will enable the scale-out performance and economies promised by cloud computing. Our Cloud Ready products
include the industry's first FCoE-ready 10 Gigabit Ethernet blade server switch, a high-performance 10/40GbE top-of-rack switching solution and a massive virtualization solution that supports more than 1,000 virtual ports for the cloud-ready data center.
Cloud computing is a new model of consuming and delivering IT and business services. It enables users to get what they need, as they need it—from advanced analytics and business applications to IT infrastructure and platform services, including virtual servers, storage and networks. The cloud is only as agile and extensible as the underlying network, and IBM System Networking is committed to delivering networking solutions that enable clients to harness the cloud’s transformative potential to rethink IT and reinvent business.
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.
OpenFlow – Next-Generation Networking for a Smarter Planet
We are seeing dramatic shifts as our planet becomes smarter. Every aspect of life is benefiting from the instrumentation, interconnection and the infusion of intelligence into the systems of the world. Networking is no exception, and the emerging OpenFlow specification promises a greater level of intelligence in Ethernet networks through a new approach called Software-Defined Networking (SDN).
OpenFlow is a network protocol that has been developed over the past six years at Stanford University. It was initially created for researchers and universities as a tool to allow experimentation with new protocols and is now showing great promise for today’s highly virtualized enterprise and cloud computing networks.
IBM is an industry leader in network virtualization technology and cloud computing through IBM System Networking's VMready product and is actively participating in the standardization of virtualization in networks through our leadership contribution to the IEEE 802.1Qbg standard. IBM is actively involved in OpenFlow technology.
OpenFlow is being promoted by the Open Networking Foundation formed by six companies that own and operate some of the largest networks in the world — Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo! — as well as 17 member companies, including IBM and other major equipment vendors, networking and virtualization software suppliers and chip technology providers. OpenFlow is a disruptive technology that enables customers to choose their networking hardware and software separately in order to design best-of-breed data center solutions.
There are many applications for OpenFlow in modern networks. For example:
- A network administrator could create on-demand “express lanes” for voice and data traffic that are time-sensitive.
- Software could also be used to combine several fiber optic links into a larger virtual pipe for temporarily handing a particularly heavy flow of traffic, and then have the channels automatically separate again when the data rush is over.
- Service providers could use OpenFlow to help build a Smarter Planet by offering remote services such as home security or energy management.
- In cloud computing environments, OpenFlow improves scalability and enables resources to be shared efficiently among different services in response to the number of users.
OpenFlow revolutionizes the monolithic model of conventional network devices by managing the flow tables on network switches, routers and access points independently of the device’s software. It removes much of the network decision making, often called the “control plane” from network devices into an external controller that can be implemented using standard server technology.
At Interop Las Vegas, May 8-12, 2011, IBM System Networking and NEC will be showing, for the first time publically, a proof-of-concept demo of an OpenFlow-enabled IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 working in concert with an NEC OpenFlow controller. IBM will also participate in the InteropNet OpenFlow Lab, which will educate attendees on the principles, functions and features of OpenFlow. The lab will demonstrate OpenFlow in different scenarios, including loop free networking, dynamic load balancing across multiple links and quality of service for VoIP.
We are proud to be one of the inaugural members of the Open Networking Foundation, which again demonstrates IBM’s long-standing commitment to making a difference for customers with open industry standards, which are essential for the Smarter Computing that powers a Smarter Planet.
IBM BNT RackSwitch 8264 Excels in Independent Test
Third-party product testing can provide a valuable resource for determining which networking products are best suited to customer needs. Third-party tests can often be accomplished on a much more extensive level with more products tested, more test equipment used and more test parameters evaluated than any single client could accomplish on their own. Consider a new independent performance test, which validates that the IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet switch demonstrates significant performance and energy efficiency advantages over other top-of-rack switches offered in the market.
In the performance test conducted by The Tolly Group, the IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 consistently demonstrated 100-percent line-rate throughput, lower latency, and the capability to buffer more packets than similar products in the markets, while providing an additional 16 10GbE ports, or 160Gbps more capacity than all other switches tested.
In addition to the performance advantages, the IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 consumed up fewer Watts per Gbps than all other switches tested. The IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 also demonstrated an average of 55% better price/performance than the three other switches.
Kevin Tolly, founder of the Tolly Group had this to say, “Today’s data centers are serving content for fixed and mobile clients across large scale public and private cloud computing clusters. Video rendering, high frequency trading and oil reservoir simulations are just a few examples of the complex applications being served over computing clusters connected at 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). The IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 is a high-density 10GbE Top-of- Rack (ToR) switch with a powerful combination of the performance, low latency and energy efficiency required for today’s consolidated networking and storage traffic as well as server virtualization.”
The Tolly Group’s test clearly demonstrates the performance and energy efficiency advantages of the IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264. We are proud that IBM System Networking’s RackSwitch products indeed excel at delivering intelligence and speed at the edge of the network, the essential access, distribution and aggregation layers where essential server and storage systems are connected to the data center network.
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.