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 a Data Center?

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.

Layer 2, Layer 3 & Layer 4 Switch: What’s the Difference?

Network switches are always seen in data centers for data transmission. Many technical terms are used with the switches. Have you ever noticed that they are often described as Layer 2, Layer 3 or even Layer 4 switch? What are the differences among these technologies? Which layer is better for deployment? Let’s explore the answers through this post.

What Does “Layer” Mean?

In the context of computer networking and communication protocols, the term “layer” is commonly associated with the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model, which is a conceptual framework that standardizes the functions of a telecommunication or computing system into seven abstraction layers. Each layer in the OSI model represents a specific set of tasks and functionalities, and these layers work together to facilitate communication between devices on a network.

The OSI model is divided into seven layers, each responsible for a specific aspect of network communication. These layers, from the lowest to the highest, are the Physical layer, Data Link layer, Network layer, Transport layer, Session layer, Presentation layer, and Application layer. The layering concept helps in designing and understanding complex network architectures by breaking down the communication process into manageable and modular components.

In practical terms, the “layer” concept can be seen in various networking devices and protocols. For instance, when discussing switches or routers, the terms Layer 2, Layer 3, or Layer 4 refer to the specific layer of the OSI model at which these devices operate. Layer 2 devices operate at the Data Link layer, dealing with MAC addresses, while Layer 3 devices operate at the Network layer, handling IP addresses and routing. Therefore, switches working on different layers of OSI model are described as Lay 2, Layer 3 or Layer 4 switches.

OSI model

Switch Layers

Layer 2 Switching

Layer 2 is also known as the data link layer. It is the second layer of OSI model. This layer transfers data between adjacent network nodes in a WAN or between nodes on the same LAN segment. It is a way to transfer data between network entities and detect or correct errors happened in the physical layer. Layer 2 switching uses the local and permanent MAC (Media Access Control) address to send data around a local area on a switch.

layer 2 switching

Layer 3 Switching

Layer 3 is the network layer in the OSI model for computer networking. Layer 3 switches are the fast routers for Layer 3 forwarding in hardware. It provides the approach to transfer variable-length data sequences from a source to a destination host through one or more networks. Layer 3 switching uses the IP (Internet Protocol) address to send information between extensive networks. IP address shows the virtual address in the physical world which resembles the means that your mailing address tells a mail carrier how to find you.

layer 3 switching

Layer 4 Switching

As the middle layer of OSI model, Layer 4 is the transport layer. This layer provides several services including connection-oriented data stream support, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing. Layer 4 uses the protocol of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) which include the port number information in the header to identify the application of the packet. It is especially useful for dealing with network traffic since many applications adopt designated ports.

layer 4 switching

Which Layer to Use?

The decision to use Layer 2, Layer 3, or Layer 4 switches depends on the specific requirements and characteristics of your network. Each type of switch operates at a different layer of the OSI model, offering distinct functionalities:

Layer 2 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 2 switches are appropriate for smaller networks or local segments where the primary concern is local connectivity within the same broadcast domain.

Example Scenario: In a small office or department with a single subnet, where devices need to communicate within the same local network, a Layer 2 switch is suitable.

Layer 3 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 3 switches are suitable for larger networks that require routing between different subnets or VLANs.

Example Scenario: In an enterprise environment with multiple departments or segments that need to communicate with each other, a Layer 3 switch facilitates routing between subnets.

Layer 4 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 4 switches are used when more advanced traffic management and control based on application-level information, such as port numbers, are necessary.

Example Scenario: In a data center where optimizing the flow of data, load balancing, and directing traffic based on specific applications (e.g., HTTP or HTTPS) are crucial, Layer 4 switches can be beneficial.

Considerations for Choosing:

  • Network Size: For smaller networks with limited routing needs, Layer 2 switches may suffice. Larger networks with multiple subnets benefit from the routing capabilities of Layer 3 switches.
  • Routing Requirements: If your network requires inter-VLAN communication or routing between different IP subnets, a Layer 3 switch is necessary.
  • Traffic Management: If your network demands granular control over traffic based on specific applications, Layer 4 switches provide additional capabilities.

In many scenarios, a combination of these switches may be used in a network, depending on the specific requirements of different segments. It’s common to have Layer 2 switches in access layers, Layer 3 switches in distribution or core layers for routing, and Layer 4 switches for specific applications or services that require advanced traffic management. Ultimately, the choice depends on the complexity, size, and specific needs of your network environment.

Conclusion

With the development of technologies, the intelligence of switches is continuously progressing on different layers of the network. The mix application of different layer switches (Layer 2, Layer 3 and Layer 4 switch) is a more cost-effective solution for big data centers. Understanding these switching layers can help you make better decisions.

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