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  • 1. WHITE P APER System Networks Drive the Next Generation of Automated, Dynamic Datacenters Sponsored by: IBM Lucinda Borovick December 2011 EXECUTIVE SUMMARYwww.idc.com Todays competitive business environment is changing the nature of the datacenter, driving the need for more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective approaches than ever before. One way datacenter managers are meeting this need is by adopting cloud- oriented approaches to computing, which in turn is placing greater demand on theF.508.935.4015 system network in terms of speed, flexibility, scalability, cost-efficiency, and support for technologies such as virtualization. The datacenter network is in the midst of an evolution from a fixed, data-centric, client/server topology to an application-driven, dynamic network better suited to theP.508.872.8200 needs of cloud computing and Big Data. By incorporating greater flexibility into the network, datacenters can improve their agility and better respond to business needs and support changing business requirements. This is driving an explosion in high-end networking equipment, and IDC expects that by 2015, 10GbE will represent 61% of datacenter network port shipments.Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA IDC believes that a converged network infrastructure, combining server and storage networks onto a unified 10GbE fabric, is the most appropriate technology path to meet the requirements for todays high-performance datacenter applications. Having server, storage, and network resources working in concert not only brings benefits in terms of agility and scalability but also maximizes capital investments by reducing the need to invest in duplicate hardware. These networking environments should be standards based and best of breed. This enables enterprises to pick and choose the best available and most cost-effective technologies and provides future upgrade paths without locking them into proprietary offerings. IBMs System Networking business and portfolio, recently expanded with the acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies, are designed to address these datacenter needs in a modular, standards-based, and interoperable approach. By combining network intelligence with compute and storage systems resources, IBM is working to deliver a unified fabric networking infrastructure that addresses the needs of todays virtualized, cloud-based infrastructure in a manner that is scalable, cost- effective, and easy to manage and that provides the flexibility to allow businesses to be more innovative and competitive in the market.
  • 2. SITUATION OVERVIEWOne of the most important changes IDC sees today is the trend for datacenters tomigrate to private and public cloud. Cloud computing provides improved flexibility andscalability as well as operating cost advantages to organizations, but supporting cloudenvironments requires a network with the flexibility to support a changing architecturethat is easily managed and open.Customer OpportunitiesPrivate/Public CloudCloud computing has arisen over the past several years as a viable option forenterprise IT organizations looking to reduce costs and increase their operatingefficiency. It includes both public cloud, in which services are provided by a third-partyservice provider, and private cloud, in which a cloud infrastructure is built by anenterprise and used to support in-house operations. In 2010, worldwide public cloudIT services spending exceeded $21.5 billion, and IDC expects this number to reach$72.9 billion by 2015.The emergence of cloud computing is being driven by a variety of factors, includingthe ability to pay via a usage-based model without having to overprovision and theimproved ability to deploy new applications and services to the end user in responseto new business requests. A recent IDC study of IT managers indicated that morethan half expect private cloud to reduce the cost of their server, storage, and networkhardware, while a significant percentage also expect it to help them better match ITcosts to business needs and to improve application performance (see Figure 1).FIGURE 1Expected Private Cloud Benefits Reduced cost of server/storage/network hardware Better match IT costs to business needs Improved application perf ormance Standardization and stability of inf rastructure Signif icant improvement of staf f productivity 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 (% of respondents)Source: IDCs Private Cloud Management Survey, September 20102 #232049 ©2011 IDC
