Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Patrick Hubbard, Elizabeth White, Sven Olav Lund, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Blog Post

The Silence of The Lambdas

Many different applications have different conversation needs

We still see quite a few eyebrows raised when we explain how we use WDM optics in our datacenter solution. In the various descriptions of the Plexxi solution it is often mentioned and referred to, but it is worth explaining what that optical infrastructure actually looks like and why it is part of our solution.

the_silence_of_the_lambs-300x160One of the key attributes of the Plexxi solution is the ability to create network topologies at L1, L2 and L3 that meet the need of the workload offered, calculated based on the load on the network, and the Affinities created that describe the needs of specific application relationships. As an Ethernet network, changing how traffic flows at L2 and L3 is fairly straightforward. Packet based networks make forwarding decisions on a packet by packet basis, and the lookup tables for each can be fully programmed by the switch control software. 10s to 100s of thousands entries each, packets can be send into different directions based on the direction of the software: L2 and L3 distributed routing protocols like OSPF, ISIS and BGP for legacy networks, forwarding topologies calculated by a controller for a Plexxi network.

Many different applications have different conversation needs. A network with many different ways to get from one switch to any other switch gives a controller a greater ability to differentiate between conversations and direct traffic onto those paths. Each path has its own characteristics based on its physical connectivity (a direct path has a lower latency than an indirect path), but these characteristics change each time the controller decides to put traffic onto that path.

Recognizing that path diversity if fundamental to our ability to match traffic to the paths available, creating a network that provides many more paths than a legacy network is key. First, we do not use shortest path protocols to determine where to send traffic because they will always pick a single best path, or several equal cost paths. Our controller has the ability to pick arbitrary paths for L2 and L3, based on the result of the calculation. But to create that path diversity in the first place is where our optical capabilities really come into play. You can manually construct that physical path diversity but that would require many different cables from any switch to many other switches. Messy to say the least, really hard to track and debug.

That created the first component of the Plexxi optical solution. Using WDM allows us to run many different L1 signals across very few cables. Multiple 10GbE signals are muxed together onto few fibers with cables that simply extend between a switch and two immediate neighbors. In each switch, some of the WDM signals that arrive on this LightRail cable are terminated and attached to 10GbE ports on the Ethernet switching ASIC, others are passed through the switch passively onto the next switch. That next switch receives signals terminates some waves from this passed through set of waves in addition to the ones it terminates from its direct neighbor, and passes on a set of waves passively to the next switch. Repeating this termination and passive passthrough creates a meshed network where each switch has multiple 10GbE WDM signals that connect it to five switches to the logical East and and five switches to the logical West. With our first generation switches, this means that each switch has direct L1 connectivity with multiple 10GbE connections to 10 other switches using only 2 cables. Our second generation switch doubles that to connections to 20 switches, each with multiple 10GbE signals.

While it may not seem like a lot at first, this easily turns into 100s of diverse paths between even two neighboring switches, 1000s of paths between switches on larger networks. More paths means more abilities to differentiate based on the use of the network and the need of the applications. However, that is not the full extend of the optical capabilities in our switches. Previously I described that each switch takes a set of the 10GbE signals and terminates them onto the Ethernet switching ASIC. An extra piece of optical technology allows us to change where those signals are going, and provides the ability to not terminate the signal, but pass it along to another switch, or even to an access side port in our second generation switch. This gives us the ability to actively change the way the switches are connected together, change the L1 topology. There are several applications for this: the ability to take switch to switch connections and run them across long reach optics plugged into the access ports, or to create modified connectivity between switches to provide better topologies for the offered traffic and defined Affinities.

The use of optical multiplexing and redirection are key components in the Plexxi solution that provide the Controller with path diversity and flexibility. Not having to rely on a statically created and heavily cabled datacenter infrastructure is an important part of our belief that programmatic control of the L1, L2 and L3 topologies is what the new datacenter needs. The optical components in our hardware enable those abilities. And those waves quietly do their work. Our lasers are not safe for the eye, but you are welcome to listen to their silence as much as you want…

[Today's fun facts: The movie "The Silence of the Lambs" was only the third movie to win an Academy Award in all 5 major categories. It was released Valentine's Day 1991 because director Jonathan Demme thought it was a great date movie.]

For more information on this topic, check out the following posts:

The post The Silence of The Lambdas appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

@CloudExpo Stories
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The session is centered around the tracing of systems on cloud using technologies like ebpf. The goal is to talk about what this technology is all about and what purpose it serves. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Shashank Jain, Development Architect at SAP, will touch upon concepts of observability in the cloud and also some of the challenges we have. Generally most cloud-based monitoring tools capture details at a very granular level. To troubleshoot problems this might not be good enough.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Transforming cloud-based data into a reportable format can be a very expensive, time-intensive and complex operation. As a SaaS platform with more than 30 million global users, Cornerstone OnDemand’s challenge was to create a scalable solution that would improve the time it took customers to access their user data. Our Real-Time Data Warehouse (RTDW) process vastly reduced data time-to-availability from 24 hours to just 10 minutes. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Mark Goldin, Chief Technolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
In the fast-paced advances and popularity in cloud technology, one of the most critical factors revolves around concerns for security of your critical data. How to assure both your company and your customers they can confidently trust and utilize your cloud environment is most often top on the list. There is a method to evaluating and providing security that exceeds conventional modes of protecting data both within the cloud as well externally on mobile and other devices. With the public failure...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intellige...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.