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Blink: You’re Too Slow

When playing in the high speed switching game – timing is everything.  Timing ‘sets the pace’ for visibility to established the ‘where and when,’ correlation across a broad computing environment plus compliance and digital forensics with precision time stamps.  Every element of the data center requires accurate timing at a level that leaves no room for error.

Speed is the other, more celebrated, if not obvious requirement, for the high speed switching game.  Speed that is measured in increments requiring some new additions to my vocabulary.

When looking at the ways in which we measure speed and regulate time throughout the network, I was of course familiar with NTP or Network Time Protocol.   NTP provides millisecond timing…which, crazy enough…is WAY TOO SLOW for this high speed market.   Now being from the South, I may blink a little slower than other people but I read that the average time it takes to blink an eye…is 300 to 400 milliseconds!  A millisecond is a thousandth of a second.  That is considered slow?

Turns out ‘micro-second’ level detail is our next consideration.  A microsecond is equal to one millionth (10−6 or 1/1,000,000) of a second. One microsecond is to one second as one second is to 11.54 days. To keep our blinking example alive: 350,000 microseconds.  Still too slow.

Next unit of measure?  The Nanosecond. A nanosecond is one billionth of a second.  One nanosecond is to one second as one second is to 31.7 years.  Time to blink is just silly at this point.

At one point in time I used to think higher speeds were attainable with higher degrees of bandwidth.  This may be why the idea of ‘low latency’ seems so counter-intuitive. As you hopefully understand at this point, there are limitations to how fast data can move and that real gains in this area can only be achieved through gains in efficiency – in other words, the elimination (as much as possible) of latency.

For ethernet, speed really is about latency.  Ethernet switch latency is defined as the time it takes for a switch to forward a packet from its ingress port to its egress port. The lower the latency, the faster the device can transmit packets to its final destination.  Also important within this ‘need for speed’ is avoiding packet loss. The magic is in within the balancing act: speed and accuracy that challenge our understanding of traditional physics.

Cisco’s latest entrant to the world of high speed trading brings us the Nexus 3548.  A slim 48 port line rate switch with latency as low as 190 nanoseconds. It includes a Warp switch port analyzer (SPAN) feature that facilitates the efficient delivery of stock market data to financial trading servers in as littles as 50 nanoseconds and multiple other tweaks we uncover in this 1 hour deep dive into the fastest switch on the market. The first new member of the 2nd generation Nexus 3000 family.   (We featured the first generation Nexus 3000 series in April 2011)

This is a great show – it moves fast!

Segment Outline:

  •  – Robb & Jimmy Ray with Keys to the Show
  •  – Berna Devrim introduces us to Cisco Algo Boost and the Nexus 3548
  •  – Will Ochandarena gives us a hardware show and tell
  •  – Jacob Rapp walks us through a few live simulations
  •  – Chih-Tsung, ASIC designer walks us through the custom silicon

 

Further Reading:

Nexus 3548 Press Release

 

Cisco Blogs

Jacob Rapp:  Benchmarking at Ultra-Low Latency

Gabriel Dixon: The Algo Boost Series

Dave Malik: Cisco Innovation provides Competitive Advantage

 

 

 

 

 

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Cisco Domain Ten: Domain 1: Facilities and Infrastructure

Yesterday I introduced you to the Cisco Domain TenSM, Cisco Services’ framework for simplifying data center transformation.  This model is applicable to both business  (enterprise), public sector (e.g. government, federal) and service provider (incl telco) organizations.

Today I will summarize some key challenges that you should consider when planning a transition to cloud (as one example of data center transformation), for Domain #1 – Facilities and Infrastructure.

Cisco Domain Ten – Simplifying Data Center Transformation

 

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Introducing Cisco Domain Ten(SM) – Cisco Services’ Blueprint for Simplifying Data Center and Cloud Transformation

This week at the Gartner Data  Center Conference in Las Vegas, Cisco Services is unveiling Cisco Domain Ten(SM) – Cisco’s Framework for Simplifying Data Center and Cloud Transformation.