  • 3. Big DataAnother important trend in todays datacenter is what IDC refers to as "Big Data." BigData is more than simply a reference to the large and ever-increasing amount of databeing stored in the datacenter — in 2010, over 16,000 petabytes (PB) were shippedinto the market. The real question is what organizations are doing with this capacity.Under the Big Data paradigm, organizations are constantly updating informationabout their customers, prospects, suppliers, and inventory — and acting on it. Data isno longer simply being stored and forgotten; rather, data of all types is being used tomake proactive business decisions on a daily basis. Supporting this paradigmrequires a fundamental shift in the way data is stored and managed by organizationsand requires powerful real-time data analytics and tools, decision support systemsand dashboards, and automated hooks into the applications that run the business,such as ERP, CRM, and financial systems.Supporting Big Data requires fundamental changes in the compute and storageinfrastructure to provide the necessary resources to make these decisions in realtime. It also requires fundamental changes in the network to support the requiredlevels of throughput, intelligence, and agility.Maximizing the opportunity for real-time analytics requires an organization to have theability to process massive amounts of diverse data and have it move quickly andefficiently throughout the network. Network performance is imperative with bothconsistent ultra-low latency and line rate performance.VirtualizationVirtualization is one of the key strategies that IT teams are pursuing as part ofcorporate efforts to reduce capital costs through aggressive consolidation whileboosting asset utilization, and it is a key building block required for the adoption ofcloud computing. This trend is well under way; in fact, IDC believes that in 2009, forthe first time, more new application instances were deployed on virtual machines(VMs) than on dedicated physical servers. IDC expects that the virtualization trendwill only accelerate and that the majority of all installed server applications will berunning as virtual machines.Customer ChallengesNot Optimized for Cloud/Big DataIn todays datacenters, most individual components are not optimized to worktogether. In most organizations, storage, server, and network resources are containedin separate silos, and these architectures are inefficient and not well suited to supportcloud computing, virtualization, or Big Data. Specific shortcomings in current networkarchitectures include: Too much network hierarchy. Current networks are optimized to support transactional traffic flows (i.e., traffic between servers and end users) and not newer application workflows that require connectivity from server to server. Unfortunately, while this design works well for serving applications and Web©2011 IDC #232049 3
  • 4. pages to end users, it is poorly designed for the connectivity requirements of cloud computing and Big Data. Larger, flatter networks optimized for server-to- server traffic require fewer hops between the servers, which helps reduce latency and increases efficiency. Complexity at the network layer. Many organizations support several different networks for servers and storage, which can introduce complexity and the need to support multiple protocols. These could include LAN (Ethernet), storage area network (Fibre Channel), high-performance computing (InfiniBand), and a management network (Ethernet). Distinct networks include not just separate switching products but also separate cabling, network management, and, very often, staffing. This architecture is necessary due to Ethernets "best effort" nature; however, it is costly and can create duplicative costs within the datacenter and drive up capital and operational costs. One such redundancy is the duplicative cables that connect a single server to the Ethernet LAN and the Fibre Channel SAN. As a result, IDC believes that regardless of the ultimate destination switch, the focus on reducing cost and complexity will manifest as a migration to Ethernet for both networks: 10GbE is now available with lossless protocols well suited for storage traffic (both block and file). Lack of virtualization awareness. While server virtualization has brought greater utilization of compute assets, IDC finds that expectations for more dramatic boosts in operational efficiency often fail to materialize. This is because the shift to virtualized servers often leads to significant disruptions in a number of areas, including the overloading of network infrastructure and the overprovisioning of storage capacity, resulting in a quantum leap in storage administration costs. Further, conventional networks have lacked the virtualization awareness required to ensure that VMs can migrate from server to server, while the unprecedented scale in the number of virtual servers being supported requires a completely new set of management tools and a rethinking of the network architecture to accommodate the required traffic patterns. To create a network architecture that can support these levels of virtualization, the network must recognize virtual machines and not just physical servers and must be flexible enough to provide bandwidth, quality of service (QoS), and security to all virtual machine types without manual intervention. Intelligence needed at the network edge. Today, innovations such as cloud computing and virtualization