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Adapting Data Center Networks to Support Private Cloud


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September 26, 2012

Adapting Data Center Networks to Support Private Cloud

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

In a recent blog post, “Define the Cloud,” on Network Computing site, founder Joe Onisick presented some interesting thoughts on the need to adapting data center networking to meet the demands of private cloud. In this blog, Onisick argues that traditional networking is static and that Clouds need systems that can scale.

So the blogger searches for some answers in his blog. He explores concepts such as APIs, SDN, OpenFlow, VXLAN and fabrics as solutions for bringing about the change in data center networking.

To highlight the static behavior of today’s networking, Onisick gives Quality of Service (QoS), which provides traffic prioritization for frames on the network, as a good example. In order to implement QoS, frames must be classified, tagged and prioritized. In current implementations, this is done on a switch-by-switch basis and must be maintained consistently across the network in order to provide the desired effect.

This is a cumbersome, error-prone management style that is not conducive to cloud scale. Because cloud services require rapid deployment for new services, the manual network configuration will slow down the process. In fact, wrote Onisick, “The network will need to provide adaptability that matches or exceeds the rest of the infrastructure.”

Additionally, the network must provide the tools for multi-tenancy, allowing disparate services, groups and customers to coexist on the same physical infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the blog shows that switch and router APIs are gaining acceptance as data centers add automation to their facilities. As per the blogger, APIs provide a common set of programmable tools for the underlying functionality of the device. Consequently, it allows for simpler integration into upper-level tools than other methods, argues Onisick.

However, the blog points to some issues regarding APIs. First, they are as good as the upper-layer system utilizing them. And, second, they maintain the single device view of the network. “While they can assist in automation, they do nothing to provide a more holistic view of the network and services running on it,” wrote Onisick. Also, the blog post shows that APIs do not provide additional network visibility or programmability to the applications.

Similarly, Onisick investgates the virtues and drawbacks of VXLAN, SDN, OpenFlow and fabric for network pipes of private cloud. In fact, per Onisick’s blog, the tools discussed are complementary. And, therefore, regardless of the method implemented to enhance data center networking, private cloud will continue to push your network to new limits.

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Edited by Rich Steeves

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