Written by Greg Nehib, Cisco Senior Product Marketing Manager
Network functions virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) will get a lot of interest this year at BBWF 2014 Broadband World Forum 2014 as carriers seek to make networks more agile and efficient. In talking to both service providers and large enterprises, it’s clear that we are already in another major transition in the networking industry.
I’ve spoken with many talented individuals about what NFV and SDN means to their networks. Some of these visions are very broad and long ranging and some are more narrowly focused on delivering or optimizing a single service very quickly. It’s clear that NFV has already been deployed in many different service applications while SDN has been noticeably slower to develop a focused following. Even in the case of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs), there is an interesting combination of features focused on services delivery and features focused on infrastructure innovation. In this case “services” are typically the services that carriers sell to their end customers such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and “infrastructure” is the virtualization of the typical network functions such as a virtualized route reflector on an x86 based server instead of running the route reflector application in an existing (physical) router. Read More »
That was the question that an attendee at a recent conference sponsored by the Communications Technology Management, part of University of California’s Marshall School of Business, asked me last week. With all of the industry discussion on the topic over the last year or two on the topic, I think it is always worthwhile to pause, assess, and reflect, as sometimes some of the simplest questions can be some of the hardest.
“Yes,” I told him, “but maybe not how you think.”
No question I’m proud of the advances Cisco has made in this area, from our announcement of the Evolved Services Platform in February to now having over 40 virtualized functions in our portfolio. As far as we can tell, it is the largest, most expansive virtualized portfolio in the industry with so much of it not on a drawing board but already in use in customer network.
This is part 1 of the “Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA)” blog series.
Many IT organizations are challenged to take advantage of the new technologies enabled by Virtualization, Cloud, Analytics and IoT. Applications enabled by these new technologies must be protected from unauthorized use but remain accessible, in a secure manner, from any device in any location throughout the world. With a vast array of new technology choices and a substantial installed infrastructure base, it is important to have a place to start --a solutions architecture-- that provides a framework for using these technologies that will drive business outcomes.
The CSA is a transformational customer-facing blueprint that delivers IT-based services for enterprise and service providers to achieve their business outcomes. To be relevant for our customers, the CSA was developed based on disruptiveexamples that Cisco engineers observed in the industry during their discussions with both enterprise and service provider customers worldwide.
Some of these disruptive examples include use of new technologies such as: Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Cyber security. It should also be stated that the front end for IT blueprint consulting is Cisco Consulting Services, and this CSA is representational of the sets of abstractions that describe the actual functions.
In all IT environments, both enterprise and service providers, Cisco sees two common trends: Read More »
Cisco will Leverage OPNFV Efforts in Evolved Services Platform (ESP) Development
Most people following industry trends are aware of the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Industry Specification Group, which was formed in 2012 and kicked off its first set of specifications in October 2013. These documents are commonly used references in the growing movement to utilize NFV for carrier-grade network services.
Great progress has already been made, and Cisco has delivered many innovative NFV solutions via our Evolved Services Platform. To take it to the next level, and realize the full potential of NFV, customers will now start flexibly combining components from different vendors to enjoy the benefits of open source efforts.
Hence the announcement on Tuesday of Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV), a new open source project focused on accelerating NFV’s evolution through an integrated, open platform. Cisco is a platinum-level founding member of the project, which will focus initially on the NFV infrastructure (NFVI) and infrastructure management (VIM) of the ETSI NFV Reference Architecture.
Source: Publications and Collateral page at opnfv.org.
This is the final part on the High Performance Data Center Design. We will look at how high performance, high availability and flexibility allows customers to scale up or scale out over time without any disruption to the existing infrastructure. MDS 9710 capabilities are field proved with the wide adoption and steep ramp within first year of the introduction. Some of the customer use cases regarding MDS 9710 are detailed here. Furthermore Cisco has not only established itself as a strong player in the SAN space with so many industry’s first innovations like VSAN, IVR, FCoE, Unified Ports that we introduced in last 12 years, but also has the leading market share in SAN.
Before we look at some architecture examples lets start with basic tenants any director class switch should support when it coms to scalability and supporting future customer needs
Design should be flexible to Scale Up (increase performance) or Scale Out (add more port)
The process should not be disruptive to the current installation for cabling, performance impact or downtime
The design principals like oversubscription ratio, latency, throughput predictability (as an example from host edge to core) shouldn’t be compromised at port level and fabric level
Lets take a scale out example, where customer wants to increase 16G ports down the road. For this example I have used a core edge design with 4 Edge MDS 9710 and 2 Core MDS 9710. There are 768 hosts at 8Gbps and 640 hosts running at 16Gbps connected to 4 edge MDS 9710 with total of 16 Tbps connectivity. With 8:1 oversubscription ratio from edge to core design requires 2 Tbps edge to core connectivity. The 2 core systems are connected to edge and targets using 128 target ports running at 16Gbps in each direction. The picture below shows the connectivity.
Down the road data center requires 188 more ports running at 16G. These 188 ports are added to the new edge director (or open slots in the existing directors) which is then connected to the core switches with 24 additional edge to core connections. This is repeated with 24 additional 16G targets ports. The fact that this scale up is not disruptive to existing infrastructure is extremely important. In any of the scale out or scale up cases there is minimal impact, if any, on existing chassis layout, data path, cabling, throughput, latency. As an example if customer doesn’t want to string additional cables between the core and edge directors then they can upgrade to higher speed cards (32G FC or 40G FCoE with BiDi ) and get double the bandwidth on the on the existing cable plant.
Lets look at another example where customer wants to scale up (i.e. increase the performance of the connections). Lets use a edge core edge design for this example. There are 6144 hosts running at 8Gbps distributed over 10 edge MDS 9710s resulting in a total of 49 Tbps edge bandwidth. Lets assume that this data center is using a oversubscription ratio of 16:1 from edge into the core. To satisfy that requirement administrator designed DC with 2 core switches 192 ports each running at 3Tbps. Lets assume at initial design customer connected 768 Storage Ports running at 8G.
Few years down the road customer may wants to add additional 6,144 8G ports and keep the same oversubscription ratios. This has to be implemented in non disruptive manner, without any performance degradation on the existing infrastructure (either in throughput or in latency) and without any constraints regarding protocol, optics and connectivity. In this scenario the host edge connectivity doubles and the edge to core bandwidth increases to 98G. Data Center admin have multiple options for addressing the increase core bandwidth to 6 Tbps. Data Center admin can choose to add more 16G ports (192 more ports to be precise) or preserve the cabling and use 32G connectivity for host edge to core and core to target edge connectivity on the same chassis. Data Center admin can as easily use the 40G FCoE at that time to meet the bandwidth needs in the core of the network without any forklift.
Or on the other hand customer may wants to upgrade to 16G connectivity on hosts and follow the same oversubscription ratios. . For 16G connectivity the host edge bandwidth increases to 98G and data center administrator has the same flexibility regarding protocol, cabling and speeds.
For either option the disruption is minimal. In real life there will be mix of requirements on the same fabric some scale out and some scale up. In those circumstances data center admins have the same flexibility and options. With chassis life of more than a decade it allows customers to upgrade to higher speeds when they need to without disruption and with maximum flexibility. The figure below shows how easily customers can Scale UP or Scale Out.
As these examples show Cisco MDS solution provides ability for customers to Scale Up or Scale out in flexible, non disruptive way.
“Good design doesn’t date. Bad design does.” Paul Rand