are happening at the edge of the network, where physical and virtual infrastructures overlap and where storage and servers connect to the datacenter network. Restricting network intelligence to the core is no longer sufficient: With virtual services, intelligence needs to be applied at the edge to treat traffic appropriately. Innovations at the network edge can drive improvements in a variety of areas, including network virtualization, management of virtual machines, and security and network management. Complexity in hypervisor options. Today, datacenter managers have multiple options in hypervisors. While many enterprise customers associate VMware products (VMware Server, VMware ESX, and VMware ESXi) with server virtualization, the reality is that many types of hypervisors are available, including Citrix XenServer; IBM PowerVM; Microsoft Virtual Server, Windows Server 20084 #232049 ©2011 IDC
  • 5. Hyper-V, and Hyper-V Server; Parallels Virtuozzo Containers; KVM; and Xen (open source). To enable IT organizations to choose the virtualization platform that is most appropriate for the workload, the network must be hypervisor agnostic, with the flexibility to provide bandwidth, quality of service, and security to all virtual machine types.Security ChallengesSecurity remains one of the top issues that keep CIOs awake at night. As more datacomes online, an increasing amount of sensitive data, such as customer and supplierinformation, costs and prices, contracts, and sensitive intellectual property, is at risk.Organizations are increasingly taking an end-to-end approach to their informationsecurity and as such are requiring security to be an "embedded" characteristic of theirdatacenter network infrastructure.Managing the Whole EnvironmentAs the amount of IT infrastructure in the datacenter increases and as the ITinfrastructure becomes more complex and siloed, managing it becomes a greaterchallenge. And yet with the importance of the IT infrastructure to the business, havingthe ability to manage it well becomes more important than ever. It is critical to have anend-to-end application view to understand the status of all resources in theinfrastructure and to be able to pinpoint and mitigate all bottlenecks.Rigid Network DesignsAgility, the ability to rapidly provision or reconfigure new or existing IT infrastructureelements, is limited in most enterprise IT infrastructures today. Traditional networkarchitectures have many layers and are very rigid, making it difficult to rapidlyprovision new services. Further, as organizations consolidate their infrastructurethrough virtualization, they are currently forced to treat all application traffic similarly.This has the effect of driving up costs if every workload needs "premium" advanced-level bandwidth and network services — which defeats the purpose of consolidatingand virtualizing in the first place. The reverse scenario is risky, ignoring the uniquesecurity and policy requirements of mission-critical applications. This can drag downthe infrastructure and severely limit the organizations agility. To meet the agilityrequirements and reduce costs, organizations need to maintain the quality of servicefor specific application workloads. Additionally, rigid network designs hinder the abilityto scale quickly. IT organizations need the ability to scale the network in equal costincrements, similar to approaches available in scale-out computing and newerstorage systems. Rigid network designs add additional components and costs to thenetwork as the network scales.©2011 IDC #232049 5
  • 6. NEXT-GENERATION NETWORKING MEETINGFUTURE REQUIREMENTSModular ApproachInstead of provisioning server, storage, and networking in "silos," a better approach isto deploy them in "PODs" or "integrated systems" consisting of optimized systemswith each resource working in concert. This approach not only breaks down the silosof the traditional approach but also allows organizations to scale their IT infrastructurein a balanced manner (so the amount of compute power scales hand in hand with theamount of storage and networking resources required). This improves flexibility andagility, enabling organizations to scale resources up or down as needed.Flatten Network with a Unified FabricApproachIT organizations must enable the enterprise to respond to changing businessdemands quickly and economically, which means the network architecture mustsupport simpler management and migrations. The best approach to accomplish this isto flatten and converge the datacenter network and to implement a unified fabricarchitecture. This reduces complexity and allows IT administrators to move away frommultiple fabrics, each with separate adapters and cabling (which is expensive anddifficult to manage and reduces network flexibility). Network architects favor flatterdesigns to maximize network efficiency, reduce congestion, and address SpanningTree limitations by creating active/active Layer 2 network paths for load balancing andredundancy. IDC believes that the trend toward