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Open industry standards for data center networking

With the huge amounts of data and complex configurations involved in modern data centers, both reliability & cost-effective scaling are needed, as well as improved performance that accommodates new applications. With a plethora of data center network design options available, administrators must focus on network maintenance as opposed to the introduction of new features & functions. To reduce costs and facilitate data center design & management, a smarter & more dynamic network infrastructure is emerging.

Data center networks are undergoing significant changes. Rather than having underutilized devices, multi-tiered networks, and complex management environments, the modern data center is characterized by highly utilized servers running multiple VMs, flattened & responsive networks, and integrated automated management tools. Software defined network technology (including overlay networks and the OpenFlow standard) will greatly simplify network control & management, automate network virtualization services, and provide a platform for building agile network services. Finally, to provide business continuity and backup/recovery of mission critical data, high-bandwidth links between virtualized data center resources are extended across multiple data center locations.

Highly virtualized data centers offer greater resource utilization at reduced cost. They also simplify the management of network issues such as latency, resilience, and multi-tenant support for public and private cloud environments.

Practical & cost efficient data network evolution should be based on open industry standards and end-to-end interoperability of networking equipment. To support open data center networking solutions, Huawei recommends the recently published technical briefs on standardizing an open data center interoperable network (ODIN). This body of work interprets existing standards and describes best practices for incorporating standards into a multi-vendor network. It can be used to guide strategic planning discussions, help prepare a vendor-agnostic request for proposal (RFP), and clarify preferred technologies for optimizing each aspect of network design. In this context, administrators can choose among multiple networking vendors and avoid incompatible offerings that lock them into a proprietary architecture.

This effort also aligns with Huawei's ongoing efforts to collaborate with the international community to provide solutions of the highest quality and economy for data center networking. Huawei understands that a carrier’s network is constructed as a platform to carry hundreds or thousands of enterprise-customers' IDC services, so a unified control plane, including OTN functions to control & manage large-scale IDC connections, is necessary. In addition, IDCs connecting to a carrier's backbone network must deliver satisfactory BGP performance while supporting a large number of FIBs (more than 350,000), which will certainly exceed what a switch can do (IP routers will be necessary).

ODIN addresses best practices and interpretations of networking standards that are vital to efficient data center operation. These methods & standards facilitate the transition from discrete specialized networks, each with their own management tools, to a converged (flattened) network with a common set of management tools. They represent a proven approach that has been implemented using existing products, as well as through engagements with industry-leading clients worldwide. The detailed contents for ODIN have been created under the leadership of Casimer DeCusatis, an ODIN specialist; please refer to the following attachments for more information.

ODIN Volume 1: Transforming the Data Center Network.pdf

ODIN Volume 5: WAN and Ultra Low Latency Applications.pdf