Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner. It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once. Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys. For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.
So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…
It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.
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!
- 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
Is your network ready to help you transform and be the strategic partner that you can be? Let’s face it… Today’s data centers are challenged with siloed resources and facilities… Limited scalability… Poor resource utilization… Growing complexity…Perhaps the biggest challenge is time. When 80% of your resources are dedicated to “keeping the lights on” and managing all what you have, there is very little time left for innovation that benefits the business.
And the reality is that the role of IT has to change – from a cost center to a business strategic partner! Why? Because there are increasing demands on IT to help your business differentiate in order to survive and grow in these rough economic conditions. And let’s not forget that the increasing cost pressures, technology changes, and the advent of game-changers like cloud are forcing IT executives to look at how to deliver IT differently.
These growing demands put even more pressure on the shoulders of IT especially given the current state of your Data Centers. The data center network sits at the core of IT and is key to how IT can deliver services and provide value back to the business.
The Cisco Validated Design for VSPEX on VMware Architectures (V250) has been published!
This is a NEW document, and third in the series of CVD’s, for VSPEX and the first centered on the UCS B series server. The CVD provides the end-to-end solution with VMware vSphere 5.0 for 250 Virtual Machines. Here is a high level picture of the architecture.
The Cisco EMC VSPEX solution is based upon the best-of-breed technologies including Cisco UCS B series, Cisco Nexus 5548, and EMC VNX 5500 storage.
As Kevin Sullivan points out in his recent blog, partnerships are an important strategic approach to today’s R&D and innovation. Kevin recommends strategies that industry-winning manufacturers can follow.
Investments in innovation are exciting. They inspire creativity and they fuel our economy.
What an afternoon of innovation looks like at Cisco
I was thrilled to discover that an institute for manufacturing innovation was recently launched in Youngstown, Ohio. This effort embodies a publicly and privately-funded partnership aimed at fueling R&D and innovation. Along with the U.S. federal government, a consortium of impressive manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges and non-profit organizations formed a partnership called the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). They contributed a combined $70M to the Youngstown manufacturing innovation effort.
Motivated resources from a variety of academic, manufacturing and business backgrounds will come together to advance technology and manufacturing. And what will this Youngstown institute focus on first? Additive manufacturing. What is additive manufacturing? It’s the more formal name for 3D printing. And it’s quite cool.