Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

Over the past decade, data center containment has experienced a high rate of implementation by many data centers. It can greatly improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. This article will elaborate on what data center containment is, common types of it, and their benefits and challenges.

What Is Data Center Containment?

Data center containment is the separation of cold supply air from the hot exhaust air from IT equipment so as to reduce operating cost, optimize power usage effectiveness, and increase cooling capacity. Containment systems enable uniform and stable supply air temperature to the intake of IT equipment and a warmer, drier return air to cooling infrastructure.

Types of Data Center Containment

There are mainly two types of data center containment, hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment.

Hot aisle containment encloses warm exhaust air from IT equipment in data center racks and returns it back to cooling infrastructure. The air from the enclosed hot aisle is returned to cooling equipment via a ceiling plenum or duct work, and then the conditioned air enters the data center via raised floor, computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, or duct work.

Hot aisle containment

Cold aisle containment encloses cold aisles where cold supply air is delivered to cool IT equipment. So the rest of the data center becomes a hot-air return plenum where the temperature can be high. Physical barriers such as solid metal panels, plastic curtains, or glass are used to allow for proper airflow through cold aisles.

Cold aisle containment

Hot Aisle vs. Cold Aisle

There are mixed views on whether it’s better to contain the hot aisle or the cold aisle. Both containment strategies have their own benefits as well as challenges.

Hot aisle containment benefits

  • The open areas of the data center are cool, so that visitors to the room will not think the IT equipment is not being cooled sufficiently. In addition, it allows for some low density areas to be un-contained if desired.
  • It is generally considered to be more effective. Any leakages that come from raised floor openings in the larger part of the room go into the cold space.
  • With hot aisle containment, low-density network racks and stand-alone equipment like storage cabinets can be situated outside the containment system, and they will not get too hot, because they are able to stay in the lower temperature open areas of the data center.
  • Hot aisle containment typically adjoins the ceiling where fire suppression is installed. With a well-designed space, it will not affect normal operation of a standard grid fire suppression system.

Hot aisle containment challenges

  • It is generally more expensive. A contained path is needed for air to flow from the hot aisle all the way to cooling units. Often a drop ceiling is used as return air plenum.
  • High temperatures in the hot aisle can be undesirable for data center technicians. When they need to access IT equipment and infrastructure, a contained hot aisle can be a very uncomfortable place to work. But this problem can be mitigated using temporary local cooling.

Cold aisle containment benefits

  • It is easy to implement without the need for additional architecture to contain and return exhaust air such as a drop ceiling or air plenum.
  • Cold aisle containment is less expensive to install as it only requires doors at ends of aisles and baffles or roof over the aisle.
  • Cold aisle containment is typically easier to retrofit in an existing data center. This is particularly true for data centers that have overhead obstructions such as existing duct work, lighting and power, and network distribution.

Cold aisle containment challenges

  • When utilizing a cold aisle system, the rest of the data center becomes hot, resulting in high return air temperatures. It also may create operational issues if any non-contained equipment such as low-density storage is installed in the general data center space.
  • The conditioned air that leaks from the openings under equipment like PDUs and raised floor tend to enter air paths that return to cooling units. This reduces the efficiency of the system.
  • In many cases, cold aisles have intermediate ceilings over the aisle. This may affect the overall fire protection and lighting design, especially when added to an existing data center.

How to Choose the Best Containment Option?

Every data center is unique. To find the most suitable option, you have to take into account a number of aspects. The first thing is to evaluate your site and calculate the Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) of the computer room. Then observe the unique layout and architecture of each computer room to discover conditions that make hot aisle or cold aisle containment preferable. With adequate information and careful consideration, you will be able to choose the best containment option for your data center.

Article Source: Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

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The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic caused several companies to shut down, and the implications were reduced production and altered supply chains. In the tech world, where silicon microchips are the heart of everything electronic, raw material shortage became a barrier to new product creation and development.

During the lockdown periods, some essential workers were required to stay home, which meant chip manufacturing was unavailable for several months. By the time lockdown was lifted and the world embraced the new normal, the rising demand for consumer and business electronics was enough to ripple up the supply chain.

Below, we’ve discussed the challenges associated with the current chip shortage, what to expect moving forward, and the possible interventions necessary to overcome the supply chain constraints.

Challenges Caused by the Current Chip Shortage

As technology and rapid innovation sweeps across industries, semiconductor chips have become an essential part of manufacturing – from devices like switches, wireless routers, computers, and automobiles to basic home appliances.

devices

To understand and quantify the impact this chip shortage has caused spanning the industry, we’ll need to look at some of the most affected sectors. Here’s a quick breakdown of how things have unfolded over the last eighteen months.

Automobile Industry

in North America and Europe had slowed or stopped production due to a lack of computer chips. Major automakers like Tesla, Ford, BMW, and General Motors have all been affected. The major implication is that the global automobile industry will manufacture 4 million fewer cars by the end of 2021 than earlier planned, and it will forfeit an average of $110 billion in revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics such as desktop PCs and smartphones rose in demand throughout the pandemic, thanks to the shift to virtual learning among students and the rise in remote working. At the start of the pandemic, several automakers slashed their vehicle production forecasts before abandoning open semiconductor chip orders. And while the consumer electronics industry stepped in and scooped most of those microchips, the supply couldn’t catch up with the demand.

Data Centers

Most chip fabrication companies like Samsung Foundries, Global Foundries, and TSMC prioritized high-margin orders from PC and data center customers during the pandemic. And while this has given data centers a competitive edge, it isn’t to say that data centers haven’t been affected by the global chip shortage.

data center

Some of the components data centers have struggled to source include those needed to put together their data center switching systems. These include BMC chips, capacitors, resistors, circuit boards, etc. Another challenge is the extended lead times due to wafer and substrate shortages, as well as reduced assembly capacity.

LED Lighting

LED backlights common in most display screens are powered by hard-to-find semiconductor chips. The prices of gadgets with LED lighting features are now highly-priced due to the shortage of raw materials and increased market demand. This is expected to continue up to the beginning of 2022.

Renewable Energy- Solar and Turbines

Renewable energy systems, particularly solar and turbines, rely on semiconductors and sensors to operate. The global supply chain constraints have hurt the industry and even forced some energy solutions manufacturers like Enphase Energy to

Semiconductor Trends: What to Expect Moving Forward

In response to the global chip shortage, several component manufacturers have ramped up production to help mitigate the shortages. However, top electronics and semiconductor manufacturers say the crunch will only worsen before it gets better. Most of these industry leaders speculate that the semiconductor shortage could persist into 2023.

Based on the ongoing disruption and supply chain volatility, various analysts in a recent CNBC article and Bloomberg interview echoed their views, and many are convinced that the coming year will be challenging. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel Corp., noted in April 2021 that the chip shortage would recover after a couple of years.

