Slight Changes…

August 5, 2008 - 0 Comments

I wanted to append and slightly change my aforementioned theory on server disaggregation and network evolution. Previously it was basically something like this….”Whenever a network transport is faster than a server bus speed the peripheral connecting to that bus will go from a parallel connection to a serial one to a shared/packetized one.Printers, Hard Drives, CPU-CPU Interconnect, and potentially even memory will follow this theorem. Thus over time all of the elements necessary to process an IT workload will be not only interconnected by a common fabric, but more importantly connected with a layer of abstraction that will make any resource available to any workload at any time. “Now it still seems to be holding true (even 3-4 years after I made my first slide trying to explain this trend) but I realized in conversation with some sage reporters today that there is another axis to the graph. Network speed and capability increase. The faster and more capable the network the more disaggregated the server becomes. The faster and more capable a network is the more the network consolidates other network types. I need to sit down with a decent Cabernet and mull over if there is an end-state that is achieved. But if I had a data center that looked like a rack of CPU, a rack of memory, a rack of storage, a common network linking these physical assets and a network-enabled hypervisor running on top of this infrastructure providing a layer of abstraction between the physical elements and the operating system(s) this would be interesting. The faster I can reallocate resources against workload the less aggregate resources I need to support an increasingly sporadic workload profile. Also- couple with this witty comment #2 – “The value of virtualization is compounded by the number of resources consolidated into the virtualized data center” and we have a scenario that drives branch consolidation, virtual desktop infrastructure, and other forms of resource consolidation into the data center.Now there are still some networking firms out there that are chasing a speeds/feeds game. Some that have not recognized the value of innovation. Some that still go for the largest routing table, CAM table, buffer pool, millions of packets per second measurement, or Gbps backplane speed comparison. Some hire third parties that were strong advocates of Gigabit Token Ring to champion their product marketing efforts and contrive tests to show how fast/great/cool/neat/geewhiz/wow/smart they are. Some wrap their products in a green flag and parade them through these ‘testing houses’ and declare victory. Some simply exist. Well my friends, the data center is a rapidly evolving part of the network. One that demands focus, innovation, and efficiency- not just existence. So to commemorate a great author who sadly passed away today-“Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you - you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside.”

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