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As Kubernetes Upends Connectivity, These Data Center Interconnects Rise to the Challenge

Latest DCI models are looking for an edge in a market disrupted by increasingly distributed applications and disappearing boundaries between data center facilities.

Data Center Interconnect technology hasn’t evolved all that much in terms of design in the past decade, though its use cases have almost completely changed.  Time was, its main objective was to move VMs between facilities across an optical connection without disrupting workflow. “These were large pipes that carried an aggregate of traffic between the data centers and were terminated at the edges of these networks,” Tom Nadeau, Red Hat NFV technical director and a globally-renowned SDN expert, explained in a note to Data Center Knowledge. “Tunnel technologies such as VXLAN and NVGRE were then used to get traffic from those points all the way down to the VTEP points on corresponding top-of-rack switches, or even all the way down to the servers themselves.”

Today, more distributed, automated workloads — particularly those orchestrated by Kubernetes — are driving data center connectivity.  It’s the application that’s defining the network today, Nadeau said, “due to the nearly completely automated and loosely policy-driven approach that project has taken.” In their zeal, however, the born-at-Google open source container orchestration project’s architects “overlooked the need for robust networking under the platform and instead went for a single interface model.”

Automating network operations and automating the application should, in a perfect world, be handled through the same interface. That’s never been the case. As a result, data center operators need their data center interconnects to provide synchronicity, which requires both low latency and high reliability. These five DCIs seek to fulfill these requirements: ...

TAGS: Design
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