Networking Matters for Your Enterprise Cloud

Cloud Computing, Data Center, Enterprise, Ethernet, Interconnect, , , ,

Five Reasons Why the Mellanox Ethernet Solution is a Perfect Fit

When you build your enterprise cloud, do you simply connect the hyperconverged platform to the existing core switch and hope for the best? What happens if the main network gets congested as often happens?

When you consolidate all your datacenters to the hyperconverged infrastructure, can you afford that it takes days to get the network configured and up running? This doesn’t even include trying to sort through the vast sea of acronyms and jargons representing a seemingly endless array of network protocols and technologies?

When you deploy new services onto your enterprise cloud, can you accept that your existing services may suffer severe performance degradation? When you migrate a workload from one node to another, can your customers tolerate capricious response time?

Networking matters for your enterprise cloud. Choosing the right one will give you all the benefits of the invisible cloud infrastructure; but using the wrong one will seriously diminish all these benefits. Now, let’s look at what really matters with your choice of the networking solution.

  1. Dedicated, resilient network for your hyperconverged appliances

All sorts of applications and data flows run through the main network, and converge in the core fabric. As the network bandwidth is oversubscribed, congestion often occurs quickly. Some data flows are not so sensitive to network congestion and the resulting prolonged latency. But for many others, scale-out storage in particular, performance degradation and unpredictability are simply unacceptable.

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In scale-out storage, data are replicated and transferred between nodes within the cluster. For these inter-node or so-called “east-west” traffic, deterministic completion time is required. The wide-spread use of faster flash storage makes it even more critical. As a result, modern data centers, built on scale-out storage, use dedicated top of the rack (TOR) switches for guaranteed performance for inter-node traffic.

Built on its advanced technologies from high performance computing, Mellanox provides the best TOR Ethernet switches in the industry. Our switches not only deliver consistent performance at any link speed, but also run at line rate without any packet drop. Interested readers should read the Tolly report for more information.

  1. Right TOR switches that fit your needs

Enterprise data centers come in various size and have different needs. Small and medium-sized ones often consist of three or four hyperconverged server nodes. Large-scale deployments use high-density rack design where optimal rack space utilization is desired. While many data centers are running the network at 10GbE and beyond, there are still some running at 1GbE. Lastly, for most enterprise deployments, network redundancy is an absolute must.

The Mellanox SN2100B is a most versatile Ethernet switch. It features 16 10/40G ports in a unique half-width, 1 rack unit (RU) form factor. For deployments with three to four Nutanix nodes, a 16-port switch is a perfect fit. No need to waste precious IT budget on an expensive 48+4 switch where less than half of the ports are utilized.

When using the half-width form factor, two SN2100Bs can be installed in a 1RU slot to achieve redundancy, saving 1RU rack space. In addition, the typical power consumption of SN2100B is <90W, which makes the rack design simpler and reduces the utility bill.

“A reliable, predictable, high performance switching infrastructure is important for any datacenter. It’s great seeing customer success with the unique switching options that are available from Mellanox. Mellanox is a great fit for Nutanix as it allows customers to start small, provide a highly robust and redundant configuration in just 1RU, and scale as their needs grow. With our Nutanix Ready Partners, such as Mellanox, we are able to deliver upon our vision of an enterprise cloud. “, noted Michael Webster, Nutanix.

  1. Easy to deploy and scale to support cloud expansion

Faster time to deployment is required for modern data centers; and it is a key benefit of the Nutanix solution. Since networking is an integral part of the infrastructure, quickly deploying the TOR switches is critical to achieving faster time to deployment.

Mellanox’s SN2100B can be easily installed with the rack mount kit from Mellanox; it is supported by mounting two SN2100Bs side by side. While the default connector on the switch is QSFP+, it’s very easy to connect 1G or 10G cables to the QSFP+ using a cable adaptor and a 1G transceiver module.

As business grows and more siloed data centers are consolidated into the enterprise cloud, easy to scale is also required. On the SN2100B, each physical port can be expanded up to four 10G links, using breakout cables. This gives up to 64 10G ports for additional nodes in the rack.

The SN2100B can support Nutanix deployments in a half rack, a full rack, or multiple racks.

  1. Invisible network for virtualization

NEO_PackagingAutomation is essential to the invisible infrastructure. The Nutanix enterprise cloud platform provides automated configuration and management of the compute, storage and virtualization, to simplify complex operations to one click. Within the Nutanix cluster, virtual machines are created, provisioned, migrated and eventually deleted through Prism in a very elegant and efficient way.

Mellanox provides the NEO network orchestration platform to make network invisible to complement the Nutanix solution. NEO does automated network configuration when the switches are deployed (e.g., configuring MTU, VLAN, and mLAG). It also has the capability of automating the VLAN configuration when a virtual machine is migrating from one host to the other.

Through REST APIs, NEO can be seamlessly integrated into the Nutanix solution.

  1. Future proof for next generation cloud infrastructure

As applications run faster and process more complex and voluminous data set, the compute nodes support more virtual machines, and the storage nodes utilize faster storage, the demand for higher bandwidth and lower latency propels the upgrade to higher network speed, and the trend is accelerating.

The nice thing about SN2100B is that it is both a 10G switch and a 40G switch. When the enterprise data center is ready to migrate from 10G to 40G, the same SN2100B switches can be used, with replacement of cables. It protects your network investment today for tomorrow.

SN2100B is the perfect TOR switch for your enterprise cloud

In summary, the Mellanox SN2100B switches deliver guaranteed performance, unparalleled feasibility and scalability, and seamless integration for automation. These switches represent the best TOR switch for 10G today and 40G tomorrow.

Mellanox is working closely with Nutanix as a Nutanix TAP partner. “We have seen worldwide deployment and great customer experience together with Mellanox. Our customers and channel partners are realizing the value of Mellanox as a perfect complement to Nutanix enterprise cloud solutions.” said Venugopal Pai, Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Business Development, Nutanix.

Mellanox is the global gold sponsor for the Nutanix On Tour events in APAC and Americas. At these events, we will showcase our Ethernet switches, in use cases with the Nutanix Hyperconverged infrastructure. We will demonstrate how customers can automate their network management with NEO.

Visit us at the On Tour event in a city near you. We look forward to meeting you and discussing how Mellanox Ethernet switches can give you differentiation and advantage for your enterprise cloud.

More information about Mellanox Ethernet is available at

Follow us on Twitter: @MellanoxTech and @Nutanix.

About Jeff Shao

Jeff Shao is Director, Ethernet Alliances at Mellanox Technologies. Prior to Mellanox, he held senior product management and marketing roles at LSI (Avago), as well as Micrel, Vitesse Semiconductor & Promise Technology. He holds a MBA from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from University of Science & Technology of China.

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