converging network fabrics onEthernet is the right technology path for delivering network-edge technology that canprovide the lossless performance and ultra-low latency needed to meet the demandsof todays mission-critical applications.Higher Network SpeedsSupporting cloud computing and Big Data requires networks that can handle thehigher speeds needed. As more traffic is introduced into the network, the challenge isto keep latencies as low as possible as well as increase line rates to keep the networkfrom becoming the bottleneck.Figure 2 illustrates the expected growth in higher-speed networking. IDC expectsthere to be an explosion in the 10GbE datacenter networking market over the nextfive years. IDC expects 10GbE, which represented only 6% of ports shipped in 2009,to grow to 61% of datacenter network ports shipped by 2015.6 #232049 ©2011 IDC
  • 7. FIGURE 2Total 10GbE Datacenter Network Ports Shipped , 2009–2015 18,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 (000) 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015Source: IDCs Worldwide Datacenter Network QView, September 2011Further, 10GbE represents only the next step in an inevitable forward evolution innetworking, with 40GbE just becoming available and 100GbE on the horizon. As10GbE becomes mainstream at the server access layer, organizations will beginrequiring higher speeds in the core. Organizations concerned with future scalabilityand investment protection would do well to prepare for implementing 40GbE and100GbE technologies in their datacenters. This is particularly true for businesseslooking to drive the lowest latency possible into their systems — for example, financialtrading houses in which millisecond delays in trade times can represent millions ofdollars in lost profits.While some early implementers are embarking on selective pilot deployments of40/100GbE switching platforms, IDC expects volumes to pick up in the 2013–2014time frame as port costs for 40/100GbE deployments become comparable to andcompetitive with those for 10GbE deployments.Support for Server-to-Server TrafficMost architectures are designed to support traffic between servers and end users inthe more traditional transaction approach, but with new network architectures, cloudcomputing, and big data, traffic flows are now more interactive between elementsinside the datacenter. To achieve real-time business-centric analytics, IT workloadsare becoming increasingly interdependent. New network architectures must beintroduced to handle these new types of traffic, which must be integrated throughoutthe whole datacenter.Customers continue to benefit from the tidal wave of innovation around enhancingEthernet. As stated earlier, Ethernet is now a viable option for both block and filestorage. Likewise, similar advances have been made to support low latency server-to-©2011 IDC #232049 7
  • 8. server traffic. Customers are now utilizing RDMA on 10GbE to support high-performance computing. The combination of low latency and high-throughputadvances in Ethernet has contributed to the technologies leading installations in high-frequency trading applications in the financial sector.Support for VirtualizationDespite the widespread proliferation of virtualization in the datacenter, mostorganizations tools to support virtualization are sorely lacking. This point is wellillustrated by considering the primary methods of moving VMs in the datacenter today(see Figure 3). For most organizations, moving VMs is a largely or entirely manualprocess; only 8.4% use automated policy tools, half move them manually with the aidof tools, and over one in four move them manually without the use of tools.FIGURE 3Phase of VM Mobility Move VMs using policy tools Dont move VMs (8.4%) (12.8%) Move VMs manually (27.9%) Move VMs manually and using tools (50.9%)Source: Three Data Centers – One Vision, IDC #DR2010_T2_MB, March 2010Organizations require superior approaches to manage their virtualized environments,with tools that abstract complexity and support VM sprawl management, dynamicworkload scheduling and automation, and capacity planning across physical andvirtual systems. They must support end-to-end visibility across multitier applicationenvironments and performance and root-cause analysis. These tools must behypervisor agnostic and enable organizations to migrate network policies along withVMs as they move from server to server.By optimizing and automating virtualization and including networking resources in thisautomation, IT can drive greater efficiencies throughout the organization. It can breakdown the silos and enable the "IT team" to work together more closely, enabling more8 #232049 ©2011 IDC