DigiTimes Report found that Intel and AMD server ICs and data centers have seen their lead times extend to 45 to 66 weeks.

The world’s third-largest EMS and OEM provider, Flex Ltd., expects the global semiconductor shortage to proceed into 2023.

In May 2021, Global Foundries, the fourth-largest contract semiconductor manufacturer, signed a $1.6 billion, 3-year silicon supply deal with AMD, and in late June, it launched its new $4 billion, 300mm-wafer facility in Singapore. Yet, the company says its production capacity will only increase component production earliest in 2023.

TMSC, one of the leading pure-play foundries in the industry, says it won’t meaningfully increase the component output until 2023. However, it’s optimistic that the company will ramp up the fabrication of automotive micro-controllers by 60% by the end of 2021.

From the industry insights above, it’s evident that despite the many efforts that major players put into resolving the global chip shortage, the bottlenecks will probably persist throughout 2022.

Additionally, some industry observers believe that the move by big tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to design their own chips for cloud and data center business could worsen the chip shortage crisis and other problems facing the semiconductor industry.

article, the authors hint that the entry of Microsoft, Amazon, and Google into the chip design market will be a turning point in the industry. These tech giants have the resources to design superior and cost-effective chips of their own, something most chip designers like Intel have in limited proportions.

Since these tech giants will become independent, each will be looking to create component stockpiles to endure long waits and meet production demands between inventory refreshes. Again, this will further worsen the existing chip shortage.

Possible Solutions

To stay ahead of the game, major industry players such as chip designers and manufacturers and the many affected industries have taken several steps to mitigate the impacts of the chip shortage.

For many chip makers, expanding their production capacity has been an obvious response. Other suppliers in certain regions decided to stockpile and limit exports to better respond to market volatility and political pressures.

Similarly, improving the yields or increasing the number of chips manufactured from a silicon wafer is an area that many manufacturers have invested in to boost chip supply by some given margin.

chip manufacturing

Here are the other possible solutions that companies have had to adopt:

Embracing flexibility to accommodate older chip technologies that may not be “state of the art” but are still better than nothing.

Leveraging software solutions such as smart compression and compilation to build efficient AI models to help unlock hardware capabilities.

LED Lighting

The latest global chip shortage has led to severe shocks in the semiconductor supply chain, affecting several industries from automobile, consumer electronics, data centers, LED, and renewables.

Industry thought leaders believe that shortages will persist into 2023 despite the current build-up in mitigation measures. And while full recovery will not be witnessed any time soon, some chip makers are optimistic that they will ramp up fabrication to contain the demand among their automotive customers.

That said, staying ahead of the game is an all-time struggle considering this is an issue affecting every industry player, regardless of size or market position. Expanding production capacity, accommodating older chip technologies, and leveraging software solutions to unlock hardware capabilities are some of the promising solutions.

Added

This article is being updated continuously. If you want to share any comments on FS switches, or if you are inclined to test and review our switches, please email us via media@fs.com or inform us on social media platforms. We cannot wait to hear more about your ideas on FS switches.

Article Source: The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

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The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

Introduction

Data center design is to provide IT equipment with a high-quality, standard, safe, and reliable operating environment, fully meeting the environmental requirements for stable and reliable operation of IT devices and prolonging the service life of computer systems. Data center design is the most important part of data center construction directly relating to the success or failure of data center long term planning, so its design should be professional, advanced, integral, flexible, safe, reliable, and practical.

9 Missteps in Data Center Design

Data center design is one of the effective solutions to overcrowded or outdated data centers, while inappropriate design results in obstacles for growing enterprises. Poor planning can lead to a waste of valuable funds and more issues, increasing operating expenses. Here are 9 mistakes to be aware of when designing a data center.

Miscalculation of Total Cost

Data center operation expense is made up of two key components: maintenance costs and operating costs. Maintenance costs refer to the costs associated with maintaining all critical facility support infrastructure, such as OEM equipment maintenance contracts, data center cleaning fees, etc. Operating costs refer to costs associated with day-to-day operations and field personnel, such as the creation of site-specific operational documentation, capacity management, and QA/QC policies and procedures. If you plan to build or expand a business-critical data center, the best approach is to focus on three basic parameters: capital expenditures, operating and maintenance expenses, and energy costs. Taking any component out of the equation, you might face the case that the model does not properly align an organization’s risk profile and business spending profile.

Unspecified Planning and Infrastructure Assessment

Infrastructure assessment and clear planning are essential processes for data center construction. For example, every construction project needs to have a chain of command that clearly defines areas of responsibility and who is responsible for aspects of data center design. Those who are involved need to evaluate the potential applications of the data center infrastructure and what types of connectivity requirements they need. In general, planning involves a rack-by-rack blueprint, including network connectivity and mobile devices, power requirements, system topology, cooling facilities, virtual local and on-premises networks, third-party applications, and operational systems. For the importance of data center design, you should have a thorough understanding of the functionality before it begins. Otherwise, you’ll fall short and cost more money to maintain.

data center

Inappropriate Design Criteria

Two missteps can send enterprises into an overspending death spiral. First of all, everyone has different design ideas, but not everyone is right. Second, the actual business is mismatched with the desired vision and does not support the setting of kilowatts per square foot or rack. Over planning in design is a waste of capital. Higher-level facilities also result in higher operational and energy costs. A data center designer establishes the proper design criteria and performance characteristics and then builds capital expenditure and operating expenses around it.

Unsuitable Data Center Site

Enterprises often need to find a perfect building location when designing a data center. If you don’t get some site-critical information, it will lead to some cases. Large users are well aware of the data center and have concerns about power availability and cost, fiber optics, and irresistible factors. Baseline users often have business model shells in their core business areas that decide whether they need to build or refurbish. Hence, premature site selection or unreasonable geographic location will fail to meet the design requirements.

Pre-design Space Planning

It is also very important to plan the space capacity inside the data center. The raised floor to support ratio can be as high as 1 to 1, while the mechanical and electrical equipment needs enough space to accommodate. In addition, the planning of office and IT equipment storage areas also needed to be considered. Therefore, it is very critical to estimate and plan the space capacity during data center design. Estimation errors can make the design of a data center unsuitable for the site space, which means suspending project re-evaluation and possibly repurchasing components.

Mismatched Business Goals

Enterprises need to clearly understand their business goals when debugging a data center so that they can complete the data center design. After meeting the business goals, something should be considered, such as which specific applications the data center supports, additional computing power, and later business expansion. Additionally, enterprises need to communicate these goals to data center architects, engineers, and builders to ensure that the overall design meets business needs.

