All posts by Elad Wind

About Elad Wind

Elad Wind is currently Director of Technical Marketing and is a founding member of the Mellanox Singapore office where he promotes the adoption of Mellanox Ethernet Switching in Asia Pacific. Since 2010, Elad has served in various technical roles at Mellanox. Elad holds an MBA from Tel-Aviv University and ESSEC Business School Paris, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel.

Autonomous Networking For Real

Self-Driving Data Center

by Phil Clegg (Nutanix) and Elad Wind (Mellanox)

Nutanix is designed from the ground up to simplify datacenter deployment and management.

Business applications are deployed in enterprise clouds in minutes. This simple to use and intuitive interface allows users to easily create, modify and delete virtual workloads in a cloud- like fashion. The Nutanix PRISM interface is a HTML5 page and / or set of APIs that are already secured and locked down to a production-ready standard.

NEO – You don’t have to be a network guru to build infrastructure

In keeping with this trend, Mellanox partnered with Nutanix to provide network APIs that allow the Mellanox NEO Management and Monitoring Tool to fully understand the virtual networking and run autonomous processes for network configurations.

4 hours a day reduced to just a few minutes a week

Consider the example of a New Zealand-based service provider who wanted a secured platform to deliver network function virtualization. Here, the firewall VMs are spun up via a portal that creates a VM, provides its configuration and assigns it to a customer’s VLAN.

The NEO plugin listens to Nutanix events and reacts so that VLANs are provisioned and terminated transparently.

Prior to this automation, VLAN’s were manually configured via an e-mail request triggered by the orchestration engine. These VLAN requests had a three day SLA and often took in excess of six days to provision and resolve any issues.

Simply by moving to Mellanox switches, and enabling the Mellanox NEO plugin, has changed this process; VLANs are automatically created, recorded and deployed at both the virtual and physical layer, removing risk of misconfiguration, and removing the hours employees worked to do this at the top of rack infrastructure.

Because everything is logged, it is easy to track the compliance needs of VLAN creation as well as the movement of VLAN settings as VM’s move around the Nutanix cluster.

This is estimated to reduce the effort of provisioning VLAN’s from 4 hours per day to less than 1 hour per week and removing over 90 percent of the rework associated with manual VLAN creation.

NEO and Prism Dashboard

PRISM is a HTML5 interface with no flash or JAVA plugins that is used to administer a Nutanix cluster. This intuitive interface allows users to analyze and alert as well as create, modify and delete all facets of virtualization including virtual machines, CPU, RAM, storage, networking, snapshots, replication and self-service portals.

The networking portion of Nutanix is not only virtual switch and VM-based, but also integrates into switch hardware like Mellanox and can provide hardware based networking stats within the PRISM interface
Similarly, add another window for NEO for insights on what’s running inside the fabric, simplify application development and accelerate application delivery

About Nutanix One-Click Infrastructure

Hypervisor and VM management provide a consumer-grade experience. Nutanix Prism gives administrators an easy way to manage virtual environments running on Acropolis. It simplifies and streamlines common workflows for hypervisor and virtual machine (VM) management; from VM creation and migration to virtual network setup and hypervisor upgrades. Rather than replicating the full set of features found in other virtualization solutions, virtualization management in Prism has been designed for an uncluttered, consumer-grade experience.

About Mellanox Ethernet Switches

Mellanox’s Spectrum switch technology offer data centers unparalleled performance that let providers and customers focus only on their applications – Mellanox networks scale easily, offer consistently lowest latency, run at full wire speed at all packet sizes with zero packet loss and have up to 15X better microburst resiliency

Supporting Resources:

The New Mellanox/Cumulus SN2100: A Revolutionary Approach to Top-of-Rack Switching

Does your Data Center / Cloud run racks with 40 or more servers? Then you are probably paying more than you should for your network, and you are probably consuming too much real estate and power. With Mellanox’s SN2100 Top of Rack (ToR) switch you can change all that.

Web-scaled companies have created major shifts in data centers by migrating to modular solutions that are comprised of flexible, dense and economical building blocks. The latest addition to Mellanox’s Spectrum family is part of this wave with an amazing half-wide size switch carrying sixteen (16) QSFP28 ports of 10/25/40/50/100GbE.

For this collection of storage and cloud example environments, the SN2100 ToR, sets new standards for increased flexibility, efficiency and price performance. Price suggestions are taken off public listings for the customer to draw conclusions and drive the discussion.

Example 1: Popular 48+4 ports ToR configuration: SN2100 ToR, with split ports, spares thousands of dollars per rack in comparison to leading solution providers.

Why use port splits? SN2100 ports split into quad SFP28 ports with Mellanox LinkX® breakout cables. This configuration is connected up to 48 nodes, running at 10G/25G speeds, while having four (4) uplink ports of 40G/100G. Splitting ports means you bring Web Scale innovation and savings into your design as already adopted by hyperscalers with: 1) simpler cable administration 2) clear and tidy rack 3) 25 percent savings on cables.

Each breakout cable replaces four 10G DAC cables and saves $50. Total cable savings for a common highly available rack of 40+ node is more than $1,000. DAC breakout is commonplace in the data center with MTBFs reaching higher than 2,000 years so customers will never need to replace them again.

fig 1 SN2100Example 2: Storage / SDS / hyperconverged systems: Smaller compute and storage applications typically fill 3-4 rack units (RU). A half-wide SN2100 switch means it is uniquely packed so two adjacent switches mLAG’d (logically link aggregated) will fit in just one additional RU for the best IOPS/RU ratio and maximum Gbps/dollar performance.

A compact network can only occupy a fraction of the prevailing 48+4 ports switch. Why pay 3x for ports you don’t need? Why pay for fancy L3 licenses when state-of-the-art L2+L3 MLNX_OS caters for all your network needs? Conclusion: Two SN2100 switches mLAG’d will address an entire whole storage solution, no throwing away ports and rack space, and saving $30,000 on networking gear per appliance.

Example 3: Leaf and spine with 100G aggregation layer: The SN2100 ToR leverages 100G bandwidth in the aggregation layer to save money over prevailing 40G networks. Do the math as 100G means pipes are running 2.5x faster vs 40G. Fast pipes translate into fewer optical cables towards the spine, fewer spines and less rack space used overall. Fig 2 SN2100

A fast and reduced network efficiently saves thousands of dollars per rack in gear, and saves again in operative cost. The math is compelling for small 10G networks as much as it is for scaled spine and leaf architecture.

Other integrations ideas for the SN2100 are deployments outside the traditional confinements of brick and mortar buildings such as field or mobile data center operations.

Mellanox’s SN2100 Open Ethernet switch comes with two pre-configured ONIE-based Network Operating System (NOS) options: Cumulus Linux and MLNX-OS. Open-source standards and cloud management platforms help organizations to reduce vendor lock-in and are a viable option for software-defined data centers. Speed can be limited to 40G for an even better price.

Register now for the webinar on June 28 to do the math with the new breed of ToR that can efficiently cover your network flexibility and efficiency while reducing costs for your needs.