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How to Really Read Latency Reports

How to Really Read Latency Reports

4377597050_baaef3848d.jpgMy very favorite quote on speed and measurement comes from Alice in Wonderland:

 

"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

(Through the Looking Glass)


Interestingly, this passage actually relates very nicely to how vendors measure latency in their networking devices.   When we read latency figures, we logically assume that the number represents the length of time it takes for a packet to enter the switch and come out the other side.  True enough, as far as it goes.  But there are lots of ways to measure the speed of a packet as it traverses a switch.  And there are lots of questions that should be asked in order to really understand what was measured and how.  An interesting new white paper that details these questions and provides additional insight into what “latency measurements” really mean can be found here. 

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Juniper Employee
Who is fastest switch in the west?

Who is fastest switch in the west?

So why settle for microseconds when you can have nanoseconds?

 

The more work you can get done in each second, the more productive you are—especially if you are in the financial services or high-performance computing industries.  Switches that deliver transactions in terms of nanoseconds are 10 times more productive than their microsecond counterparts.

 

If speed in nanoseconds is the goal, how do you find the fastest switch in this category?  There are several dimensions that should be taken into consideration:  latency, jitter, and multicast. 

 

Latency considerations include packet size and throughput.  How fast can a switch transmit each packet size at wire speed and not drop anything?  To really understand how a switch behaves under stress, you need to test all ports at the same time using 100% unicast traffic throughput in a fully meshed pattern using RFC 2544 and RFC 1242 (for cut through switches).

 

It is very easy to go fast on the freeway when there are no other cars.  So you need to look at how fast a switch transmits at wire speed through all ports with full traffic load.  Anything less than less than 100% line rate traffic and full mesh to all ports is wimpy.

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Juniper Employee
Hosting Data Centers:  Your Content Stays Where You Put It

Hosting Data Centers: Your Content Stays Where You Put It

I’ve pointed out that production data centers have five different variations, and I’ve covered four of them in previous blogs. Today, I’ll talk about the fifth—hosting data centers.

 

Hosting production data centers come from the classical hosting services market.  These providers started by hosting servers for customers who did not want to maintain their own server farms.  Unlike having your content in a cloud, you know exactly where your content is—it is in the servers that the hosting provider manages for you.

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Juniper Employee
Cloud Service Providers:  Giving small companies the technology of a giant

Cloud Service Providers: Giving small companies the technology of a giant

I’ve mentioned before that there are different types of production data centers. Cloud service providers are production networks which contain public and private content.  These are the newest type of production data center.  They are different in that you have to pay to put things into them (as opposed to paying to get things out).  Cloud providers give you the same type of dynamic data center scaling capability as the largest content companies in the world.  Your content is virtualized and moved around in a “cloud.” Unlike other types of Content Data Centers, these will provide Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for your content. They have additional requirements for traffic separation and security that the public content providers do not offer.  That is because they need to keep your content separate from everyone else’s.

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Juniper Employee
Content Data Centers: It’s All On The Web

Content Data Centers: It’s All On The Web

Content can be roughly defined as information.  It exists as words, images, video, music, voice, TV and any form of media. Over-the-Top Content data centers are concerned with throughput and scale.  These data centers house public and private content which grows continuously.  Video, photos, news, text on every subject known to humanity produced in every language used by mankind (e.g. Facebook).  These data centers account for much of the growth in servers.  Content data centers are challenged by space, cooling and power.  These data centers can take the full output from nuclear power plants and still need more. 

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Juniper Employee
Financial and High-Performance Compute Data Centers: The Need for Speed Never Stops

Financial and High-Performance Compute Data Centers: The Need for Speed Never Stops

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been talking about how data centers can vary significantly and discussing the technology decisions companies need to make in order to help them scale in the future and be successful. Today, let’s look at Production data centers.  These are profit oriented.  They require leading edge solutions.  They purchase new technology to get the latest and greatest in performance. The most demanding of these is the financial and High-Performance compute (HPC) data center.

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Juniper Employee
Latest Comments
NextGenNet | 08-26-2017
Re: Who is fastest switch in the west?
NextGenNet | 11-24-2013
Re: 10 GbE Fixed Configuration Switches are Becoming the Well-Rounded Athletes of the Enterprise
NextGenNet | 01-18-2011
Re: Hosting Data Centers: Your Content Stays Where You Put It