Design Limitations

The importance of modular design is well-publicized in the data center industry. Although the modular approach refers to adding extra infrastructure in an immediate mode to preserve capital, it doesn’t guarantee complete success. Modular and flexible design is the key to long-term stable operation, also meets your data center plans. On the power system, you have to take note of adding UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) capacity to existing modules without system disruption. Input and output distribution system design shouldn’t be overlooked, it can allow the data center to adapt to any future changes in the underlying construction standards.

Improper Data Center Power Equipment

To design a data center to maximize equipment uptime and reduce power consumption, you must choose the right power equipment based on the projected capacity. Typically, you might use redundant computing to predict triple server usage to ensure adequate power, which is a waste. Long-term power consumption trends are what you need to consider. Install automatic power-on generators and backup power sources, and choose equipment that can provide enough power to support the data center without waste.

Over-complicated Design

In many cases, redundant targets introduce some complexity. If you add multiple ways to build a modular system, things can quickly get complicated. The over-complexity of data center design means more equipment and components, and these components are the source of failure, which can cause problems such as:

  • Human error. Data statistics errors lead to system data vulnerability and increase operational risks.
  • Expensive. In addition to equipment and components, the maintenance of components failure also incurs more charges.
  • Design concept. If maintainability wasn’t considered by the data center design when the IT team has the requirements of operating or servicing, system operational normality even human security get impacts.

Conclusion

Avoid the nine missteps above to find design solutions for data center IT infrastructure and build a data center that suits your business. Data center design missteps have some impacts on enterprises, such as business expansion, infrastructure maintenance, and security risks. Hence, all infrastructure facilities and data center standards must be rigorously estimated during data center design to ensure long-term stable operation within a reasonable budget.

Article Source: The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

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Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

As the global chip shortage let rip, many chip manufacturers have to slow or even halt semiconductor production. Makers of all kinds of electronics such as switches, PCs, servers are all scrambling to get enough chips in the pipeline to match the surging demand for their products. Every manufacturer, supplier and solution provider in datacenter industry is feeling the impact of the ongoing chip scarcity. However, relief is nowhere in sight yet.

What’s Happening?

Due to the rise of AI and cloud computing, datacenter chips have been a highly charged topic in recent times. As networking switches and modern servers, indispensable equipment in datacenter applications, use more advanced components than an average consumer’s PC, naturally when it comes to chip manufacturers and suppliers, data centers are given the top priority. However, with the demand for data center machines far outstripping supply, chip shortages may continue to be pervasive across the next few years. Coupled with economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic, it further puts stress on datacenter management.

According to a report from the Dell’Oro Group, robust datacenter switch sales over the past year could foretell a looming shortage. As the mismatch in supply and demand keeps growing, enterprises looking to buy datacenter switches face extended lead times and elevated costs over the course of the next year.

“So supply is decreasing and demand is increasing,” said Sameh Boujelbene, leader of the analyst firm’s campus and data-center research team. “There’s a belief that things will get worse in the second half of the year, but no consensus on when it’ll start getting better.”

Back in March, Broadcom said that more than 90% of its total chip output for 2021 had already been ordered by customers, who are pressuring it for chips to meet booming demand for servers used in cloud data centers and consumer electronics such as 5G phones.

“We intend to meet such demand, and in doing so, we will maintain our disciplined process of carefully reviewing our backlog, identifying real end-user demand, and delivering products accordingly,” CEO Hock Tan said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

Major Implications

Extended Lead Times

Arista Networks, one of the largest data center networking switch vendors and a supplier of switches to cloud providers, foretells that switch-silicon lead times will be extended to as long as 52 weeks.

“The supply chain has never been so constrained in Arista history,” the company’s CEO, Jayshree Ullal, said on an earnings call. “To put this in perspective, we now have to plan for many components with 52-week lead time. COVID has resulted in substrate and wafer shortages and reduced assembly capacity. Our contract manufacturers have experienced significant volatility due to country specific COVID orders. Naturally, we’re working more closely with our strategic suppliers to improve planning and delivery.”

Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom, also acknowledged on an earnings call that the company had “started extending lead times.” He said, “part of the problem was that customers were now ordering more chips and demanding them faster than usual, hoping to buffer against the supply chain issues.”

Elevated Cost

Vertiv, one of the biggest sellers of datacenter power and cooling equipment, mentioned it had to delay previously planned “footprint optimization programs” due to strained supply. The company’s CEO, Robert Johnson, said on an earnings call, “We have decided to delay some of those programs.”

Supply chain constraints combined with inflation would cause “some incremental unexpected costs over the short term,” he said, “To share the cost with our customers where possible may be part of the solution.”

“Prices are definitely going to be higher for a lot of devices that require a semiconductor,” says David Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor who spent almost three decades serving on the board of Intel.

Conclusion

There is no telling that how the situation will continue playing out and, most importantly, when supply and demand might get back to normal. Opinions vary on when the shortage will end. The CEO of chipmaker STMicro estimated that the shortage will end by early 2023. Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said it could last two more years.

As a high-tech network solutions and services provider, FS has been actively working with our customers to help them plan for, adapt to, and overcome the supply chain challenges, hoping that we can both ride out this chip shortage crisis. At least, we cannot lose hope, as advised by Bill Wyckoff, vice president at technology equipment provider SHI International, “This is not an ‘all is lost’ situation. There are ways and means to keep your equipment procurement and refresh plans on track if you work with the right partners.”

Article Source: Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

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Infographic – What Is a Data Center?FacebookTwitterEmail分享

Data Center White Space and Gray Space

Nowadays, with the advent of the 5G era and the advancement of technology, more and more enterprises rely on IT for almost any choice. Therefore, their demand for better data center services has increased dramatically.

However, due to the higher capital and operating costs caused by the cluttered distribution of equipment in data centers, the space has become one of the biggest factors restricting data centers. In order to solve that problem, it’s necessary to optimize the utilization of existing space, for example, to consolidate white space and gray space in data centers.

What is data center white space?

Data center white space refers to the space where IT equipment and infrastructure are located. It includes servers, storage, network gear, racks, air conditioning units, power distribution systems.

White space is usually measured in square feet, ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a hundred thousand square feet. It can be either raised floor or hard floor (solid floor). Raised floors are developed to provide locations for power cabling, tracks for data cabling, cold air distribution systems for IT equipment cooling, etc. It can have access to all elements easily. Different from raised floors, cooling and cabling systems for hard floors are installed overhead. Today, there is a trend from raised floors to hard floors.

Typically, the white space area is the only productive area where an enterprise can utilize the data center space. Moreover, online activities like working from home have increased rapidly in recent years, especially due to the impact of COVID-19, which has increased business demand for data center white space. Therefore, the enterprise has to design data center white space with care.data center white space

What is data center gray space?

Different from data center white space, data center gray space refers to the space where back-end equipment is located. This includes switchgear, UPS, transformers, chillers, and generators.

