Overlay Networking & VXLAN Means MPLS in the Data Centre is Dead

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Overlay networking has been around for a year or so now and the ideas behind it are well established. It was about 3/4 weeks ago while researching VTEP functionality in Dell and Arista switches that I realised I could build manually configured tunnels with VXLAN and get the same results as an EoMPLS x-connect with almost zero effort. More importantly, I don’t have to pay for expensive hardware that has MPLS functions or pay again for software licenses to upgrade with MPLS features.

Cloud Ethernet Forum – Because Ethernet needs to look like Frame Relay

Where do you want Ethernet ? Everywhere apparently.

I’m at a conference about “Cloud Ethernet Forum” and subsidiary operation of the Metro Ethernet Forum that seems to want to invent a new Ethernet. The fundamental premise of the is that customers need/want/demand/must have more Ethernet in the WAN.

Why ? Because Ethernet is better for data centre managers.

◎ Tech Notes: Arista AgilePorts – Building 40Gigabit DCI with 10GbE ports

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Stumbled over “AgilePorts” feature in Arista products this week: Arista’s AgilePorts technology enables the combination of four 10GbE SFP+ interfaces into a single 40GbE interface leveraging the parallel lane technology present in the 40GBASE-CR4 and 40GBASE-SR4standards. With AgilePorts, each 10GbE interface emulates one of the four parallel lanes, which are then driven by a 40GbE […]

SDN White Paper Nuage Networks VSP – Delivers SDN in a Big Way

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I wrote a white paper for Nuage Networks that is the first Packet Pushers White Paper. Nuage Networks have announced their version of SDN and I think it’s solid vision of what Software Defined Networking will become over the next couple of years – tunnel fabrics, software network agents in the server with load balancing and routing capabilities and controller/application software that can manage multiple data centres and their WAN networks.

Jump in and take a read.

OpenCompute Servers and the Impact on Networking

i’ve writer about OpenCompute hardware standards a few times. Today has seen a few announcements that make me think networking could be about to change significantly. In this post on Gigaom, Rackspace is planning to build their own servers based on OpenCompute standard: Rackspace is contracting with Wistron and Quanta, two server manufacturers that also […]

◎ What’s Happening Inside an Ethernet Switch ? ( Or Network Switches for Virtualization People )

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I was going to call this article “Ethernet Switches for Virtualisation Engineers” but, really, everyone should have some understanding of the internals of an Ethernet switch. But particularly I want to focus on how multicast and broadcasts are handled in a high speed, low latency environment like a Data Centre Network.

It’s vital to understand that latency is critical to your application performance. It is common for a single transaction to take hundreds of round trips so a small increase in latency on each round trip has a large impact on the perceived performance. The client will send a chunk of data and wait for acknowledgement. Even setting up the TCP connection takes a few round trip – remember that TCP sessions are setup, and each data transfer is confirmed.

A modern network switch will have latency around 10 microseconds. The Cisco Nexus 7000 is about 8 microseconds & Brocade VDX 8770 claims less than 4 microseconds. There are many reasons why a switch can be faster or slower but I’ll look at a specific example

Remember, the latency interval is the time taken to receive a packet, decode the address, lookup the forwarding table, switch the packet (and copy it if needed) and transmit out of an Ethernet interface. That’s really fast processing. How does an Ethernet switch do this ?

Screencast: Knowledge Management in Technology – Part 3

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Network Engineers have to manage a lot of information. Products, technologies, textbooks, study notes and research material as well as new protocols and features. Just simple tasks like keeping product manuals handy for 40 or 50 products is a real problem. How do you keep the information organised, referenced, accessible and useful ? Your employer […]

Screencast: Knowledge Management in Technology – Part 2

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Network Engineers have to manage a lot of information. Products, technologies, textbooks, study notes and research material as well as new protocols and features. Just simple tasks like keeping product manuals handy for 40 or 50 products is a real problem. How do you keep the information organised, referenced, accessible and useful ? Your employer […]

Screencast: Knowledge Management in Technology – Part 1

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Network Engineers have to manage a lot of information. Products, technologies, textbooks, study notes and research material as well as new protocols and features. Just simple tasks like keeping product manuals handy for 40 or 50 products is a real problem. How do you keep the information organised, referenced, accessible and useful ?

This three part screencast is about how I manage all the “inputs” so I don’t feel lost in information after many, many people asked.