SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Blog Feed Post

What is a Hyper-Converged Network (and why do you need one)?

Certainly by now everyone in IT has heard of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI). In the case that you were abducted and held by aliens for the past two years, let me explain. HCI is loosely defined as the close coupling of virtualized compute and virtualized scale-out storage, typically mated to a server platform to create an easy-to-use appliance. So, what does this have to do with networking? Despite the close coupling of storage and compute, not all those needs fit into a single HCI appliance (nor would a scale-out approach be particularly interesting if it were limited to a single device). That means the appliances part of the HCI need to be able to actually talk to each other. How? Over a network.

Sure, most people already have a network, so why isn’t that enough? The simple answer is that HCI appliances have unique needs that existing legacy networks were never designed to handle. And those networks have their own operational silo, keeping the benefits of convergence (reduce silo’s, more agile IT, and lower operating costs) from fully impacting the business. We’ll explore these a bit more later in this post and subsequent posts.

The networking we’re talking about here is different from the virtual network services that can run over the physical network. That physical network, the one that provides the “plumbing” for the HCI appliances to communicate over, is what we call the network fabric. That fabric increasingly needs to support specific services that easily extend and augment the ease-of-use, performance, and security promises of HCI. This results in the need for what is referred to as a Hyper-Converged Network (HCN).

So what is a HCN?

HCN is purpose-built network fabric to support the unique needs of HCI clusters. It’s an API-driven network, rather than protocol driven, and better than that, it’s already fully integrated into your HCI management system, so it automatically:

  • Discovers VMs
  • Creates VLANs
  • Automatically creates an isolated storage network within the network fabric to ensure optimal performance as the HCI appliances exchange data, meta-data and other critical storage traffic
  • Discovers security groupings and policies implemented at the hypervisor and creates their equivalent ACLs in the network
  • Provides visualization of the network in the context of your HCI and easily points the operator to potential trouble areas

HCN is a physical Ethernet/IP-based network fabric that connects HCI appliances within a single rack, across multiple racks, across pods, and across data centers and converges the “LAN” and the “SAN” in a single fabric. Romantic, right? It’s a scale-out network that can simply add ports and network bandwidth as switches are added, without needing separate scale-up tiers, like “spines” or “aggregation” switches. HCN is practically fool proof – it’s easy to cable, and switches self-discover each other to form fabric without user intervention, and with no configuration protocols.

Why do I need one?

Great question – and here are three great answers:

  • It’s integrated. HCI has increasingly become the way to build private clouds in the Enterprise. The promise of self-service IT needs to break down the networking silo barrier to be successful, and this can happen when you have a network that is directly integrated with your HCI deployment.
  • Life’s too short for protocols. Endless tweaking of timers and other arcane settings is like pushing a noodle, you never really get what you want. HCNs are fast, repeatable, less prone to errors, and actually gets the desired result. Networks, like all IT infrastructure, need to be API-driven to be automated.
  • Because no one is going back to the days of SANs. HCI removes the need for Storage Area Networks. But SANs ensured that storage system traffic was reliable and performant, and kept that traffic isolated from the LAN. It also did things behind the scenes like ensure critical meta-data traffic was never lost and delivered with the lowest latency. HCNs let you create a converged network fabric that is partitioned for the storage traffic, so you get the benefit of convergence with the performance of dedicated LANs and SANs.

And if that’s not enough, we’ll leave you with one bonus reason:

  • It costs you the same or less than doing it the hard way. That’s right, a Plexxi HCN can not only save you considerable time and frustration, but it also costs the same or less than traditional networking approaches. That does not even factor in the savings you would get by better leveraging the available fabric capacity (so you get more for less and upgrade less frequently) or the cost of having separate dedicated networks for compute and storage!



The post What is a Hyper-Converged Network (and why do you need one)? appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mat Mathews

Visionary solutions are built by visionary leaders. Plexxi co-founder and Vice President of Product Management Mat Mathews has spent 20 years in the networking industry observing, experimenting and ultimately honing his technology vision. The resulting product — a combination of traditional networking, software-defined networking and photonic switching — represents the best of Mat's career experiences. Prior to Plexxi, Mat held VP of Product Management roles at Arbor Networks and Crossbeam Systems. Mat began his career as a software engineer for Wellfleet Communications, building high speed Frame Relay Switches for the carrier market. Mat holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...