Here’s a hypothetical situation for you. Let’s say you run a hosting company. And naturally you want to grow. Fast. More customers, more connections, more cloud. You want to differentiate yourself by offering the greatest possible flexibility and security, whilst guaranteeing data privacy for your customers. This was not a hypothetical situation for SW Hosting. This dynamic young company based in Spain was poised to grow. After analyzing the market they knew that a Juniper Networks MetaFabric Architecture was what they needed from a technical standpoint, but there were still lots of questions about how to actually go about doing it. So they turned to Juniper Networks Professional Services to provide the skills and resources to work with their own engineers towards a single goal: the success of the project.
It’s probably not news to you that a significant part of the data flows within a data centre network today are machine-to-machine. Applications inside the data centre have been decomposed into many services that involve automated communication between servers inside that data centre: what has become known as ‘east-west’ traffic.
Although every data centre is unique, it’s commonly quoted that, on average, around 70 per cent of traffic in the data centre is between servers, and this is rising. The growth in east-west traffic is driven by virtualisation inside the data centre, and the need for flexibility to run any application on any machine.
Doing this successfully requires a network fabric to deliver consistent performance that is independent of server location. In a true fabric architecture everything is connected to everything else – ideally any device is just one or two network hops away from any other device or resource. The most important advantage of this is predictable low latency for this east-west traffic.
Software defined networks have, to date, been used mostly to segment the network. But there’s a bigger prize: we can start to automate large, complex network configurations. If we define private cloud as automating the delivery of services for internal customers, then network automation is an essential component of how we “cloudify” the data centre.
Today, although you can launch a virtual machine in 10 minutes, it can take many days to attach it to the underlying network. The configuration challenges of network infrastructure aren’t news to our customers. One admitted to me recently that his team had never managed this task inside two weeks. Even when they did, he said, they very rarely got it right.