"Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)"
Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)May 2012 ® Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)
Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)Page 2Q. What is ODIN? A. The Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN) is a set of technical briefs which describe best practices for developing a flat, virtualized, converged data center network based on open industry standards. The first five volumes of ODIN were released by IBM in May 2012. These documents describe the transformation taking place in the modern data center; equal cost multipath (ECMP) networking; lossless Ethernet; software-defined networking (including network overlays and OpenFlow); and wide area networking including best practices for low latency. ODIN was created as a response to client requests for a guide to networking best practices based on industry standards rather than proprietary protocols.Q. What are the goals of ODIN? A. ODIN is intended to provide a set of best practices for data center networking. It can be used to educate clients or networking equipment vendors on preferred practices, for example by helping clients generate vendor neutral RFI requests or develop multi-vendor architectures as recommended by Gartner Group and other leading industry analysts. ODIN may also be used to recommend emerging technologies and help future-proof a data center network design. ODIN is intended to save both capital and operating expense by recommending best practices for scalability, latency, high availability, convergence, security, and energy efficiency without sacrificing adoption of high performance technologies.Q. What are some of the data center networking problems which ODINaddresses? A. Historically, data center Ethernet networks evolved from early designs which supported “dumb” terminals attached through repeaters and hubs into a switched hierarchy with 2 to 4 tiers (or more). This traditional design is not well suited to modern data center applications. For example, conventional networks are designed for north-south traffic flows (which traverse multiple network tiers, adding latency and degrading performance); ODIN promotes a flat, 2 tier network optimized for east-west traffic between servers. ODIN promotes scaling the network to thousands of physical ports at 10 Gbit/s each, and tens of thousands of virtual machines, without high oversubscription, and without requiring large numbers of switches that take up space, use energy, and add cost. ODIN promotes virtual machine mobility through large Layer 2 domains, and best practices for low latency, even when using extended distance connectivity between multiple data centers. ODIN promotes software defined networking and network overlays which enable virtualized, wire-once networks and overcome traditional topology and bandwidth limits. ODIN describes equal cost multipath spine-leaf architectures, which help scale networks in a cost and performance efficient manner. ODIN promotes high availability, energy efficiency, automated management, network virtualization, and other features intended to provide lower capital and operating expense.Q. Which companies are currently endorsing ODIN? A. ODIN was established under IBM’s leadership, and the initial release of these documents has been endorsed by industry leading companies including BigSwitch, Brocade, Extreme Networks, Juniper, NEC, and Huawei. Other companies and universities are expected to endorse ODIN in the future. For a complete list of companies who endorse ODIN, please refer to the IBM System Networking website.
Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)Page 3Q. How does a company or university endorse ODIN? A. ODIN is not an industry trade organization, and there is no membership fee to join ODIN. Any company with an interest in some form of standards-based data center networking is welcome to publicly endorse ODIN through their website, blogs, press releases, or similar approaches. For examples of how other companies have endorsed ODIN, please refer to the IBM System Networking website or IBM data center networking blogs.Q. What is IBM’s role in ODIN? A. IBM led the creation of ODIN in response to market pressure to provide a description of the many emerging industry standards in data center networking, including best practices and emerging technologies. This will allow networking users to better position their architectures around standards-based networking, which has been shown by independent consultants such as Gartner Group to provide up to 25% lower total cost of ownership compared with proprietary network architectures.Q. Isn’t ODIN just an IBM marketing initiative? A. No. ODIN provides a technical description of the major industry standards for data center networking, in the form of a tutorial which is suitable for both technical and business audiences. All of the companies who endorse ODIN offer products which support the industry standards in ODIN to some degree (though not all companies will support all standards). It is expected that participating companies will make available their own technical and marketing materials describing how their products solve the networking problems outlined in ODIN using standards based solutions.Q. Is ODIN a new industry standard? A. No, ODIN does not compete with existing industry standards or standards bodies. Rather, ODIN provides a tutorial on existing standards, and interprets these standards to describe best practices as well as practices which are not yet fully mature. In this way, ODIN provides a cookbook for network users and designers and promotes the creation of vendor-neutral network planning.Q. What industry standards are covered by ODIN? A. The initial ODIN release discusses networking standards from the IEEE, IETF, INCITS, InfiniBand Trade Association, and ONF. Updates to these standards, and new standards from other groups, may be added in future releases. Please refer to the latest draft of ODIN for details, available from the IBM System Networking website.Q. Who is the audience for ODIN? A. ODIN is intended for use by clients seeking to understand data center networking industry best practices and emerging trends. It may also serve as a guide for other network equipment developers.Q. How can clients provide input to ODIN? A. Clients are encouraged to review the ODIN documents and make comments or suggestions for future improvements. IBM is interested in client feedback and intends to be responsive to these comments.
Q & A for the Open Datacenter Interoperable Network (ODIN)Page 4Q. What are some possible use cases for ODIN? A. ODIN discusses a variety of use cases. For example, cloud based data centers using multi- tenancy and resource pooling can benefit from the ODIN design principles. Large data center fabrics for commercial or enterprise use in many industry verticals (finance, retail, medical, entertainment, etc) can all benefit from the ODIN design approach. Specifically, ODIN discusses design principles for ultra-low latency networks, as required for real time financial trading and high performance computing or large data set processing applications. Since ODIN includes standards such as OpenFlow, it also supports all of the benefits and use cases derived from network overlays and software defined networking.Q. Does IBM have products that support features of the ODINdocuments? A. Yes, IBM has already implemented many features of ODIN and plans to implement more in the future. Additional technical materials will be available from IBM to describe how IBM products can be used to implement the design practices described in ODIN. Some examples include the following: The IBM RackSwitch G8264 is the industry’s first 40G-enabled switch to support OpenFlow, and has publicly demonstrated interoperability with an OpenFlow controller. IBM was a leading participant in Converged Enhanced Ethernet / Lossless Ethernet, which is currently supported on all IBM System Networking switch platforms. The IBM virtual switch 5000v, Rack Switch G8264, and various BladeCenter embedded switches all support IEEE 802.1Qbg which promotes VM mobility. These switches are employed in IBM PureSystems and other IBM integrated product offerings. IBM continues to actively lead many emerging industry standards, including Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE), software-defined networking including OpenFlow, and others.Q. Is IBM participating in the industry standards discussed by ODIN? A. Yes, IBM has long been an active participant and industry leader in all of the industry standards groups represented by ODIN.Q. Where can I get more information about ODIN? A. For more information, updates to the ODIN documentation, and an opportunity to comment on ODIN, please visit IBM System Networking website, http://www.ibm.com/systems/networking/solutions/odin.html .
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