25 April 2012
NetEvents APAC Press Summit, Hong Kong - Day 1 - Debate 3 Summary
Seven Secrets of Datacentre Design
Clive Longbottom, service director and analyst at Quocirca opened this session saying that the secrets were in fact not very secret. "Cloud changes everything - or does it?" he said. "It's all about latency and its impact on usage. But we find 1 in 7 large organisations say that cloud has no part in their future - ever. There's too much confusion."
From the panel, Kevin Buckingham (BT) said that: "customers are looking for agility, faster routes to market, and optimal solutions."
Pranay Misra (Nanotel) said: "Cloud computing is at an early stage in India - but the issues there are scalability, security and flexibility, and which cloud model to adopt, a passive or an active network?" He said that the shared model would click very soon.
Atsushi Iwata (NEC) said that "you need to think about the applications first, then the network infrastructure."
Mark Pearson (HP) asked whether OpenFlow network would operate across the WAN. "We can speed up automation within and across the datacentres, it will happen," he said.
Longbottom said that datacentre designs are changing, with integrated systems from eg Dell and HP, and asked if this was the future.
Bruce Bateman (Dell) said: "Today you want to pay as you grow. We can provide fully containerised solutions, and that model is easier for an IT guy." He said that organisations can buy more pieces as the business changes, and that they need to be able to move modules around according to needs, not just scale up.
Pearson said that it was up to cloud managers whether OpenFlow (SDN) was the future, given the strengths of proprietary networks. He noted that "OpenStack is open with integration points".
Buckingham said that if you have a customer and provide them with good service, they will stay with you. He said: "You can spend a lot of time in configuring and providing services, but customers are much more savvy than they were, so they need to know that they can switch suppliers if necessary. They want options for the future."
Longbottom said that networks need to flatten to reduce latency. Misra said that this is important, but that it depends on opex costs. He said that it's about security not just investment and that the multi-tier model will not work in a shared network.
Bateman said that traffic is more east-west than before, so this brings the user closer to the network. "We can speed up the infrastructure in the datacentre but the service provider gets the latency across countries and continents," he said, "A 350 millisecond round trip between UK and Asia is not good enough." This meant that service providers will need to store data within the country of origin, and use technologies such as deduping and caching.
Longbottom said that static SLAs are not useful any more and that performance creep is an issue. How could we improve SLAs automatically to meet new requirements, he asked. Could we reach a value level agreement?
Itawa said: "The open network summit covers this - eg we can provide guaranteed service. Now we have to provide the right tools to allow networks to scale."
Bateman said that Dell could remotely manage not just desktops and laptops but also servers, and that it had lot of tools for management and automation.
Pearson said that "datacentre dynamics need a central control plane to abstract resources. It means can you can incorporate feedback and use that for templates."
Longbottom asked: "Abstracting resources has value but doing it all at line speed creates problems as it's down to hardware. Can we do it all at line speed?"
Misra said that it's about how fast you can move in that direction. "In India, the dynamics are very high and live data transfers from old datacentres will take time."
Buckingham said: "BT has invested heavily in the network so we are looking to put active traffic shaping with agreement with customers."
Longbottom concluded by saying that the network is now the important thing. "It is critical to get it right at the datacentre, WAN and LAN levels. It needs a holistic view."