As I continue to attend conferences and sessions with many of our core partners, I continue on my quest for data centre innovation. Most recently I visited the sunny coast of the Bay Area to visit Brocade Communications, Hitachi Data Systems and VMware specifically the NSX division. This is part one of a three part overview of the technology offering.
Within my role “Office of the CTO” I am always exploring new trends and innovation in designs and solutions for our clients, in particular how “software defined everything” becomes a part of our clients’ data centre evolution. For many years we have been speaking about the cloud and its adoption in main stream IT. We have new technologies appear and some just take a new face. Today, I would like to explore the concept of Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) or in this case specially Software Defined Networks (SDN), with an overview of some of the most interesting solutions on the market.
Like many of you I have experienced the virtualization becoming more and more common of the compute platform. It just seems like yesterday that my manager at the time asked me to assist in SAN connectivity with Microsoft version 1 of Virtual machine management! Today we are experiencing the continued evolution of virtualization. Server and storage virtualization are common place within the data centre. We are seeing Canadian companies 100% virtualized within the compute space. These same companies are looking for the next step in consolidation, agility and cost containment. That next step is network virtualization. But what is SDN? Software defined networking (SDN) is a model for network control, based on the idea that network traffic flow can be made programmable at scale, thus enabling new dynamic models for traffic management.
VMware NSX – a product purchased by VMware to add to their virtual network strategy. The product is sound and provides a close coupling with VMware and the networking and security of East/West traffic within a VM. The NSX Data and management plane provides an excellent framework to allow the SME hypervisor to lock down the VM traffic, and virtual properties such as a vRouter, vVPN, vLoad Balancer, all of which work within the VM construct.
Brocade Vyatta – A technology acquired by Brocade 2 years ago. Today we see the vRouter and Vyatta OpenDaylight controller lead the pack. Brocade has v5400 and v5600 additions of the predefined Vyatta OpenFlow controller. The Vyatta implementation provides vRouter, vFirewall, vVPN and has also developed a vADX load balancer as well.
Cisco ACI or Nexus 9000L – Cisco announced in 2014 the spin-in of the Insieme product to provide an ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) platform. The first release was a 40 Gb Ethernet switch with no real ACI functionality. Today we see the product with enhanced port/policy control strategy using the Cloupia Spin-in Technology (UCS Director) policy based engines to control the various functions within an ACI architecture.
The real mystery of software defined networking starts with the basic understanding of a business need for a “programmable network” based on X86 architecture within the virtualization layer. In the next installment I will breakdown the VMware NSX and what ESI is exploring with this leading edge SDN contributor.
Nicholas Laine, Director Solutions Architect – Office of the CTO