Ethernet Fabric Networking Gears Up for Big Data

Wikibon analyst Stu Miniman recently published a post digging into the Ethernet switches market and discussing the main drivers behind them. There have been a few fresh developments in this space, which make the analysis of this evolving segment even more notable.

Miniman highlighted that virtualization and the addition of new applications to Ethernet environments have created a necessity to rethink the traditional Ethernet architecture, and focus on things like scalability and simplification via the introduction of fabrics.  This is needed to expand legacy environments in order to keep up with the current trends and disrupters in the data center, namely big data, which doubles in quantity ever two years.

Miniman looked into three of the Ethernet fabric offerings currently available on the market from some of the bigger vendors out there, and made a comparison of their key advantages.  The first was the TRILL-based Brocade VCS architecture, which is made up of small 1U-2U switches that can be stacked up to 24 at a time.  The emphasis is on simplified deployment and configuration.

Next in line is Cisco FabricPath, developed for scale (up to 12,000 ports in a single fabric) and optimized to handle a lot of traffic including big data.  The third offering is QFabric, Juniper Network’s ‘flat network’ solution.

The simplification objective behind QFabric proved to be a rather successful one, and Juniper is looking to further flesh out the offering.  They partnered with Juniper Networks last week to offer customers a joint solution, which includes QLogic’s 8200 Series 10GbE converged network adapters.

Networking behemoth Cisco is also pushing towards this direction.  The company rolled out a roster of new and updated offerings in mid-October, including the Nexus 7009 and two low-latency products in the Nexus 3300 line, designed for analytics deployments and other high-performance tasks.