Monthly Archives: June 2014
Commodity pricing pressure is forcing changes in the top-of-rack switch market. Pluribus Networks, a networking startup that specializes in switches with an operating system that enables network virtualization, is the latest vendor to feel those effects. It will rely on a third-party integrator to manufacture its top-of-rack data center switches from now on. Merchant switch silicon from Broadcom and other chip makers have largely commoditized the top-of-rack switch market. Several startups have emerged with network operating systems designed to run on white box or bare-metal switches. Dell recently became the first OEM switch maker to open up its data center switches to third-party operating systems. Now, Pluribus has decided that selling and supporting software is more important than selling low-margin top-of-rack switches.
Facebook has migrated Instagram’s colossal collection of images out of Amazon Web Services and into its own bit barns. News of the move comes in this interview with Facebook infrastructure engineer and Open Compute Foundation program development chap Charlie Manese conducted by Australian hyperscale compute appliance startup Infrx . At about the 7:45 mark of the video, Manese says Instagram has moved onto Facebook infrastructure and now uses about a third fewer servers, “obviously reducing our costs from when we had it on the Amazon platform.”
Facebook has credited its focus on designing and developing its own data centre infrastructure – including playing a pioneering role in terms of Open Compute – with saving the social network US$1.2bn in IT costs in the past three to four years. Facebook program manager John Kenevey spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about the social network’s work with the Open Network Foundation (ONF) to encourage software defined network (SDN) standards, as well as Facebook’s focus on the Open Compute Project to bring open-source thinking to hardware creation. Kenevey will be speaking in Dublin on Monday at the Open Tech Ireland gathering on SDN technology.
Some think the cloud will be stored and driven on white box technology – no-name computers and datacenter processors assembled for peanuts in their millions using mass-produced, non-specialist parts. Others say initiatives like Facebook’s Open Compute are the future. The company aims to create a wide-scale, open, bare bones computing infrastructure by re-engineering everything from network architectures to motherboards and power supplies to find new, low cost efficiencies and alternatives.
On Thursday, June 26, the WHIR is excited to be hosting a webinar with HP called the Top 5 Considerations for Transitioning to Open Compute. The free webinar kicks off at 1 pm ET, and will feature a presentation from Curt Belusar, HP Director of Platform Research and Development. During the presentation, Belusar will share the top considerations for transitioning to Open Compute platforms in a data center. He will also share more about HP’s Open Compute portfolio.
Your Instagram photos aren’t where they used to be. This spring, even as some 200 million people were using Instagram on their smartphones, a small team of engineers moved the photo sharing service from Amazon’s cloud computing service—where it was built in 2010—into a data center operated by Facebook, which bought Instagram in 2012. “The users are still in the same car they were in at the beginning of the journey,” says Instagram founder Mike Krieger, “but we’ve swapped out every single part without them noticing.”
Pluribus Networks Brings the Server-Switch Paradigm Into the Broader Commercial Market at White-Box Economics
The Pluribus Freedom Server-Switch architecture developed over the last four years has been validated by the recent Facebook ‘Wedge’ announcement, which combines switching and compute into a modular and open top-of-rack form-factor platform. The Pluribus E-Series based on open off-the-shelf technologies while leveraging the Pluribus NetvisorTM network hypervisor is in fact the first broadly available server-switch in this new category of SDN platforms, unlocking the disruptive potential of new networking business models, while poised to adopt the OCP architecture in the future.
Founded in 2011, the Open Compute Project has been gaining attention from more and more organizations. The promise of lower cost and open standards for IT servers and other hardware seems like a worthwhile endeavor; one that should benefit all users of IT hardware, as well as improving the energy efficiency of the entire data center ecosystem. The open source concept has proven itself successful for software, as witnessed by the widespread adoption and acceptance of Linux, despite early rejection from enterprise organizations.
Using reference designs for Open Compute servers, Rackspace has developed three custom designs specifically for OnMetal. The company has identified four workloads that stand to benefit the most from the bare-metal cloud service (processing web requests, background processing, RAM-based caching and database servers) and modified Open Compute designs for them. The Open Compute Project is an open source hardware and data center design initiative started and led by Facebook. Open source server designs currently available through OCP were originally developed by Facebook for its own purposes.
Social media giant Facebook is one step closer to ousting Cisco Systems as its primary datacenter switching supplier with the launch of a new top-of-rack engineering project inside of the company code-named “Wedge.” As in the front of the wedge that is going to split apart the $20 billion and fairly monolithic datacenter switching market. Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering at Facebook, divulged some of the details on the homemade Wedge top-of-rack switch at the GigaOm Structure conference in San Francisco.
Facebook has placed the first of about 250 modules for its second data center in Sweden’s Luleå – Luleå 2 – marking a milestone for the social media company’ new data center design which focusses on pre-manufactured and modular components. Facebook announced it will put use its Rapid Deployment Data Center (RDDC) design method in the 125,000 sq ft data center in Sweden at the Open Compute summit in January this year.
Years ago, Facebook Inc. announced that it was embarking on an initiative to enable data center operators to use any number of software options after buying a vendor’s hardware. A novel idea, but little has been heard since this long- ago announcement until very recently, when Facebook announced a major development with its Open Compute Project. The Open Compute Project, the name given to this initiative by Facebook, has been successful in moving forward on defining a network switch that could be used on many operating systems to make this a reality.
It has been a year since Facebook announced that its Open Compute Project had an initiative focused on defining a network switch that could be used with a variety of operating systems, so that data center operators would not get locked into using a single vendor’s software once they bought that vendor’s hardware. Facebook’s wish to disaggregate networking hardware from networking software has now been granted. Two switch designs (one by Mellanox and the other by Broadcom) were submitted to Open Compute for approval, and Facebook is already testing a handful of the Broadcom boxes in production in its data centers, Najam Ahmad, director of network engineering at Facebook, said.