Why are Baidu, Tencent, Medallia, Sys11 and others using Mellanox Spectrum?

 
100Gbe, 50Gbe, Ethernet, Spectrum, Switches, , ,

In 2016, we saw a significant shift in our business. We started seeing our Ethernet switches being deployed in some of the largest data centers of the world. I’d like to share with you some of those that I can talk about.

Here at Mellanox, we have seen a lot of traction lately in the areas of Analytics and, “Something” As a Service, which people typically refer to as cloud.

Data Analytics

Baidu, Tencent, and many others have started investing in 25/100GbE infrastructure for their Analytics and Machine learning deployments. After doing their homework, running many in-depth performance benchmarks, they identified our Mellanox NIC as the key to run these performance hungry workloads simply due to the fact that RoCE provides significant application performance benefits. Earlier this year, Tencent participated in the TeraSort Benchmark’s Annual Global Computing Competition. They utilized the Mellanox Ethernet NIC + Switch solution as key component which enabled them to achieve amazing improvements over last year’s benchmarks:

Baidu experienced similar benefits when they adopted our Ethernet technology. When asking why they chose Mellanox they told us they view the Mellanox solution as the most efficient platform on the market for their applications.

When iFLYTEK from China decided they needed 25GbE server connectivity, they chose the Mellanox Spectrum SN2410 for their ToR running 25GbE to the server; with 100GbE uplinks to the Spectrum SN2700. They told us our solution enabled them to leverage the scalability of our Ethernet solutions and thereby grow their compute and storage needs in the most efficient manner.

These organizations have seen the value of a tested validated high performing End-to-End 100GbE Mellanox solution, and even more importantly, they have done the math and every single one of them came up with the same clear and inevitable conclusion.

Cloud – Anything as a Service

So, let’s talk about Cloud, and review why people choose Mellanox Spectrum to run their businesses.

I’d start that all these solutions labeled, “As a Service” which are typically driven by efficiency and ROI. This means that when people build these solutions they typically, “Do the Math” as the entire business model is based on cost efficiency, taking into account OpEx and CapEx.

Sys11 is one of the largest clouds in Germany and they needed a fully automated and very efficient cloud infrastructure.

Harald Wagener, Sys11 CTO, told us that they chose Mellanox switches because it allowed them to fully automate their state-of-the-art Cloud data center. He said they also enjoyed the cost effectiveness of our solution which allowed Sys11 to leverage the industry’s best bandwidth with the flexibility of the OpenStack open architecture.

Sys11 was one of our first deployments with Cumulus, but instead of using the more standard Quagga routing stack, they decided to use Bird. Initially, we were a little concerned because that is not what everyone else does, but then we tested it, ran some 35K routes and it worked like a charm. We used SN2410 at 25GbE as the ToR and the SN2700 running 100GbE as the spine switch.

One of the most interesting deployments recently has been with Medallia, a great example of a SAAS company which is growing fast and needed a fully automated solution that could effectively drive its various data center needs, such as high speed CEPH (50GbE), short-live containers and scale. They wanted IP mobility without the hassle of tunnels, which they got by adopting a fully routed network, all the way to the server.

Medallia deployed a Spectrum-Cumulus solution, running 50GbEè 100GbE to replace their all 40GbE network.  With their all-40GbE network, they needed 2 ToR switches and 1 spine switch per server rack. When they moved to 50/100GbE, they reduced the number of switches needed per rack by a whopping 50 percent.

What’s really cool about Medallia is that they are so open minded and while looking for the right solution, they made their vendor decision right after they chose Cumulus Linux. It was only then that they chose the vendor who provided the best ROI, another great example of people who, “did the math” and didn’t follow incumbent vendors who typically focus on confusing the customers with what they can do, making sure customer will not, “do the math”. So, what’s next?

Here’s my view of what’s coming in 2017:

The first change will impact latency sensitive High Frequency Trading environments. Around the world, 10G server connections are being replaced with 25&50GbE because 10G can bottleneck the performance of the fast new servers (Intel Skylake) with their high bandwidth flash-based (NVMe) storage. And with HFT, the bandwidth for market data increases every year – the OPRA options feed from NYSE recently crossed the 12Gbps barrier.

There currently exists a gap in the HFT switch market because the low latency switches from Cisco and Arista are capped at 10GbE and there is no silicon available for them to make new low latency switches. Their over-10GbE switches have average latencies that are ten times higher than their 10G switches which make them irrelevant for trading.

Mellanox has the solution for the HFT market; we built a super low latency switch for these 25/50/100G connections speeds and it has 10-20 times lower latency than Cisco and Arista’s new (25-100GbE) switches. We have also added a suite of new features important to HFTs: PIM, hardware based telemetry on packet rates, buffer usage and congestion alerts, we also have fine-tuned buffer controls, and slow receiver multicast protection.

So, we expect another busy and successful year, making sure organizations are not bottlenecked by their networks and most importantly – we all do the math!!!

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