The four-part Network Convergence Spotlight held on theCube at VMworld 2011 featured analysis from industry experts, and a look into how the big trends in networking are affecting the rest of the datacenter.
Part 1 (full video below) was mostly an observation of some of the biggest drives pushing this trend forward today. Network convergence is about bringing down costs by consolidating things, but on a broader level, it helps disrupting the rest of the infrastructure in the process. Stu Miniman, a senior analyst at Wikibon and panel moderator, noted: “It’s about simplifying environments, which really is one of the foundational technologies to help enable cloud technologies.”
10GbE Ethernet is one of those drivers, and the panel predicted that two or three players will eventually emerge to claim the dominant stake of this market. Server vendors also play a big role in this industry-wide push.
An interesting update in the converged network is the announcement of Cisco’s Virtual Extensible LAN, touted as the next gen tunneling protocol. It’s designed to increase the salability of virtualization in networking beyond what regular VLAN offers, and also lets users provision virtual networks. This evolution follows the processor and storage segments (see Part 2 here).
Abner Germanow of Juniper Networks said in Part 3 that the reason behind this shift is demand from the customer end. Necessity derived from exploding amounts of data and a growing number of end points means customers are moving away from the server to a client traffic model, and are starting to put an emphasis on agility, rather than just cost efficiency.
During Part 4, the emphasis was that costs efficiency is still a very big factor. Enterprises are turning to converged networking because it reduces infrastructure overheads as well as the amount of manpower they need to invest. They are also increasing VM density and generating larger and larger amounts of big data, which requires 10GbE Ethernet.