Honey, 10GigE shrunk the datacenter!


With all the talk about speed and throughput, I think a lot of people look past the most concrete and immediate benefit of 10GigE: more compact, less costly data centers.

Simply put, if each wire can carry 10x the data, you need 1/10 as many wires to connect all your servers and storage devices. The ratio isn’t precise, and it doesn’t extend to network equipment where devices have 24, 48 or more ports, but clearly when you have fewer fatter pipes you can migrate to an infrastructure composed of fewer, but more powerful, routers and switches.

At least in the area of messaging, you can compound this consolidation by replacing racks of servers running messaging software with hardware-based messaging appliances like Solace’s. In terms of workload, each hardware-based router can replace between 10 and 20 middleware servers while providing better performance and predictability. It’s important to note that all those servers running messaging software won’t benefit very much from 10GigE, something I’ll touch on below and covered in great detail yesterday.

Companies are pushing the envelope of data center density in the quest to keep costs in check while supporting increasingly insane processing and throughput requirements. 10GigE and hardware-based messaging promise to free up countless racks of space and save millions of dollars. Here’s some of the reasons why, and some of the factors that need to be considered when shrinking the datacenter.

  • Availability of Elements
    As you shrink the data center with higher bandwidth connections between increasingly dense devices (servers that do more processing, routers that route more packets, messaging appliances that route more information, etc.) the availability of each device becomes even more critical. Solace’s content router features built-in HA capabilities that ensure availability and rapid fail-over in the event of element failure. Even the 10 GigE interfaces are based on a pair of active-passive interfaces to eliminate the single point of failure of the higher throughput 10 GigE interface.
  • Deterministic Architecture
    One of the drivers of the proliferation of software-based message servers was the requirement for a deterministic architecture, but to achieve this the use of pre-emptive OSs and shared system resources meant messaging-based applications had to run on their own message router. If some other application didn’t “play nice, ” both applications were affected. As a result, many message servers are underutilized because they can’t ensure deterministic architectures with multi-tenant applications. Hardware-based messaging appliances establish deterministic architectures in co-tenancy deployments, and high-throughput 10GigE I/O means they can accept the workload of very large numbers of underutilized servers that can be re-provisioned or simply decommissioned.
  • Monitoring
    With software-based messaging routing, the very act of monitoring interferes with the performance of shared resources, especially when monitoring system resources such as memory and network. Hardware-based messaging drives datacenter consolidation in two ways: First and most obviously, it reduces the number of devices to consolidate information from. Second, since hardware-based messaging appliances don’t have a pre-emptive OS, monitoring doesn’t affect production performance at all. This means you can collect detailed information about all aspects of the system including network statistics and resource details right down to individual client connections.
  • WAN
    Solace’s content routers can support local and WAN message routing within the same device. Between that versatility and support for streaming compression, Solace’s content routers can route a massive amount of information through a single 10GigE port. Messaging applications can increase performance across high-delay WAN networks by using Markovian Chain architectures, which require high performance guaranteed messaging. More good news…no one can touch Solace’s guaranteed message delivery rates of 130, 000 msgs/sec. Tests have shown that for applications such as Cloud and Grid servers Solace can improve WAN performance more than 1000% (yes, that’s a thousand not a hundred!).

Conclusion

With Solace hardware-based message appliances and 10GigE it is possible to dramatically shrink the datacenter. So in these economic times it begs the question: why are you still doing things the old way with slow networks tying together racks full of software-based messaging servers?