The existence of gray space is to support the white space, therefore the amount of gray space in equipment is determined by the space assigned for data center white space. The more white space is needed, the more backend infrastructure is required to support it.data center gray space

How to improve the efficiency of space?

Building more data centers and consuming more energy is not a good option for IT organizations to make use of data center space. To increase data center sustainability and reduce energy costs, it’s necessary to use some strategies to combine data center white space and gray space, thus optimizing the efficiency of data center space.

White Space Efficiency Strategies

  • Virtualized technology: The technology of virtualization can integrate many virtual machines into physical machines, reducing physical hardware and saving lots of data center space. Virtualization management systems such as VMware and Hyper V can create a virtualized environment.
  • Cloud computing resources: With the help of the public cloud, enterprises can transfer data through the public internet, thus reducing their needs for physical servers and other IT infrastructure.
  • Data center planning: DCIM software, a kind of data center infrastructure management tool, can help estimate current and future power and server needs. It can also help data centers track and manage resources and optimize their size to save more space.
  • Monitor power and cooling capacity: In addition to the capacity planning about space, monitoring power, and cooling capacity is also necessary to properly configure equipment.

Gray Space Efficiency Strategies

  • State-of-art technologies: Technologies like flywheels can increase the power of the machine, reducing the number of batteries required for the power supply. Besides, the use of solar panels can reduce data center electricity bills. And water cooling can also help reduce the costs of cooling solutions.

Compared with white space efficiency techniques, grace space efficiency strategies are pretty less. However, the most efficient plan is to combine data center white space with gray space. By doing so, enterprises can realize the optimal utilization of data center space.

Article Source: Data Center White Space and Gray Space

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Infographic – What Is a Data Center?

The Internet is where we store and receive a huge amount of information. Where is all the information stored? The answer is data centers. At its simplest, a data center is a dedicated place that organizations use to house their critical applications and data. Here is a short look into the basics of data centers. You will get to know the data center layout, the data pathway, and common types of data centers.

what is a data center

To know more about data centers, click here.

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What Is a Containerized Data Center: Pros and Cons

The rise of the digital economy has promoted the rapid and vigorous development of industries like cloud computing, Internet of Things, and big data, which have put forward higher requirements for data centers. The drawbacks of traditional data centers have emerged gradually, which are increasingly unable to meet the needs of the market. The prefabricated containerized data center meets the current market demand and will usher in a period of rapid development.

What Is a Containerized Data Center?

A containerized data center comes equipped with data center infrastructures housed in a container. There are different types of containerized data centers, ranging from simple IT containers to comprehensive all-in-one systems integrating the entire physical IT infrastructure.

Generally, a containerized data center includes networking equipment, servers, cooling system, UPS, cable pathways, storage devices, lighting and physical security systems.

A Containerized Data Center
A Containerized Data Center

Pros of Containerized Data Centers

Portability & Durability

Containerized data centers are fabricated in a manufacturing facility and shipped to the end-user in containers. Due to the container appearance, they are flexible to move and cost-saving compared to traditional data centers. What’s more, containers are dustproof, waterproof, and shock-resistant, making containerized data centers suitable for various harsh environments.

Rapid Deployment

Unlike traditional data centers with limited flexibility and difficult management, containerized data centers are prefabricated and pretested at the factory, and are transported to the deployment site for direct set-up. With access to utility power, network and water, the data center can work well. Therefore, the on-site deployment period for containerized data centers is substantially shortened to 2~3 months, demonstrating rapid and flexible deployment.

Energy Efficiency

Containerized data centers are designed for energy efficiency, which effectively limits ongoing operational costs. They enable power and cooling systems to match capacity and workload well, improving work efficiency and reducing over-configuration. More specifically, containerized data centers adopt in-row cooling systems to deliver air to adjacent hotspots with strict airflow management, which greatly improves cold air utilization, saves space and electricity costs in the server room, and reduces power usage efficiency (PUE).

High Scalability

Because of its unique modular design, a containerized data center is easy to install and scale up. More data centers can be added to the modular architecture of containerized data centers according to the requirements to optimize the IT configuration in a data center. With high scalability, containerized data centers can meet the changing demands of the organization rapidly and effortlessly.

Cons of Containerized Data Centers

Limited Computing Performance: Although it contains the entire IT infrastructure, a containerized data center still lacks the same computing capability as a traditional data center.

Low Security: Isolated containerized data centers are more vulnerable to break-ins than data center buildings. And without numerous built-in redundancies, an entire containerized data center can be shut down by a single point of failure.

Lack of Availability: It is challenging and expensive to provide utilities and networks for containerized data centers placed in edge areas.

Conclusion

Despite some shortcomings, containerized data centers have obvious advantages over traditional data centers. From the perspective of both current short-term investment and future long-term operating costs, containerized data centers have become the future trend of data center construction at this stage.

Article Source: What Is a Containerized Data Center: Pros and Cons

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5G and Multi-Access Edge Computing

Over the years, the Internet of Things and IoT devices have grown tremendously, effectively boosting productivity and accelerating network agility. This technology has also elevated the adoption of edge computing while ushering in a set of advanced edge devices. By adopting edge computing, computational needs are efficiently met since the computing resources are distributed along the communication path, i.e., via a decentralized computing infrastructure.

One of the benefits of edge computing is improved performance as analytics capabilities are brought closer to the machine. An edge data center also reduces operational costs, thanks to the reduced bandwidth requirement and low latency.

Below, we’ve explored more about 5G wireless systems and multi-access edge computing (MEC), an advanced form of edge computing, and how both extend cloud computing benefits to the edge and closer to the users. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Multi-Access Edge Computing

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a relatively new technology that offers cloud computing capabilities at the network’s edge. This technology works by moving some computing capabilities out of the cloud and closer to the end devices. Hence data doesn’t travel as far, resulting in fast processing speeds.

Ideally, there are two types of MEC, dedicated MEC and distributed MEC. Dedicated MEC is typically deployed at the customer’s site on a mobile private network and is designed only for one business. On the other hand, distributed MEC is deployed on a public network, either 4G or 5G, and connects shared assets and resources.

With both the dedicated and distributed MEC, applications run locally, and data is processed in real or near real-time. This helps avoid latency issues for faster response rates and decision-making. MEC technology has seen wider adoption in video analytics, augmented reality, location services, data caching, local content distribution, etc.

How MEC and 5G are Changing Different Industries

At the heart of multi-access edge computing are wireless and radio access network technologies that open up different networks to a wide range of innovative services. Today, 5G technology is the ultimate network that supports ultra-reliable low latency communication. It also provides an enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) capability for use cases involving significant data rates such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

That said, 5G use cases can be categorized into three domains, massive IoT, mission-critical IoT, and enhanced mobile broadband. Each of the three categories requires different network features regarding security, mobility, bandwidth, policy control, latency, and reliability.