  • 9. tasks to be performed by IT generalists and requiring fewer specialized resources tomanage server and storage networks.Increasing Datacenter EfficienciesA key trend today is to drive increased efficiency into the datacenter. An importantelement of this trend is the move to build "green" datacenters. Introducing intelligenceinto the network edge can help reduce overall power consumption, which not onlybenefits the environment in a general sense but also reduces operating costs. This isimportant to most organizations given the current state of the global economy and isparticularly true in geographies with high-energy costs and strict regulations such asEurope.Furthering datacenter efficiencies is the ability to provide unified management acrossthe fabric of network devices. The devices in the network should be managed,configured, and provisioned holistically.Support for StandardsLeveraging a standards-based approach is another important characteristic thatorganizations must take into account when architecting their networks. Not only doessupport for open standards provide a path for future upgrades and scalability withoutlocking into proprietary protocols, but choosing a vendor that supports a wide range ofstandards opens the door to additional technologies and efficiencies. For example,support of the emerging OpenFlow standard introduces a greater level of intelligencein Ethernet networks through a new approach called Software-Defined Networking(SDN) and can be used to support on-demand "express lanes" for voice and datatraffic that are time sensitive or to combine several fiber-optic links into a larger virtualpipe for temporarily handling a heavy flow of traffic.Storage NetworkingOrganizations thinking about their next-generation networks should not forget aboutstorage networks. For those that have implemented Fibre Channel storage,implementing a 16Gb Fibre Channel network can provide an upgrade path for thefuture. Fibre Channel–based capacity shipped will growth at a CAGR of 42% from4.6PB in 2010 to 26.7PB in 2015. However, the explosion in storage on Ethernet isinevitable. File-based storage is exploding with videos, images, and unstructuredcontent in the era of cloud computing. This storage will grow to overtake FibreChannel and reach 30.7PB in 2015. Adding NAS/iSCSI to the mix and FCoE meansthat storage on Ethernet will account for two-thirds of storage capacity in 2015. Tomeet the needs of converged data and storage networking, Ethernet networks mustbe lossless. Network equipment must support the Data Center Bridging (DCB)standards to ensure lossless operation. IDC believes that IP SANs using NAS/iSCSIor FCoE enable customers to standardize on Ethernet and maintain the appropriateservice levels for storage workloads.©2011 IDC #232049 9
  • 10. DELIVERING THE NEXT-GENERATIONDATACENTER WITH IBM SYSTEMNETWORKINGTo address these challenges, IBM has expanded its System Networking line ofproducts focused on the datacenter. The IBM System Networking portfolio leveragesIBMs more than 30 years of experience in datacenter networking, management, andintegration, as well as IBMs reputation as a trusted partner for network solutions, itssupport of leading management platforms such as Tivoli, and its support for industrystandards.IBM defines System Networking as the integration of intelligence into compute andstorage systems management. This integration brings the ability to maximizecompute processing power to deliver data analysis in the fastest possible time. Thegoal is to make a more general management solution for a customer site, leveragingtechnology such as the Tivoli Network Manager, Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, and othercomponents.Products offered under the System Networking banner include high-performance IBMSystem Networking–branded blade and top-of-rack RackSwitch Ethernet switches,Fibre Channel SAN switches and directors, partner offerings, and networkingsoftware and solutions. The IBM System Networking portfolio was enhanced withIBMs 2010 acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies, a leader in datacenternetworking.IBM System Networking solutions are designed to: Drive business value. Connecting servers and storage with a high-speed, intelligent network that is smarter, faster, greener, and easier to manage can drive improved economics to the business. By improving the flexibility of IT to more quickly respond to changing business conditions, companies can become more competitive in the marketplace. Improve security. The System Networking line includes a full suite of security technologies, as well as consulting and managed network security services designed to ensure network resiliency. This end-to-end, multilayered approach includes Proventia Network Multi-Function Security unified threat management software as well as threat analysis and prevention offerings from IBM Security Services. Support an open, standards-based approach. IBM takes an open, standards- based approach to implementing converged datacenter network designs to improve interoperability and make it easier to deploy, maintain, and scale network solutions. It supports virtualization and cloud computing networking initiatives, including VMready (with IEEE 802.1Qbg – Edge Virtual Bridging), OpenFlow, TRILL, and DCB.10 #232049 ©2011 IDC
