Force10 follows Juniper's virtualization move
Force10 Networks introduced a set of new tools this week aimed at virtualizing switches and routers for large data centers, following a similar trend among servers in the same environment.
Force10’s vision is one in which applications can be moved among shared network infrastructure -- replacing physical boundaries with logical ones -- in dynamic response to changing needs, maximizing capacity utilization and replacing the slow, manual process for making changes when equipment gets overtaxed.
“The network responds in concert with application demands,” said Steve Garrison, Force10’s vice president of marketing.
This week Force10 unveiled two new software tools to achieve that vision, with opposite functions: VirtualControl, which partitions physical network assets to virtualize logical boundaries, allowing one switch/router to act like several; and VirtualScale, which consolidates physical network fabrics, allowing several switch/routers to act like one. Both tools work simultaneously in core or aggregation devices (typically at Layer 3) and access devices (typically Layer 2 switches).
“If you believe in virtualization -- carving up servers to increase [input/output], a switch has the same problem – it’s not always fully utilized, so there’s wasted money there,” Garrison said.
When a data center management or cloud computing platform (such as those of Force10’s partner, Cassatt) detects that a given server is overutilized, it can query Force10’s gear to move resource pools in concert with that problem, for example moving a set of virtual local access networks from one switch/router chassis to another or from one side of a chassis to another side.
“Two concepts are key: moving resources between racks and moving resources between rows,” Garrison said. “There are customers working with us to move resources between data centers. It’s all the same philosophy.”
Force10’s move echoes a theme expressed by Juniper Networks this month in its announcement of the virtualization of its IP core routing platform.
VirtualControl and VirtualScale are both managed using VirtualView, Force10’s management tool, which analyzes and reports app performance in the virtualized system in real time.
The management tool can then hand off that information – which Force10 called “essentially accounting information” -- to a third-party data collecting system that can graphically represent and benchmark it and store it in a library.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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