By David Le Goff – 6WIND Product Marketing Manager
New data center architecture
The traditional hierarchical client-server architecture is no longer optimal for data centers. Web-focused applications distributed across multiple layers (such as presentation, business logic, database and storage) require high-bandwidth networking services with minimal latency to support “East-West” traffic.
Given cost constraints along with the lack of visibility into the future mix of applications or the growth in workloads, data center networks must be architected for maximum flexibility and scalability. This leads to the adoption of Software Defined Networks and of virtual appliances based on open standards.
Network challenges for new data centers
Given CAPEX and OPEX cost constraints, high-bandwidth networking services are one of the last major points of leverage in the overall service provider infrastructure. To optimize costs these services should be implemented in Virtual Appliances on commodity hardware, rather than in proprietary and/or custom physical networking equipment, enabling consistent management by data center operators.
However, while the network virtualization enables this flexibility, it imposes a significant penalty in performance due to the large number of low-throughput/high-latency hops in the overall network topology. To address these challenges, 6WIND provides high-performance software-defined networking on industry-standard multi-core platforms, while recently introducing support of industry-standard hypervisors to improve the performance of virtual appliances through a fully-scalable networking architecture.
Virtualization performance issues
Networking equipment manufacturers and service providers face well-known challenges in delivering high performance for virtualized environments where the added layers such as the hypervisor, its networking kernel stack, the virtual switch and the networking kernels deliver low-throughput and high-latency.
Unfortunately, this issue impacts the overall adoption of network virtualization adoption while increasing OPEX costs through the complex management of multiple virtual appliance instances.
Major performance improvement
6WIND, the gold standard for packet processing in software-defined networks (SDN), was the first commercial software company to enable high performance networking in virtualized environments, providing a commercial product that incorporates unique value-added features to significantly increase overall performance.
To address networking kernel stack performance issues, 6WIND released its virtual NIC support within its commercial Intel® DPDK solution, enabling a 10x performance improvement compared to standard OS stacks. Both emulated and para-virtualized NIC drivers from leading hypervisor vendors are supported.
With the combination of its I/O virtualization support and its unique fast path technology, 6WIND enables networking equipment manufacturers to sustain high performance networking in virtualized environments.
Finally, by releasing high performance communication from VM to VM, 6WIND demonstrates that virtualized network appliances can be implemented with no performance impact.
Given the increasing adoption of open source software for mission-critical networking equipment, there is a viable option for delivering high performance networking in virtualized environments, through enhancing some of the leading hypervisors and their virtual switch functions.
In response to this new challenge, 6WIND delivers an open architecture-based software defined networking solution, enabling the networking equipment manufacturers or service providers to deliver breakthrough performance for carrier-grade services with no impact on the virtual machines. This infrastructure is suitable, for example, for “Infrastructure-as-a Service” businesses for virtual Telco applications. More news shortly…