There’s a lot discussion these days among network IT professionals about making the leap from 1 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) to 10GbE. In fact, I recently participated in a Wikibon Peer Incite discussion about this very topic. In a conversation titled “The Rise of 10Gb Ethernet and the Impact of Intel’s Xeon E5 Family of Processors,” we not only talked about the speed advantages of 10GbE but also some of the solutions (such as HP’s Flex-LOM architecture) that make it easier to determine when the time is right to upgrade to faster speeds.
We also discussed how 10GbE upgrades are having a direct impact on the way data centers are being constructed. The traditional data center has three tiers: presentation, application, and database. This architecture leaves server resources in islands that are optimized for “North-South” networking traffic only. This means that each tier talks to its adjacent tier, but not to servers in the same tier (commonly referred to as “East-West traffic”).
Reconfiguring workloads and adapting to changes in this kind of data center can be very labor-intensive and time consuming. It can also mean having less flexibility and incurring more operating expenses when it’s time to make changes.
To address these challenges, we talked about how the three-tier data center is giving way to the construction of virtual data centers – a structure in which all of the servers are fully connected via 10GbE in a “flat” network (one with fewer tiers). This not only simplifies network construction but allows any set of servers to be configured in any “logical” tier, as the need arises.
Ultimately, this eliminates compute islands, increases flexibility and reduces operating expenses. This also underscores one of the biggest lessons learned from utility/public cloud computing architectural practices, that fast, fat, and flat networks save time and money. Broadcom is an innovator in this area and has an extensive portfolio of Ethernet solutions and other devices that enable fast, fat, and flat networks.
Click to learn more about Broadcom’s NetXtreme Ethernet Solutions.