Optimize the Benefits of Cloud Computing IaaS with Cloud-Ready Data Centers

Shaun Walsh is Senior Vice President of Marketing, Emulex

Enterprises of all sizes are eagerly moving forward in their journey to cloud and while it may take some organizations longer than others, the shift is inevitable.

Cloud computing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a virtual data center of compute, storage and network resources provided as a service, which is a market that is still developing and expanding.  It’s important to choose strategic providers carefully to ensure a cloud-ready data center infrastructure to support the business.

Cloud computing, with any service model approach, public, private or hybrid, delivers multiple benefits including:

  • Extracting increased hardware efficiencies from server consolidation via virtualization.
  • Enabling IT agility through optimized placement or relocation of workloads.
  • Optimizing IT capacity through distribution of workloads between private and public infrastructure.
  • Ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery.

To take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, it’s essential to have a cloud-ready data center infrastructure.  IDC has mapped the evolution of IT architectures to today’s “3rd Platform”[i] driven by the confluence of key infrastructure and workload trends across verticals such as cloud, mobile and Big Data analytics.  As part of this evolution, there is significant growth in virtualization and cloud architected data centers driving a corresponding increase in 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) server I/O connectivity.  In fact, server 10GbE port shipments (normalized to 100 for 2014) are forecast to grow 2.4x from 2014 to 2018 (Dell’Oro Controller and Adapter Forecast Tables January 2014).

Enabling ‘cloud bursting’ in virtualized server environments is creating  new networking challenges. To address this new class of network traffic between private and hybrid clouds, and manage large virtualization networks, there are key considerations for IT to consider:

  1. Virtual machine (VM) mobility: What technologies and I/O performance are required to simplify VM migration and handle VM-VM communications?
  2. Network scalability and security: How will my choice of I/O help scale my network capacity while accommodating large numbers of secure and isolated multi-tenant networks?
  3. IT service value: How can I/O help me reduce my overhead (operational and capital expenditures [OPEX / CAPEX]) related to scale-out networks?

Two overlay networking technologies, Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE-supported by Microsoft) and Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN-supported by VMware) address these considerations:   

  1. VM-to-VM communications traffic traverses this virtual network, and a VM can now be freely migrated across the data center over an overlay network without reconfiguration, saving IT precious time to focus on other strategic initiatives.
  2. Allows for the creation of up to 16 million private, isolated networks, addressing the scalability challenge.
  3. Emulex VNeX™ Virtual Network Exceleration technology,  the industry’s only overlay networking tunnel hardware offload support for VXLAN and NVGRE, delivers higher CPU effectiveness and more server power efficiency reducing data center energy and cooling expenses (compared to adapters that lack offload capability).

Cloud compute IaaS is driving the evolution of IT architecture from client-server to the 3rd Platform built around virtualization and scale-out networking.  While the deployment of scale-out networks have presented challenges and restricted IT agility, Emulex OneConnect 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE)  adapters, offered with the new Dell 13th generation PowerEdge server solutions, deliver cloud-ready data center technology to overcome these challenges.

Given the right cloud-ready data center infrastructure, cloud computing provides a vast array of potential to drive enterprise IT to a new core competency, and deliver value to the business.

About the Author: Shaun Walsh