Aging hardware drives core router and switch upgrades

2013-01-29 11:16:54

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Aging hardware drives core router and switch upgrades
Network technology spending remains in catch-up mode, says Daniel Kennedy, research director for information security and networking at TheInfoPro and author of the firm's 2012 Network Technology Study. "The top pain point is aging hardware and keeping up with technology," Kennedy says, "and technology refresh is the most important business driver."At the same time, certain new projects remain high on enterprises' lists of planned network initiatives, including unified communication and mobile device management.Overall, networking budget growth is healthy but slowing compared to last year, researchers found. Between 2010 and 2011, 48% of respondents to TheInfoPro's annual network survey reported a budget increase. This time around, 38% of respondents reported a budget increase while 23% reported a budget decrease. Operational expenses make up 64% of respondents' networking budgets, and the remaining 36% is dedicated to capital expenditures.On the project front, the top networking project respondents plan to tackle in the next 12 months is a core routing and switch upgrade, cited by 29% of network managers. Echoing the problem of aging hardware, the third most popular networking project is a technology refresh (13%).The second most common networking project is wireless rollouts, planned by 14% of network managers. Similarly, 9% are planning wireless LAN rollouts, which ranked as the fifth most common project.VoIP (cited by 12% of respondents), network expansion (7%), WAN optimization (6%), network security (6%), consolidation (6%) and VPN (5%), also ranked among the top 10 network projects planned.Two network initiatives that didn't rank highly on the list of planned projects are IPv6 and software-defined networking (SDN).Kennedy isn't surprised that IPv6 projects aren't more pressing. "It's always reported as hot and in plan, for three years now, but the needle never seems to move," he says. "We're hearing 12% of people have done anything about it. A lot of people have tested and a lot of people will claim they're ready, but [IPv6 has] just sort of been sitting in their plans forever."
Arista looks to ward off Cisco with new low-latency switch
Arista specializes in low latency switching for data centers and financial trading environments, and is funded by Andy Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun. The company's 7150S switch will compete with Cisco's Nexus 3000 series and a new Nexus 3500 series switch that's expected. It will also go up against Juniper's QFX3500.The 7150S series offers up to 64 wire-speed 1/10G Ethernet or 16 40G Ethernet ports. Four individual 10G ports can be combined into a single 40G port for further scale, Arista says.The 7150S supports VXLAN tunnels at wire-speed for workload mobility between physical and virtual machines, as well as Network Address Translation (NAT), IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol and application management. The wire-speed NAT capabilities allow for the elimination of hundreds of microseconds of forwarding delay in high-performance computing and financial trading environments, Arista says.The company's Latency Analyzer functions provide application-level microburst detection, congestion monitoring and analysis designed to optimize big data and other performance-sensitive applications; and new packet formats can be parsed and forwarded with deterministic performance, Arista says.The 7150S offers monitoring, analysis and forensic capabilities for both coarse and fine-grained views of data flows and network activities, as well as stateless load balancing, Arista says.The Arista 7150S switches are orderable now and shipping in the fourth quarter. List prices start at $12,995.
Big data analytics computing requires a 'maverick fabric' network
What differentiates the two environments is the type of networks allied to the application programming models and the problem sets used. In the scientific/academic sector, it is typical to use proprietary solutions to achieve the best performance in terms of latency and bandwidth, while sacrificing aspects of standardization that simplify support, manageability and closer integration with IT infrastructure. Within the enterprise the use of standards is paramount, and that means heavy reliance upon Ethernet. But plain old Ethernet won't cut it. What we need is a new approach, a new "maverick fabric."Such a fabric should have a way to eliminate network congestion within a multi-switch Ethernet framework to free up available bandwidth in the network fabric. It also should significantly improve performance by negotiating load-balancing flows between switches with no performance hit and, use a "fairness" algorithm that prioritizes packets in the network and ensures that broadcast data or other large frame traffic, such as localized storage sub-systems, will not unfairly consume bandwidth.
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