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13Nov/12Off

100GbE: Still a very hefty premium

TechOps Guy: Nate

UPDATED

Big Switch Networks decloaked today, and released their new OpenFlow controller, in partnership with many different networking vendors.

Arista Networks, Dell, Brocade, Juniper Networks, Brocade Communications, and Extreme Networks have all partnered with Big Switch, and their OpenFlow-enabled switches are certified to be control-freaked by Big Network Controller. Switches from IBM and HP have been tested for interoperability, but there are no formal partnerships.

All of this SDN stuff really is sort of confusing to me (it really seems like the whole software defined thing is riding on a big hype cloud). One thing that stands out to me here is that this OpenFlow stuff seems to only cover switching and routing. I don't see any mention of things like firewalls, or more importantly - load balancers.  Maybe those folks will integrate with OpenFlow at some point in some way.

On this article A10 Networks (load balancing company) is mentioned as a partner, but running a search for either OpenFlow or BigSwitch on the A10 site reveals no results.

For me if I'm going to be moving workloads between datacenters, at least those that deal with internet connectivity, I certainly want that inbound connectivity to move to the new datacenter as well, and not incur the costs/latency of forwarding such traffic over a back end connection. The only exception being if there is a fault at the new datacenter which is severe enough to want to route internet traffic from another facility to it. I suppose at the same time the fault would likely have to block the ability of moving the workload to another (non faulty) facility.

F5 networks had a demo they put out on long distance vMotion almost three years ago. Using their WAN Optimization, their Global Traffic Managers(Global DNS), and Local Traffic managers(load balancers), it was a pretty cool setup. Of course this was ages before VMware had such a solution in house, and I believe this solution (for the niche that it serves) can cover a significantly longer distance than what you get with VMware today.

Anyway that's not the topic of the post. At the same time I noticed Extreme announced their first 100GbE offering (per usual it looks like it won't be available to ship for at least 6 months - they like to announce early for some strange reason). On their X-8 platform which has 1.2Tbps of throughput per line card, and up to 20Tbps (15Tbps non blocking even with a fabric failure) per chassis. I say "up to" because there are multiple fabric modules, and there are two different speeds(2.5Tbps and 5Tbps).

The card is a combo 4-port 100GbE card. They also announced a newer larger scale 12-port 40GbE line card. What struck me(still) was the cost distinction between the two:

NTE list pricing includes: 40GbE 12 port XL module at US $6,000.00 per port; 100GbE 4 port XL module at US $35,000 per port.

I think I recall hearing/reading last year that 100GbE was going for around $100,000/port, if so this would be a great discount, but still pretty crazy expensive compared to 40GbE obviously!

UPDATE - It seems my comment was lost in the spam, the lack of approval wasn't intentional.

While I'm here let me rag on Extreme a bit here - I posted a comment on one of their blog posts (about 3 weeks ago) where they said they moved away from designing their own ASICs with the X-8 platform.

They never approved the comment.

My comment was basically asking them when their last ASIC design was - to my knowledge their last ASIC was the 4GNSS ASIC (they called it a programmable ASIC - I assume that meant more of a FPGA but who knows), that originally showed up in the Black Diamond 10808 back in 2003(I had a pair of these boxes in 2005). I believe they re-used it, perhaps refined it a bit in the following years but don't believe any new ASICs were designed since (sure I could be wrong but they haven't clarified). So I'd say their last ASIC design was more than a decade ago, and only now this blogger comes out and says they don't do ASICs any more. Before that the last one I know of was their Inferno chipset, a much better name, which was present in their older platforms running on the original ExtremeWare operating system, the last such switches to be sold were in their Alpine series and the Summit 48si (I still have one of these at home but it doesn't do much today - too loud for home use).

Anyway, shame on you for not approving my reasonable response to your post!

btw I approve all posts here, even those that try to attack me/my posts. If for some reason your post is not immediately available, contact me (see blurb on right) because your post may of been caught by the SPAM filter. I don't go through those caught posts often(there are a lot), maybe 2-3 times a year.