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9Mar/10Off

The Atomic Unit of Compute

TechOps Guy: Nate

I found this pretty fascinating, as someone who has been talking to several providers it certainly raises some pretty good points.

[..]Another of the challenges you’ll face along the way of Cloud is that of how to measure exactly what it is you are offering. But having a look at what the industry is doing won’t give you much help… as with so many things in IT, there is no standard. Amazon have their EC2 unit, and state that it is roughly the equivalent of 1.0-1.2GHz of a 2007 Opteron or Xeon CPU. With Azure, Microsoft haven’t gone down the same path – their indicative pricing/sizing shows a base compute unit of 1.6GHz with no indication as to what is underneath. Rackspace flip the whole thing on it’s head by deciding that memory is the primary resource constraint, therefore they’ll just charge for that and presumably give you as much CPU as you want (but with no indication as to the characteristics of the underlying CPU). Which way should you go? IMHO, none of the above.[..]

We need to have a standard unit of compute, that applies to virtual _and_ physical, new hardware and old, irrespective of AMD or Intel (or even SPARC or Power). And of course, it’s not all just about GHz because all GHz are most definitely not equal and yes it _does_ matter to applications. And lets not forget the power needed to deliver those GHz.

In talking with Terremark it seems their model is around VMware resource pools where they allocate you a set amount of Ghz for your account. They have a mixture of Intel dual socket systems and AMD quad socket systems, and if you run a lot of multi vCPU VMs you have a higher likelihood of ending up in the AMD pool vs the Intel one. I have been testing their vCloud Express product for my own personal needs(1 vCPU, 1.5GB ram 50GB HD), and noticed that my VM is on one of the AMD quad socket systems.

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9Mar/10Off

Yawn..

TechOps Guy: Nate

I was just watching some of my daily morning dose of CNBC and they had all these headlines about how Cisco was going to make some earth shattering announcement("Change the internet forever"), and then the announcement hit, some new CRS-1 router, that claimed 12x faster performance than the competition. So naturally I was curious. Robert Paisano on the floor of the NYSE was saying how amazing it was that the router could download the library of congress in 1 second(he probably didn't understand the router would have no place to put it).

If I want a high end router that means I'm a service provider and in that case my personal preference would be for Foundry Networks (now Brocade). Juniper makes good stuff too of course though honestly I am not nearly as versed in their technology. Granted I'll probably never work for such a company as those companies are really big and I prefer small companies.

But in any case wanted to illustrate (another) point. According to Cisco's own site, their fastest single chassis system has a mere 4.48 terrabits of switching capacity. This is called the CRS-3, which I don't even see listed as a product on their site, perhaps it's yet to come. The biggest, baddest product they have on their site right now is a 16-slot CRS-1. This according to their own site, has a total switching capacity of a paltry 1.2Tbps, and even worse a per-slot capacity of 40Gbps (hello 2003).

So take a look at the Foundry Networks (the Brocade name makes me shudder, I have never liked them) , their NetIron XMR series. From their documentation the "total switching fabric", ranges from 960 gigabits on the low end to 7.68 terrabits on the high end. Switch forwarding capacity ranges from 400 gigabits to 3.2 terrabits. This comes out to 120 gigabits of full duplex switch fabric per slot (same across all models). While I haven't been able to determine precisely how long XMR has been on the market I have found evidence that it is at least nearly 3 years old.

To put it in another perspective, in a 48U rack with the new CRS-3 you can get 4.48 terrabits of switching fabric(1 chassis is 48U). With Foundry in the same rack you can get one XMR32k and one XMR16k(combined size 47U) for a total of 11.52 terrabits of switching fabric. More than double the fabric in the same space, from a product that is 3 years old. And as you can imagine in the world of IT, 3 years is a fairly significant amount of time.

And while I'm here and talking about Foundry and Brocade take a look at this from Brocade, it's funny it's like something I would write. Compares the Brocade Director switches vs Cisco ("Numbers don't lie"). One of my favorite quotes:

To ensure accuracy, Brocade hired an independent electrician to test both the Brocade 48000 and the Cisco MDS 9513 and found that the 120 port Cisco configuration actually draws 1347 watts, 45% higher than Cisco's claim of 931 watts. In fact, an empty 9513 draws more electrical current (5.6 amps) than a fully-populated 384 port Brocade 48000 (5.2 amps). Below is Brocade's test data. Where are Cisco's verified results?

Another

With 33% more bandwidth per slot (64Gb vs 48Gb), three times as much overall bandwidth (1.5Tb vs 0.5 Tb) and a third the power draw, the Brocade 48000 is a more scalable building block, regardless of the scale, functionality or lifetime of the fabric. Holistically or not, Brocade can match the "advanced functionality" that Cisco claims, all while using far less power and for a much [?? I think whoever wrote it was in a hurry]

That's just too funny.

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