TAM - It gets bigger

Ok, I am a technician. Not an engineer, not a software developer, and certainly not a business man.

I did just conplete the introductory course to VMware. I found it very intersting. With the latest VMware a company can build a virtual network that spans in-house data centers and the cloud. The power and cost savings as well as resiliency of this type of data center architecture is so far ahead of what we have had that it is a Macro Economic step change.

Quick overview of virtualized server centers as VMware builds them. VMware uses their EXSi software as a hypervisor. It runs directly on the bare metal machine. The machine is called a host. The hypervisor hosts several Vitual Servers. I think it is now up to 4096 per host, but this would be significantly more than the resources of the machine could handle.

These hosts might have storage in them, and some may have none and use a Storage Area Network (SAN). VMware can take the storage on the hosts and create a vSAN. This mskes things nice a VMware csn then move servers and shut down host as it needs. It can also add and remove storage from servers as the need arises.

Finally, it has been discovered that when you have thousands of servers in a data center and they are all virtualized there is a great deal of traffic between them. This traffic between virtual servers, often sitting on the same piece of hardware, is called east-west traffic. The traffic leaving and entering the hosts is called north-south traffic. VMware has a software called NSX that builds a virtual network for the east-west traffic. By doing this they can run vitual lans at the data layer, ethernet, rather than at the IP layer. What is more these connections and networks can be brought up and taken down very quickly.

However, the north-south traffic is still being built using integrated routers. Arista is addressing this part of the data center.

When you look at what virtualization is doing to the data center and how Nvidia is compressing the need for server space, you can begin to understand how companies like Talend can use this falling, (and no longer capitalized) expense to do amazing things.

What is happening in the data center is really quite amazing. Pure Storage is selling the storage, Arista is selling the north-south highways, Talend is selling the tools, Amazon is renting the compute.

There are two other essential things needed in a data center, we are not invested in them.

One is power, none of the neato wowie blinky blinky stuff works without steady clean power. This means, generators, switch gear and battery plants.

Two is air conditioning. Without AC most of the equupment overheats and dies. Cooling server centers is as critical as powering them.

Cheers
Qazulight (The VMware course is free, poorly organized, and difficult.)

23 Likes

The VMware course is free, poorly organized, and difficult.

And probably missing a number of important considerations. E.g., I have heard over and over again from DBAs dealing with these systems that giving a VMware slice which is running a database too many CPUs will kill performance because of the context switching.

One is power, none of the neato wowie blinky blinky stuff works without steady clean power. This means, generators, switch gear and battery plants.

Two is air conditioning. Without AC most of the equipment overheats and dies. Cooling server centers is as critical as powering them.

Two areas where I don’t think any particular equipment vendor would have a CAP…but an area that my employer (HQ’ed in Atlanta metro) should try to get into heavily. I passed along an article to some of my superiors a week or so back that mentioned that Facebook might be spending something like $42 billion on data centers in the Atlanta area.

The same article also included the following: “Atlanta is also said to be on the radar of other West Coast Internet behemoths. Amazon and Microsoft are eying metro Atlanta for standalone data centers, Atlanta Business Chronicle has learned. Metro Atlanta is a top five data center market — and one with the strongest growth momentum, said Tim Huffman, a senior vice president of Data Center Solutions at real estate services firm CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBG).”

Being invested in NVDA, ANET, PSTG, and UBNT, I have definitely been thinking more about data centers and networking than I did a year ago.

1 Like

The same article also included the following: “Atlanta is also said to be on the radar of other West Coast Internet behemoths. Amazon and Microsoft are eying metro Atlanta for standalone data centers, Atlanta Business Chronicle has learned. Metro Atlanta is a top five data center market — and one with the strongest growth momentum, said Tim Huffman, a senior vice president of Data Center Solutions at real estate services firm CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBG).”

Being invested in NVDA, ANET, PSTG, and UBNT, I have definitely been thinking more about data centers and networking than I did a year ago.

My son is a service manager for a pest control company. He was just offered a large pay increase to take a job in a new company selling and servicing the air filters in large HVAC systems. Unfortunately he turned it down as it didn’t fit into his family situation at this time. So, I know there is some movement out there.

Also, before my last job change, I worked in a mid sized Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO) We had a surprising number of troubles with dirty fiber connections. With the high speed Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) clean no loss no distortion connections become critical. I was surprised that dirt could work it’s way down into a made connection.

Keeping the air dry, but not too dry as that produces more static and makes it easier to blow circuit packs and clean is important in a world where 5 nines reliability just isn’t good enough anymore.

In fact with the ability that VMWARE gives of moving an entire dats center on the fly (up to a couple hundred miles) clean cool air is more important than extended back up power.

The standard telecom plant is 4 days no touch generator and 4 hours worst case battery. In the new data centers we are having redundant generators and only 15 minutes of battery. The idea is to not harden the site but make the service resilient.

As telecom moves to the software defined network and network virtualization, (SDN and NFV)

(See the AT&T White Paper circa 2013 that laid out the 2020 initiative.

https://www.att.com/Common/about_us/pdf/AT&T%20Domain%20… )

They are moving to this much less hardened type of site.

In fact, even without a fully realized system, when the MTSO in Baton Rouge was lost to flood waters, the engineers were able to spin up most of the services in another location. (Voice mail was lost, my little sister was NOT a happy trooper.)

Just a few thoughts. I will note that our long haul backbone fiber in the Midwest is not full.

Cheers
Qazulight

5 Likes