Why MEC Adoption Is on the Rise

5G MEC adoption is growing exponentially, and there are several reasons why this is the case. One reason is that this technology aligns with the distributed and scalable nature of the cloud, making it a key driver of technical transformation. Similarly, MEC technology is a critical business transformation change agent that offers the opportunity to improve service delivery and even support new market verticals.

Among the top use cases driving the high level of 5G, MEC implementation includes video content delivery, the emergence of smart cities, smart utilities (e.g., water and power grids), and connected cars. This also showcases the significant role MEC plays in different IoT domains. Here’s a quick overview of the primary use cases:

  • Autonomous vehicles – 5G MEC can help enhance operational functions such as continuous sensing and real-time traffic monitoring. This reduces latency issues and increases bandwidth.
  • Smart homes – MEC technology can process data locally, boosting privacy and security. It also reduces communication latency and allows for fast mobility and relocation.
  • AR/VR – Moving computational capabilities and processes to edge amplifies the immersive experience to users, plus it extends the battery-life of AR/VR devices.
  • Smart energy – MEC resolves traffic congestion issues and delays due to huge data generation and intermittent connectivity. It also reduces cyber-attacks by enforcing security mechanisms closer to the edge.
MEC Adoption
MEC Adoption

Getting Started With 5G MEC

One of the key benefits of adopting 5G MEC technology is openness, particularly API openness and the option to integrate third-party apps. Standards compliance and application agility are the other value propositions of multi-access edge computing. Therefore, enterprises looking to benefit from a flexible and open cloud should base their integration on the key competencies they want to achieve.

One of the challenges common during the integration process is hardware platforms’ limitations, as far as scale and openness are concerned. Similarly, deploying 5G MEC technology is costly, especially for small-scale businesses with limited financial backing. Other implementation issues include ecosystem and standards immaturity, software limitations, culture, and technical skillset challenges.

To successfully deploy multi-access edge computing, you need an effective 5G MEC implementation strategy that’s true and tested. You should also consider partnering with an expert IT or edge computing company for professional guidance.

5G MEC Technology: Key Takeaways

Edge-driven transformation is a game-changer in the modern business world, and 5G multi-access edge computing technology is undoubtedly leading the cause. Enterprises that embrace this new technology in their business models benefit from streamlined operations, reduced costs, and enhanced customer experience.

Even then, MEC integration isn’t without its challenges. Companies looking to deploy multi-access edge computing technology should have a solid implementation strategy that aligns with their entire digital transformation agenda to avoid silos.

Article Source: 5G and Multi-Access Edge Computing

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Carrier Neutral vs. Carrier Specific: Which to Choose?

As the need for data storage drives the growth of data centers, colocation facilities are increasingly important to enterprises. A colocation data center brings many advantages to an enterprise data center, such as carriers helping enterprises manage their IT infrastructure that reduces the cost for management. There are two types of hosting carriers: carrier-neutral and carrier-specific. In this article, we will discuss the differentiation of them.

Carrier Neutral and Carrier Specific Data Center: What Are They?

Accompanied by the accelerated growth of the Internet, the exponential growth of data has led to a surge in the number of data centers to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and market segments. Two types of carriers that offer managed services have emerged on the market.

Carrier-neutral data centers allow access and interconnection of multiple different carriers while the carriers can find solutions that meet the specific needs of an enterprise’s business. Carrier-specific data centers, however, are monolithic, supporting only one carrier that controls all access to corporate data. At present, most enterprises choose carrier-neutral data centers to support their business development and avoid some unplanned accidents.

There is an example, in 2021, about 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure in AWS was overwhelmed and down for 9 hours. This not only affected millions of websites, but also countless other devices running on AWS. A week later, AWS was down again for about an hour, bringing down the Playstation network, Zoom, and Salesforce, among others. The third downtime of AWS also impacted Internet giants such as Slack, Asana, Hulu, and Imgur to a certain extent. 3 outages of cloud infrastructure in one month took a beyond measure cost to AWS, which also proved the fragility of cloud dependence.

In the above example, we can know that the management of the data center by the enterprise will affect the business development due to some unplanned accidents, which is a huge loss for the enterprise. To lower the risks caused by using a single carrier, enterprises need to choose a carrier-neutral data center and adjust the system architecture to protect their data center.

Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center?

Carrier-neutral data centers are data centers operated by third-party colocation providers, but these third parties are rarely involved in providing Internet access services. Hence, the existence of carrier-neutral data centers enhances the diversity of market competition and provides enterprises with more beneficial options.

Another colocation advantage of a carrier-neutral data center is the ability to change internet providers as needed, saving the labor cost of physically moving servers elsewhere. We have summarized several main advantages of a carrier-neutral data center as follows.

Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center

Redundancy

A carrier-neutral colocation data center is independent of the network operators and not owned by a single ISP. Out of this advantage, it offers enterprises multiple connectivity options, creating a fully redundant infrastructure. If one of the carriers loses power, the carrier-neutral data center can instantly switch servers to another online carrier. This ensures that the entire infrastructure is running and always online. On the network connection, a cross-connect is used to connect the ISP or telecom company directly to the customer’s sub-server to obtain bandwidth from the source. This can effectively avoid network switching to increase additional delay and ensure network performance.

Options and Flexibility

Flexibility is a key factor and advantage for carrier-neutral data center providers. For one thing, the carrier neutral model can increase or decrease the network transmission capacity through the operation of network transmission. And as the business continues to grow, enterprises need colocation data center providers that can provide scalability and flexibility. For another thing, carrier-neutral facilities can provide additional benefits to their customers, such as offering enterprise DR options, interconnect, and MSP services. Whether your business is large or small, a carrier-neutral data center provider may be the best choice for you.

Cost-effectiveness

First, colocation data center solutions can provide a high level of control and scalability, expanding opportunity to storage, which can support business growth and save some expenses. Additionally, it also lowers physical transport costs for enterprises. Second, with all operators in the market competing for the best price and maximum connectivity, a net neutral data center has a cost advantage over a single network facility. What’s more, since freedom of use to any carrier in a carrier-neutral data center, enterprises can choose the best cost-benefit ratio for their needs.

Reliability

Carrier-neutral data centers also boast reliability. One of the most important aspects of a data center is the ability to have 100% uptime. Carrier-neutral data center providers can provide users with ISP redundancy that a carrier-specific data center cannot. Having multiple ISPs at the same time gives better security for all clients. Even if one carrier fails, another carrier may keep the system running. At the same time, the data center service provider provides 24/7 security including all the details and uses advanced technology to ensure the security of login access at all access points to ensure that customer data is safe. Also, the multi-layered protection of the physical security cabinet ensures the safety of data transmission.

