|By Marten Terpstra||
|October 17, 2013 04:00 PM EDT||
The past few years have seen a dramatic improvement in the latency in network switches. Single ASIC based switches can all pretty much switch packets in less than a microsecond. Current 10GE switching silicon provides anywhere from 300 to 800 nanoseconds, specialized silicon shaves that to less than 200 nanoseconds when limiting the amount of searching that needs to be done by reducing the size of lookup tables. Even other solutions play some smart tricks by providing forwarding hints for intermediate switches make those lookups take less than 50 nanoseconds.
Modular switches inherently have a higher latency. Line cards on modular switches typically have multiple ASICs, those ASICs are connected through a single or multi stage fabric. Each step takes time, resulting in latencies varying from around a microsecond when a packet stays on the same ASIC, to possibly 5-15 microseconds when a packet needs to travel through the fabric and back.
The speediest of ASICs achieve these low numbers by employing cut through switching. Cut through switching allows the ASIC to start transmitting a packet when enough of the header has been received to make a forwarding decision. The ASIC does not wait for the entire packet to be received (the more traditional store-and-forward mechanism), within the first few 100 bytes the forwarding decision has been made, and that same header (modified or not) is being transmitted out the destination port. It's somewhat odd to think that through, but the first bits of a packet may be received by the destination system before the last bits have left the first switch in the network.
Cut through switching comes with quite a few "buts". Most switches can only deploy cut through switching when the source and destination port are the same speed. 10GE in and 40GE out or vice versa is rarely supported and the ASIC will automatically switch to store-and-forward for those packets. For good reason. If a packet comes at you at 40GE rates, you simply cannot transmit it out a 10GE interface, that interface is not fast enough. In the reverse direction speed is not the issue, but if you were to employ cut through switching, for the duration of that packet your 40GE interface effectively runs at 10GE with lots of pauses in between pieces of a packet (figuratively speaking).
In addition, when the destination port has another packet being transmitted or in the queue, a new packet cannot be sent cut through. When another packet is ahead of you, you need to wait. And you may need to wait for quite a while. We often forget that it takes 1.2 microseconds to transmit a 1500 byte packet on a 10GE interface, more than 7 microseconds for a jumbo packet. When the destination port is being paused due to Data Center Bridging Priority Flow Control (PFC), the packet will be queued for store and forward. And make sure you add an extra 3 microseconds for 10GBASE-TX.
Datacenters are on a path to fewer layers of switching. Spine and leaf networks are being pitched as the best performing, low cost solution for dense networks. If you carefully examine the specs and pitches of some of the newer spine switches, you will notice that all of them make a case for deep buffers. Deep buffers assume that this switch needs to manage congestion by buffering packets, why else would you design expensive and power hungry buffer memory into those switches. Buffering and low latency don't go well together. If your spine and leaf network has nothing much to do, you may well see latency numbers of only a few microseconds or better. If the spine layer needs to buffer your packet, this number can jump up quickly to 10s of microseconds. And those large buffers seem to suggest it will.
There certainly are applications that are very sensitive to latency. Financial institution low latency trading networks are the example always used, and there are High Performance Computing environments with database, RDMI or similar applications that benefit from really low latency. Engineering the traffic in such a way that none of the low latency disruptive events described above happen is hard. Really hard. Extremely hard if there is a lot of traffic. Or a lot of endpoints. Networks that are specifically designed to aggregate and distribute (spine and leaf) will be more prone to these latency increasing scenarios. Creating a network with the ability to create isolated direct paths between switches that serve low latency applications is much more likely to avoid these. And even if the absolute latency is not the lowest, consistent latency with little jitter will certainly help the performance of adaptive mechanisms like TCP.
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,044
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,877
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,236
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,356
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,682
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 28, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,248
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Sep. 28, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,625
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 28, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,804
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Sep. 28, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,724
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,989
As applications are promoted from the development environment to the CI or the QA environment and then into the production environment, it is very common for the configuration settings to be changed as the code is promoted. For example, the settings for the database connection pools are typically lower in development environment than the QA/Load Testing environment. The primary reason for the existence of the configuration setting differences is to enhance application performance. However, occas...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 838
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 28, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,688
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Sep. 28, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,613
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
Sep. 28, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,770
When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy. But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate if what we want to do is part of the mission or better left out? Niel Nickolaisen created the Purpose Alignment model and I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to de...
Sep. 28, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,341
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,895
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,037
Analysis of 25,000 applications reveals 6.8% of packages/components used included known defects. Organizations standardizing on components between 2 - 3 years of age can decrease defect rates substantially. Open source and third-party packages/components live at the heart of high velocity software development organizations. Today, an average of 106 packages/components comprise 80 - 90% of a modern application, yet few organizations have visibility into what components are used where.
Sep. 27, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 757
Throughout history, various leaders have risen up and tried to unify the world by conquest. Fortunately, none of their plans have succeeded. The world goes on just fine with each country ruling itself; no single ruler is necessary. That’s how it is with the container platform ecosystem, as well. There’s no need for one all-powerful, all-encompassing container platform. Think about any other technology sector out there – there are always multiple solutions in every space. The same goes for conta...
Sep. 27, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,193
Let's recap what we learned from the previous chapters in the series: episode 1 and episode 2. We learned that a good rollback mechanism cannot be designed without having an intimate knowledge of the application architecture, the nature of your components and their dependencies. Now that we know what we have to restore and in which order, the question is how?
Sep. 27, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,295