  • 11. Product highlights include: IBM iFlow Director. IBM iFlow Director, announced in June 2010, is a software- based load balancer and traffic director for the IBM BladeCenter. Offering 10GbE switching and a 10Gb statistical flow balancer, it is designed to handle bandwidth-intensive security applications at the network entry point for security and Web 2.0 appliances. IBM virtual NICs (vNICs). Emulex 10GbE Virtual Fabric Adapter II and Emulex 10 GbE Virtual Fabric Adapter Advanced II are the latest elements of the IBM BladeCenter and System x Virtual Fabric portfolio. These adapters allow datacenters to reduce the number of switches required inside the BladeCenter chassis by allowing each physical 10Gbps port to be divided into four virtual ports. These virtual ports can also be used to provide VM connectivity without tying up a physical port for each VM. On top of that, the ability of the IBM System Networking switches to carve up communications back to the Emulex adapter provides higher availability, increased security, simpler management, and maximum performance per vNIC. Powering IBM Netezza. The synergies extend to the IBM Netezza data warehousing and analytics solution. IBM System Networkings Ethernet portfolio is a building block for Netezza, providing a high-speed, low-latency fabric connectivity infrastructure for high-performance data warehousing and analytics.CHALLENGES AND OPPOR TUNITIESChallengesLike any vendor participating in this fast-moving market, IBM faces a number ofchallenges as well as opportunities. IDC believes the top challenge for IBM is provinghow the network helps deliver the appropriate quality of service to virtual traffic.Customers migrating workloads to a virtualized datacenter environment prefer toinvest in solutions that are shown to be complete and easy to deploy and that havethe full feature set necessary to support a virtualized environment. IBM will need todemonstrate the completeness of its solution compared with other alternativesavailable on the market.Other challenges include the necessity to demonstrate to customers that theirinvestment will be sound, not only today but in the years to come. Customers will notwant to invest in technologies that they will be forced to rip and replace in a few years.To overcome this obstacle, IBM must demonstrate how its offerings are based oninteroperability and open standards and are open to all hypervisors so that customersunderstand they will not be stuck with proprietary vendor lock-in down the line.©2011 IDC #232049 11
  • 12. OpportunitiesThe key opportunity for IBM is to show how the increasing need to support cloudcomputing, business analytics, and high-performance computing requires datacentersupport of dynamic workloads and how these dynamic workloads require a modular,fabric-based approach to networking. By showing the ability of the SystemNetworking solutions to prioritize traffic for different applications or storage systemsthrough virtual pipes, IBM can demonstrate the increased flexibility of the system andthe improved ability to support dynamic, virtualized workloads compared withprevious-generation "fixed not flexible" networking approaches.This opportunity is magnified when combined with the strength of IBMs coreecosystem of partners, customers, and OEM partnerships. IBM is one of the topplayers in datacenter networking, with customers in some of the largest companies inthe world, including many of the leading banks, trading exchanges,telecommunications, electronics, and entertainment companies, and has a robustnetwork of solution provider partners and OEM suppliers.CONCLUSIONDriven by the needs to support cloud computing, virtualization, and "Big Data,"organizations are evolving their networks from fixed, data-centric, client/servertopologies to application-driven, dynamic networks. Network architectures areflattening, bandwidth requirements are increasing, and organizations are buildinggreater flexibility into their networks, all to increase flexibility to better support rapidlychanging business requirements.The IBM System Networking portfolio is designed to address these needs using amodular, standards-based approach. It combines network intelligence with computeand storage system resources in individual integrated systems, enablingorganizations to scale their network in a balanced, modular manner. IBMs unifiedfabric networking infrastructure, which is part of the companys Smarter Computinginitiative, is designed to meet the needs of todays virtualized, cloud-based datacenterin a scalable, cost-effective manner while providing the agility organizations require tocompete in todays global marketplace.Copyright NoticeExternal Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to beused in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior writtenapproval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of theproposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right todeny approval of external usage for any reason.Copyright 2011 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden.12 #232049 ©2011 IDC QCW03015-USEN-00