Summary

While many enterprises need to determine the best option for their company’s specific business needs, by comparing both carrier-neutral and carrier-specific, choosing a network carrier neutral data center service provider is a better option for today’s cloud-based business customers. Several advantages, such as maximizing total cost, lower network latency, and better network coverage, are of working with a carrier-neutral managed service provider. With no downtime and constant concerns about equipment performance, IT decision-makers for enterprise clients have more time to focus on the more valuable areas that drive continued business growth and success.

Article Source: Carrier Neutral vs. Carrier Specific: Which to Choose?

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Data Center Infrastructure Basics and Management Solutions

Data center infrastructure refers to all the physical components in a data center environment. These physical components play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a data center. Hence, data center management challenges are an urgent issue that IT departments need to pay attention to. On the one hand, it is to improve the energy efficiency of the data center; on the other hand, it is to know about the operating performance of the data center in real-time ensuring its good working condition and maintaining enterprise development.

Data Center Infrastructure Basics

The standard for data center infrastructure is divided into four tiers, each of which consists of different facilities. They mainly include cabling systems, power facilities, cooling facilities, network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources.

There are roughly two types of infrastructure inside a data center: the core components and IT infrastructure. Network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources belong to the former, while cooling equipment, power, redundancy, etc. belong to the latter.

Core Components

Network, storage, and computing systems are vital infrastructures for data centers to achieve sharing access to applications and data, providing data centers with shared access to applications and data. Also, they are the core components of data centers.

Network Infrastructure

Datacenter network infrastructure is a combination of network resources, consisting of switches, routers, load balancing, analytics, etc., to facilitate the storage and processing of applications and data. Modern data center networking architectures, through using full-stack networking and security virtualization platforms that support a rich set of data services, can achieve connecting everything from VMs, containers, and bare-metal applications, while enabling centralized management and fine-grained security controls.

Storage Infrastructure

Datacenter storage is a general term for the tools, technologies and processes for designing, implementing, managing and monitoring storage infrastructure and resources in data centers, mainly referring to the equipment and software technologies that implement data and application storage in data center facilities. These include hard drives, tape drives and other forms of internal and external storage and backup management software utilities external storage facilities/solutions.

Computing Resources

A data center meter is a memory and processing power to run applications, usually provided by high-end servers. In the edge computing model, the processing and memory used to run applications on servers may be virtualized, physical, distributed among containers or distributed among remote nodes.

IT Infrastructure

As data centers become critical to enterprise IT operations, it is equally important to keep them running efficiently. When designing data center infrastructure, it is necessary to evaluate its physical environment, including cabling system, power system, cooling system to ensure the security of the physical environment of the data center.

Cabling Systems

The integrated cabling is an important part of data center cable management, supporting the connection, intercommunication and operation of the entire data center network. The system is usually composed of copper cables, optical cables, connectors and wiring equipment. The application of the data center integrated wiring system has the characteristics of high density, high performance, high reliability, fast installation, modularization, future-oriented, and easy application.

Power Systems

Datacenter digital infrastructure requires electricity to operate. Even an interruption of a fraction of a second will result in a significant impact. Hence, power infrastructure is one of the most critical components of a data center. The data center power chain starts at the substation and ends up through building transformers, switches, uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, and remote power panels to racks and servers.

Cooling Systems

Data center servers generate a lot of heat while running. Based on this characteristic, cooling is critical to data center operations, aiming to keep systems online. The amount of power each rack can keep cool by itself places a limit on the amount of power a data center can consume. Generally, each rack can allow the data center to operate at an average 5-10 kW cooling density, but some may be higher.

data center

Data Center Infrastructure Management Solutions

Due to the complexity of IT equipment in a data center, the availability, reliability, and maintenance of its components require more attention. Efficient data center operations can be achieved through balanced investments in facilities and accommodating equipment.

Energy Usage Monitoring Equipment

Traditional data centers lack the energy usage monitoring instruments and sensors required to comply with ASHRAE standards and collect measurement data for use in calculating data center PUE. It results in a poor monitoring environment for the power system of the data center. One measure is to install energy monitoring components and systems on power systems to measure data center energy efficiency. Enterprise teams can implement effective strategies by the measure to balance overall energy usage efficiency and effectively monitor the energy usage of all other nodes.

Cooling Facilities Optimization

Independent computer room air conditioning units used in traditional data centers often have separate controls and set points, resulting in excessive operation due to temperature and humidity adjustments. It’s a good way for helping servers to achieve cooling by creating hot-aisle/cold-aisle layouts to maximize the flow of cold air to the equipment intakes and the hot exhaust air from the equipment racks. The creation of hot or cold aisles can eliminate the mixing of hot and cold air by adding partitions or ceilings.

CRAC Efficiency Improvement

Packaged DX air conditioners likely compose the most common type of cooling equipment for smaller data centers. These units are often described as CRAC units. There are, however, there are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of the cooling system employing DX units. Indoor CRAC units are available with a few different heat rejection options.

  • – As with rooftop units, adding evaporative spray can improve the efficiency of air-cooled CRAC units.
  • – A pre-cooling water coil can be added to the CRAC unit upstream of the evaporator coil. When ambient conditions allow the condenser water to be cooled to the extent that it provides direct cooling benefits to the air entering the CRAC unit, the condenser water is diverted to the pre-cooling coil. This will reduce or sometimes eliminate the need for compressor-based cooling for the CRAC unit.

DCIM

Data center infrastructure management is the combination of IT and operations to manage and optimize the performance of data center infrastructure within an organization. DCIM tools help data center operators monitor, measure, and manage the utilization and energy consumption of data center-related equipment and facility infrastructure components, effectively improving the relationship between data center buildings and their systems.

DCIM enables bridging of information across organizational domains such as data center operations, facilities, and IT to maximize data center utilization. Data center operators create flexible and efficient operations by visualizing real-time temperature and humidity status, equipment status, power consumption, and air conditioning workloads in server rooms.

Preventive Maintenance

In addition to the above management and operation solutions for infrastructure, unplanned maintenance is also an aspect to consider. Unplanned maintenance typically costs 3-9 times more than planned maintenance, primarily due to overtime labor costs, collateral damage, emergency parts, and service calls. IT teams can create a recurring schedule to perform preventive maintenance on the data center. Regularly checking the infrastructure status and repairing and upgrading the required components promptly can keep the internal infrastructure running efficiently, as well as extend the lifespan and overall efficiency of the data center infrastructure.

Article Source: Data Center Infrastructure Basics and Management Solutions

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Why Green Data Center Matters

Background

Green data centers appear in the concept of enterprise construction, due to the continuous growth of new data storage requirements and the steady enhancement of green environmental protection awareness. Newly retained data must be protected, cooled, and transferred efficiently. This means that the huge energy demands of data centers present challenges in terms of cost and sustainability, and enterprises are increasingly concerned about the energy demands of their data centers. It can be seen that sustainable and renewable energy resources have become the development trend of green data centers.