Cisco Domain Ten can be applied to a diverse range of data center projects – from cloud and desktop virtualization to application migration and is equally applicable whether your data center is in enterprise businesses, public sector organizations or service providers.  The video here describes how we apply the Cisco Domain Ten to the private cloud use case, as one example.  We’ll discuss additional use cases in future blogs and associated collateral that I’ll point you to.

Born from our extensive experience over the past years in helping customers transform their data centers, based upon the many cloud deployments – private and public, enterprise, public sector and service provider – that we’ve enabled over the past few years, we’ve formulated this comprehensive framework to help you transform your data center and guide new initiatives including cloud, virtual desktop, application migration, and data center consolidation.  The Cisco Domain Ten framework covers ten key areas – domains – that – based upon our experience – are critical to consider, plan for and address as part of your data center and cloud transformational journey, and is illustrated in the diagram below.  Relating this framework to other key components of Cisco’s data center strategy, you can  think of the Cisco Unified Data Center as the what of the data center, whereas Cisco Domain Ten complements this by guiding you on the how (to transform).

Cisco Domain Ten - Simplifying Data Center Transformation

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Hadoop in the Enterprise Data Center

A little over a month ago we had a chance to present as session in conjunction with Eric Sammer of Cloudera on Designing Hadoop for the Enterprise Data Center and findings at Strata + Hadoop World 2012 .

Taking a look back, we started this initiative back in early 2011 as the demand for Hadoop was on the rise and we began to notice a lot of confusion from our customers on what Hadoop would mean to their Data Center Infrastructure. This lead us to our first presentation at Hadoop World 2011 where we shared an extensive testing effort with the goal of characterizing what happens when you run a Hadoop Map/Reduce job. Further, we illustrated how different network and compute considerations would change these characteristics. As Hadoop deployment gained tracking in enterprise, we found a need of developing network reference architecture for Hadoop. This lead us to another round of testing concluded earlier this year and presented at Hadoop Summit, which examined what happened when looking at design considerations such as architectures, availability, capacity, scale and management.

Finally this brings us to last month and our presentation at Strata + Hadoop World 2012. We met with Cloudera in the months leading up to the event and discussed what we could share to the Hadoop community. We discussed all the previous rounds of testing and came to the conclusion that along with a combination of customer experiences and another round of testing that examined Multi-tenant environments we could put together a talk that really addressed the fundamental design considerations of Hadoop in the Enterprise Data Center.

Designing Hadoop for the Enterprise Data Center from Cisco Data Center

We went into depth to examine the network traffic considerations with Hadoop in the Data Center to
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Cisco at Garner DC Las Vegas : A pragmatic view and approach of the evolution of the data center in the era of clouds and network programmability.

As expected a lot of talks, sessions and interest this year about the reality of the  cloud deployment and hybrid cloud  at Gartner DC Las Vegas.

Cisco is now perceived as a very credible player in cloud – In fact a quick electronic poll  from the audience during one of  the key notes speechs ranked Cisco as the number 2 amongst the vendors.

As a proof point of Cisco influence in the cloud computing evolution, both David Yen , Cisco SVP & GM Data Center Group, and John Manville Cisco SVP , Global Infrastructure for IT, presented Cisco vision and achievement in terms of infrastructure and foundation for cloud  : Network programmability , and convergence infrastructure are at the core of the efforts driven by these Cisco executives and solution teams to deliver robust infrastructures for both our customers and Cisco IT organization.

If you are interested to know more about these sessions, stay tuned. I will post in the following days on this same blog the  slide decks from David and John ,as well as two short and very  interesting videos that I did these days:
-One one hand a short dialog between Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Marketing Data Center and Cloud,  and David Yen.


-On the other hand a summary of the presentation by John Manville (see introduction blog from Omar Sultan Living with the Programmable Cloud)

Along the same lines , I also invited a panel of bloggers and tweeps , who attend Gartner DC  to share with us their reaction to these presentations and  their view on the current challenges faced by the IT organizations.

In this video you will hear from Presidio Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude), VCE Jeramiah Doodley (@jdooley_clt)  , Cisco Jason Schroedl (@Jschroedl)  and Todd Brannon (@tobranno) .

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