In the early days of virtualization, the goals were pretty clear: maximize server utilization and dynamically provision IT infrastructure. But just a few years later, things have changed. The tasks have grown more complex and more demanding, putting a strain on an infrastructure that needs both the elasticity and scalability to accommodate any application.
Broadcom has developed the technology that will allow IT managers and networking operators the flexibility to scale their network infrastructures in real-time, regardless of the environment – public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid of both. It’s one of the topics of conversation this week at VMworld, where we unveiled our new StrataXGS® Trident II Switch Series.
In a post earlier this week, I laid out the basic architecture of private and public clouds and touched on the foundation of the hybrid cloud, a mixed-platform approach that maximizes the flexibility of the network by allowing IT managers to offload some of the infrastructure capacity needs to a public cloud during busier times of day. By building in this peak-hour offload to accommodate heavier demands, the network infrastructure can maintain its performance — even during the busiest times.
These new hybrid clouds are built on existing and emerging network virtualization technologies such as VM-aware switching and Layer2 over Layer 3 (L2oL3) networks that get around previous obstacles by bridging the public cloud and customer premise infrastructure (aka private cloud). One of the ways this can be accomplished is to address the unique challenges in each of the environments.
In private networks, which are typically smaller in scale (compared to public cloud networks such as Infrastructure As A Service), one can deploy a Layer 2 (L2) network in the access and aggregation layers of the data center network. The L2 network, segmented across server racks and pods, must also scale to meet the demands of growing east-west traffic. Technologies such as TRILL and SPB are appropriate for delivering full cross-sectional bandwidth to server, virtual machine (VM) and storage end points.
Thanks to the new SmartSwitch technologies found in StrataXGS Trident II devices, rack-to-rack performance is no longer at the mercy of traditional tiered network topologies – a manifestation of legacy server and application tiers or silos. Dynamic workload placement and the need for granular traffic visibility, load balancing and diagnostics are similarly driving more flexible software defined networks (SDN).
On the public network side, it’s important to remember that they are typically built from the ground up, without legacy equipment or usage model restrictions. This means the focus is on designing for scale with off-the-shelf network equipment that’s easily replaceable and cost-effective. With that comes an understanding that public cloud networks are focused on massive scale and multi-tenancy support, requiring standards-based and vendor-agnostic approaches.
Like their private counterparts, public networks also face performance demands, such as the need for an increased number of virtual machines, increased rack-to-rack performance and efficient workload placement through higher VM migration scale. Designed for massive scaling, these networks often follow proven internal-scale architectures, using Layer 3 (L3)-based, hierarchical addressing schemes rather than flat L2-based approaches. L3 with equal cost multipathing (ECMP) is popular in public clouds and mega datacenters for enabling L3-based fast, fat and flat networks because such technologies are commonly available in most vendor network equipment and are simpler to implement.
The challenge lies in bridging L2-based private networks and L3-based public networks in hybrid cloud scenarios and potential use of SDN for managing both in hybrid cloud scenarios. New virtualization technologies are paving the way; using L2oL3-based network virtualization technologies such as VXLAN, one can carve out tenant or application specific L2 networks.
An L2oL3 based network virtualization technology such as VXLAN eliminates VLAN based scaling challenges that can cause problems in multitenant networks. VXLAN also promises to detach network virtualization-related configuration from vendor-specific proprietary configurations in physical switches, enabling SDN across multi-vendor equipment — an attractive benefit for public and hybrid cloud deployments.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Broadcom approaches network virtualization and SDN using innovative network switch designs for public, private and hybrid clouds, visit us in booth #2701 at VMworld this week or follow the conversation with us via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.