Green Data Center Is a Trend

A green data center is a facility similar to a regular data center that hosts servers to store, manage, and disseminate data. It is designed to minimize environmental impact by providing maximum energy efficiency. Green data centers have the same characteristics as typical data centers, but the internal system settings and technologies can effectively reduce energy consumption and carbon footprints for enterprises.

The internal construction of a green data center requires the support of a series of services, such as cloud services, cable TV services, Internet services, colocation services, and data protection security services. Of course, many enterprises or carriers have equipped their data centers with cloud services. Some enterprises may also need to rely on other carriers to provide Internet and related services.

According to market trends, the global green data center market is worth around $59.32 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.5% in the future to 2026. It also shows that the transition to renewable energy sources is accelerating because of the growth of green data centers.

As the growing demand for data storage drives the modernization of data centers, it also places higher demands on power and cooling systems. On the one hand, data centers need to convert non-renewable energy into electricity to generate electricity, resulting in rising electricity costs; on the other hand, some enterprises need to complete the construction of cooling facilities and server cleaning through a lot of water, all of which are ample opportunities for the green data center market. For example, Facebook and Amazon continue to expand their businesses, which has also increased the need for data storage of global companies. These enterprises need a lot of data to complete the analysis of potential customers, but these data processing needs will require a lot of energy. Therefore, the realization of green data centers has become an urgent need for enterprises to solve these problems, and this can also bring more other benefits to enterprises.

Green Data Center Benefits

The green data center concept has grown rapidly in the process of enterprise data center development. Many businesses prefer alternative energy solutions for their data centers, which can bring many benefits to the business. The benefits of green data centers are as follows.

Energy Saving

Green data centers are designed not only to conserve energy, but also to reduce the need for expensive infrastructure to handle cooling and power needs. Sustainable or renewable energy is an abundant and reliable source of energy that can significantly reduce power usage efficiency (PUE). The reduction of PUE enables enterprises to use electricity more efficiently. Green data centers can also use colocation services to decrease server usage, lower water consumption, and reduce the cost of corporate cooling systems.

Cost Reduction

Green data centers use renewable energy to reduce power consumption and business costs through the latest technologies. Shutting down servers that are being upgraded or managed can also help reduce energy consumption at the facility and control operating costs.

Environmental Sustainability

Green data centers can reduce the environmental impact of computing hardware, thereby creating data center sustainability. The ever-increasing technological development requires the use of new equipment and technologies in modern data centers, and the power consumption of these new server devices and virtualization technologies reduces energy consumption, which is environmentally sustainable and brings economic benefits to data center operators.

green data center

Enterprise Social Image Enhancement

Today, users are increasingly interested in solving environmental problems. Green data center services help businesses resolve these issues quickly without compromising performance. Many customers already see responsible business conduct as a value proposition. Enterprises, by meeting compliance, regulatory requirements and regulations of the corresponding regions through the construction of green data centers, improve the image of their own social status.

Reasonable Use of Resources

In an environmentally friendly way, green data centers can allow enterprises to make better use of various resources such as electricity, physical space, and heat, integrating the internal facilities of the data center. It promotes the efficient operation of the data center while achieving rational utilization of resources.

5 Ways to Create a Green Data Center

After talking about the benefits of a green data center, then how to build a green data center. Here are a series of green data center solutions.

  • Virtualization extension: Enterprises can build a virtualized computer system with the help of virtualization technology, and run multiple applications and operating systems through fewer servers, thereby realizing the construction of green data centers.
  • Renewable energy utilization: Enterprises can opt for solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric plants that can generate energy to power backup generators without any harm to the environment.
  • Enter eco mode: Using an Alternating current USPs is one way to switch eco mode. This setup can significantly improve data center efficiency and PUE. Alternatively, enterprises can reuse equipment, which not only saves money, but also eliminates unnecessary emissions from seeping into the atmosphere.
  • Optimized cooling: Data center infrastructure managers can introduce simple and implementable cooling solutions, such as deploying hot aisle/cold aisle configurations. Data centers can further accelerate cooling output by investing in air handlers and coolers, and installing economizers that draw outside air from the natural environment to build green data center cooling systems.
  • DCIM and BMS systems: DCIM software and BMS software can help data centers managers identify and document ways to use more efficient energy, helping data centers become more efficient and achieve sustainability goals.

Conclusion

Data center sustainability means reducing energy/water consumption and carbon emissions to offset increased computing and mobile device usage to keep business running smoothly. The development of green data centers has become an imperative development trend, and it also caters to the green goals of global environmental protection. As a beneficiary, enterprises can not only save operating costs, but also effectively reduce energy consumption. This is also an important reason for the construction of green data centers.

Article Source: Why Green Data Center Matters

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What Is InfiniBand and InfiniBand Switch?

In 1999, with the rapid development of CPU performance, the existing defective I/O systems had become a bottleneck restricting server performance. The telecommunication industry had urgent need for a powerful next generation I/O standard and technology to cater for the high speed communication network. Under this circumstance InfiniBand originated. Accordingly InfiniBand switch combined high-speed fiber switch with InfiniBand technology was invented to achieve node to node communication in IB networking. This post will introduce what is InfiniBand, what is InfiniBand switch and how to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet.

What Is InfiniBand?

It was until 2005 that InfiniBand Architecture (IBA) has been widely used in clustered supercomputers. And ever since more and more telecom. giants are joining to the camp. Now InfiniBand has become one of the mainstream high performance computer (HPC) interconnect technologies in HPC, enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments. InfiniBand, infinite bandwidth, as the name reveals, is a high-performance computing networking communication standard. It features high throughput, low latency and high system scalability. InfiniBand as a cutting-edge technology, is ideal for communications between servers, server and storage, server and LAN/WAN/Internet. InfiniBand architecture is to use this technology to achieve multiple link networking for data follow between processors and I/O devices with non-blocking bandwidth.

InfiniBand topology HPC cluster an InfiniBand switch is integrated in each of the chassis

Figure 1: InfiniBand topology HPC cluster – an InfiniBand switch is integrated in each of the classis.

What Is InfiniBand Switch?

InfiniBand switch is also called as IB switch. Similar to PoE switch, SDN switch and NVGRE/VXLAN switch, IB switch is to add InfiniBand capability to network switch hardware. In the market Mellanox InfiniBand switch, Intel and Oracle InfiniteBand switch are three name-brand leading IB switches. InfiniBand switch price also varies from vendors and switch configurations. IB switch ports comes with different numbers, connector types and IB types. For instance, the leading IB switch vendor Mellanox manufactures 8 to 648-port QSFP/QSFP28 FDR/EDR InfiniBand switches. In a common 4 × links, FDR and EDR InfiniBand support respectively 56Gb/s and 100Gb/s. In addition to the popular FDR 56Gb/s and EDR 100Gb/s IinfiniBand, you can go for HDR 200G switch for higher speed and SDR 10GbE switch for lower speed. Other IB types available are DDR 20G, QDR 40G and FDR10 40G.

