Server architecture has come a long way since the days when each server was assigned to a specific application or task. Because many tasks don’t play well with others, each task required its own dedicated machine. It was a very basic, albeit not too efficient, approach to architect a data center network.
With today’s mega data centers and cloud-based services on the rise, computer networks are becoming larger and more complex, rendering the dedicated servers of yesteryear obsolete. As the sheer number of servers continues to increase, one can imagine the amount of physical space required by a data center that’s not only overcrowded with racks of servers but also consuming massive amounts of power and generating heat.
To move past traditional data center architecture, networking professionals often face a labor-intensive and time-consuming process of reconfiguring workloads. Server virtualization attempts to address both of these issues in one fell swoop while creating more flexibility and greater efficiencies. Utilizing specially designed software, an administrator can convert one physical server into multiple virtual machines. Each virtual server acts like a unique physical device that is capable of running its own operating system (OS). Virtualization presents many advantages, enabling users to consolidate computing hardware resources and allowing them to run multiple virtual machines concurrently on consolidated hardware.
Now, IT and data center administrators are leveraging encapsulation and “tunneling” strategies to address the networking problems created by complex virtual environments and the difficulties created by extending network segments long-distance between data centers. In essence, tunneling fully abstracts the physical network, extending the VLAN construct to offer multi-data center network scalability.
Broadcom’s NetXtreme II™ has perfected the art of tunneling. Like most network protocol processing, the bulk of the intelligence is done in the NIC in order to ensure low CPU utilization and maximum performance. By eliminating islands and taking advantage of NIC partitioning, Broadcom’s 57810 allows servers to support Network Virtualization Offload (NVO) services with the various Layer 2 over Layer 3 encapsulation formats that not only reduce system power and cut cooling costs but also minimizes overall system complexity. Most importantly, NVO creates better performance with a lower total cost of ownership — the poster child for fast, fat and flat networks in saving time and money.
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