|By Bill Koss||
|April 21, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
[This post is penned by Plexxi executive Bill Koss]
Two months ago I read an interesting blog post by Greg Ferro titled “Cheap Network Equipment Makes a Better Data Centre.” At Plexxi, I am the person who leads our sales team and I found the post interesting because I think there is a lot of disinformation in the market regarding the cost of procuring networks. Every week it seems I read a report or article on networking margins, port prices, market share, SDN, bare metal, leaf/spine, open source, linux, etc. When I speak to customers, there is an equal amount of confusion and in my view it perpetuates the current state in favor of the incumbents.
As a level set, when a potential client asks: what does Plexxi do? I tell them we build ethernet switches based on merchant silicon; we use Linux for an operating system, we use a photonic inter-connect fabric and distributed controller architecture. Our switches speak ethernet and IP, just like all ethernet switches, but it is the controller and photonic fabric that make our switches different. Together we believe that our technology results in a system that has transformative scale, performance, and efficiency advantages compared to legacy network architectures.
Recently we provided a proposal to a potential client regarding their network. As with Greg Ferro’s project, we provided an all in proposal that included cables, software, transceivers, switches, controllers, accessories, support costs and the fabric interconnect ports. There were two design options based around the size of the interconnect fabric, which most people refer to as the spine or core. I have condensed some of the details for reading ease, but I think this is a transparent description of the proposal regarding (i) the costs of building a Plexxi network and (ii) how it is different with the choice of two different fabric options, much like the blog post from Greg. Here is the summary table of the network design options:
|# 10G Client Ports||$ Per 10G Client Port||Fabric Size||
|Total 1 Year Cost|
In a Plexxi network, we use a controller architecture. Our controller computes efficient photonic forwarding topologies. This type of architecture, often referred to as SDN, provides a number of benefits, but it begins with a fluid pool of capacity within the fabric. The capacity in our photonic fabric can be allocated, reassigned and reconfigured. Without providing a long technical description of how our controller operates, an important concept to understand is we use 100% of the fabric and we do not implement spanning tree or block links. We compute forwarding topologies using multi-flow commodity, graph theory math; that is one of the jobs of Plexxi Control. A Plexxi fabric can be used inside your data center and the use of a photonic fabric means the fabric can be extended to campus and metro area designs. Here are a few points regarding our controller and fabric architecture:
- The photonic fabric is managed as pool of capacity
- Applications and workloads that are important can be assigned fabric capacity
- Capacities can change, evolve and forwarding topologies can be diurnal
- Controller based fabrics are deterministic as opposed to distributed state fabrics that take time to compute state, which may or may not result in an optimal design.
- Controller based fabrics can centrally compute optimal paths and provide fast convergence by pre-computing failure recovery states
The use of a controller with a photonic fabric provides a number of scaling benefits. The most obvious benefit is the linear cost curves in terms of price per client port. The following chart shows the 10G client port cost in scaling from 400 to 3400 ports.
The linearity of the Plexxi architecture in terms of client port cost can also be seen in terms of power and cooling. In a Plexxi architecture, the performance of the network benefits when the controller tries to keep packets in the photonic portion of the network as much as possible, thus limiting silicon switch hops and incurring latency. Uniformed latency and uniformed power consumption per client power are benefits of the Plexxi architecture:
A question we often get is whether a Plexxi network requires a greenfield or can it be deployed in a brownfield. The answer is there are no greenfields. Plexxi networks have been deployed in a number of variations. We have had clients deploy Plexxi in the spine, while leaving the legacy ToR and server connections in place. We have had clients deploy Plexxi as a replacement strategy for the their leaf/spine network, thus collapsing a two tier or three tier network to a single tier. We have had clients deploy Plexxi between data centers providing a single hop, load-balanced fabric between data centers. Traditionally, most Plexxi customers connect our switches to legacy routers and switches using 10G or 40G ports. We have a handful of customers who have extended the Plexxi fabric via DWDM connections to legacy optical transport platforms.
Another question I have been asked is whether or not our photonic fabric is proprietary. The way to think about our photonic fabric is to compare it to the fabric modules found in traditional core and spine switches. What we have done at Plexxi is to take the backplane capacity in spine/core switches found in multi-tier networks and distribute that capacity into each switch. When you add port capacity, you add fabric capacity. Five years ago this type of network design was not possible, only with the advent of the modern controller architecture coupled with low cost, multi-path photonic interconnects has it become possible. The design objective of a Plexxi network is to manage the network as a resource pool that can be correlated with the needs of compute and storage. We believe that networking is entering the era of plenty and that networks built with rich amounts of path diversity are building blocks of the new networks. We believe this because that has been direction of compute and storage. Compute and storage have entered the era of plenty and it is time for the network to enter the era of plenty as well. The era of plenty for networking will be built using a controller architecture because a controller architecture combined with photonics, merchant silicon and Linux, is the best means to deliver the following benefits:
- Simplicity: Single tier photonic network
- High Utilization: Load balanced L2 fabric
- Controller Architecture: Unified view of network fabric
- Uniformed Low Latency: Direct connectivity
- Faster Failure Handling: Pre-computed forward topologies that converge rapidly to target optimum
- Elastic Network Capacity: Large-scale computation and path optimization through Controller enables fluidity of network capacity
- Reduced Cabling: Simplified network element deployment and insertion
[Today's fun fact: The average American/Canadian drinks about 600 sodas a year. Of course, the American version is 72 ounces compared to Canada's 12 ounces.]
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jul. 26, 2016 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,995
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 26, 2016 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,546
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,354
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,028
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 303
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Jul. 26, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,931
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,119
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jul. 26, 2016 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,826
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Jul. 26, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,083
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Jul. 26, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,016
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 26, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,038
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,717
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 368
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 928
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
Jul. 26, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 542
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jul. 26, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,999
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 26, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,195
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,022
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,559
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 639