InfiniBand switch in a basic InfiniBand Architecture

Figure 2: InfiniBand switches in a basic InfiniBand Architecture by Mellanox to ensure higher bandwidth, lower latency, and enhanced scalability.

How to Bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet?

As Ethernet and InfiniBand are two different network standards, one question is of great concern – how to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet? In fact many modern InfiniBand switches have built-in Ethernet ports and Ethernet gateway to improve network environment adaptability. But for cases where IB ports are only on InfiniBand switch, how to connect the layer 2 InfiniBand host to layer 1 multiple gigabit Etherne switches? You may need NICs such as Infiniband card/Ethernet converged network adapters (CNAs) to bridge the InfinBand over Ethernet.

Ethernet gateway Bridge-group bridges InfiniBand switch to Ethernet

Figure 3: An illustration of Ethernet gateway Bridge-group bridges InfiniBand to Ethernet by Cisco.

Or you can buy Mellanox InfiniBand switch series based on ConnectX series network card and SwitchX switch, which supports virtual protocol interconnection (VPI) between InfiniBand and Ethernet. As thus it enables link protocol display or automatic adaptation and one physical Mellanox IB switch can implement various technical supports. The VPI supports 3 modes – the whole machine VPI, port VPI and VPI bridging. The whole VPI enables all ports of the InfiniBand switch run in InfiniBand or Ethernet mode. The port VPI commands some ports of the switch run in IB network and some ports run in Ethernet mode. The VPI bridging mode implements InfiniBand bridging to Ethernet.

Conclusion

InfiniBnad technology simplifies and accelerates link aggreagation between servers and supports server connectivity to remote storage and network devices. InfiniBand switch combines IB technology with fiber switch hardware. It achieves high capacity, low latency and excellent scalability for HPC, enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments. How to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet in a topology built with InfiniBand switch and Ethernet switch? Devices like channel adapter (CNA), InfiniBand router/Ethernet gateway, InfiniBand connector and InfiniBand cable may be required. To ensure flexible bridging, go for IB switch with optional Ethernet ports or Mellanox InfiniBand switch series with VPI functionality. Of course such InfiniBand switch price can be rather exorbitant, but its advanced features make it worthy of that.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the Difference?

What is network virtualization? Network virtualization is a software-defined networking process to combine hardware and software into a single virtual network. Over the years, network virtualization has always been upgrading as different virtual network technologies have popping out. It has a transitional period from dummy virtualization networking to more advanced one like virtual VLAN. Then the appearance of two tunneling protocols – NVGRE and VXLAN have brought in new network virtualization technologies. Software-defined networking (SDN) NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the difference? This post will introduce SDN NVGRE vs VXLAN definition, NVGRE/VXLAN network switch features and the difference between NVGRE and VXLAN.

NVGRE vs VXLAN What's the Difference

NVGRE vs VXLAN:What Are NVGRE and VXLAN?

NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation) and VXLAN (Virtual Extensive Local Area Network) are two different tunneling protocols for network virtualization technology. They don’t provide substantial functionality but define how various virtual devices like network switches encapsulate and forward packets. However many times people mention software-defined NVGRE/VXLAN as network virtualization technologies. Both NVGRE and Virtual Extensive LAN encapsulate layer 2 protocols with layer 3 protocols, which solve the scalability problem of large cloud computing and enable layer 2 packets exchange across IP networks.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the difference?

  • NVGRE is mainly supported by Microsoft whereas VXLAN is introduced by Cisco. The two tech giants are scrambling to make their standards become the unified standard in the industry.
  • Both technologies change the situation of fixed VLAN size – 4096 virtual networks while creating up to 16 million virtual networks. However, VXLAN vs NVGRE deployment method and header format are quite different. VXLAN uses the standard tunneling protocol UDP to generate a 24-bit ID segment on the VXLAN header. Instead, NVGRE employs GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) to tunnel layer 2 packets over layer 3 networks. NVGRE header format is lower 24 bits GRE header, which can also support 16 million virtual networks.
  • VXLAN can guarantee load balancing and reserve the data packet order between different virtual machines (VMs). However, as NVGRE needs to provide a flow to describe the bandwidth utilization granularity, the tunneling network must use GRE header. This causes NVGRE incompatible with traditional load balancing. To solve this problem, NVGRE host requires multiple IP addresses to ensure balanced traffic load.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: NVGRE/VXLAN Enabled Network Switch

As Power over Ethernet technology booming, PoE enabled switch such as gigabit PoE switch had been invented to add PoE to networks. Similarly, software-based technologies like LACP, SND, NVGRE and VXLAN have also penetrated to hardware devices. For example, NVGRE/VXLAN enabled data switch owns NVGRE/VXLAN capability to expand VLAN size compared. Such NVGRE or VXLAN enabled switches come with different capacity ranging from 1G to 100G in the market.

FS recommends S and N series high-end L2/L3 switches. Say S5850-48T4Q 48 port 10Gb Ethernet switch with 4 40G QSFP+ ports and N5850-48S6Q 48 port 10Gb SFP+ Top-of-Rack (ToR)/ Leaf switch with 6 40G QSFP+ ports. Both of the 10GbE switches support NVGRE and VXLAN to support over 16M virtual networks.

S5850-48T4Q high performance Ethernet copper switch supports advanced features like VxLAN, IPv4/IPv6, MLAG, NVGRE, best fit for enterprise/data center/Metro ToR access requiring complete software with comprehensive protocols and applications deployment. N5850-48S6Q fiber switch supports advanced features including MLAG, VXLAN/NVGRE, SFLOW, SNMP, MPLS etc, ideal for fully virtualized data center. Besides, the optional ONIE type of this model supports any ONIE-enabled software to be installed in the open switch, natural fit for open network installation network.

S5850-48T4Q NVGRE vs VXLAN 10Gb switch with 4 40G QSFP+

Figure 1: FS provides various NVGRE vs VXLAN capable network switches ranging from 1G to 100G.

Conclusion

VXLAN and NVGRE are advanced network virtualization implement tunneling protocols/technologies compared with VLAN. They expand virtual networks size from 4096 up to 16 million and allow layer 2 packets to transmit across IP fabric such as layer 3 networks. NVGRE vs VXLAN differences lie in supported tech giants, tunneling method, header format and load balancing compatibility. Adding NVGRE and VXLAN capability to network switch overcomes VLAN scalability limits in large cloud computing and enables an agile VM networking environment.