In Hyperscale Environments Network Visibility Remains Vital
November 24, 2014

Mike Heumann

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Hyperscale infrastructure was once widely considered to be designed for large, web-facing organizations or top-tier colocation and cloud providers. But as the enterprise starts to confront the realities of big data and mobile, dynamic workloads, it seems inevitable that even medium-sized organizations will have to encounter hyperscale environments at some point, either as greenfield deployments or in a hosted/cloud capacity – and we’re seeing this come to fruition. According to an October 2014 Emulex survey of more than 1,600 US and European IT professionals who provided insight into their enterprise data center networking environments, 57 percent of respondents have adopted hyperscale networking environments.

What are the ramifications of this? More than half of these (51 percent) named increasing bandwidth as a major challenge in moving to hyperscale environments, which is driving massive network upgrades. In fact, more than 77 percent of respondents running hyperscale environments say the move to the cloud has already necessitated the upgrade of their networks to at least 40Gb Ethernet. Big data and analytics are driving high volumes of data storage, capture, movement and archiving which all drive an increased need for both higher bandwidth and lower latency on 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet using RDMA.

We’re seeing hyperscale network environments grow across enterprises because it has a number of benefits: It can be a key piece of smarter, more manageable application ecosystems. On a network level, hyperscale can also aid business continuity and disaster recovery efforts by providing redundant failover architecture and rapid recovery. Hyperscale can also accentuate the benefits that technologies like virtualization and software-defined networking provide, making it a potentially vital configuration in the more scalable data center machinery of the future.

As we know, the loss of application or network services for even a few minutes can mean huge and immediate revenue losses, and can impact long-term customer loyalty. As many enterprises go through these rapid network changes and as hyperscale environments become more common, it is important that IT networking and application staffs prioritize network visibility as a means to identify any network issues that need to be identified quickly. Many organizations are struggling to accurately monitor increasingly complex enterprise networks as they shift to 10Gb Ethernet or even higher speeds.  

For those running hyperscale environments, 97 percent said it has necessitated a move to 10GbE, 40GbE or higher speeds to meet demands of high-performance applications such as big data, analytics and content distribution, compared to only 48 percent of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations. As a result, the underlying communication networks matter, and perhaps not surprisingly, capturing network behavior for incident detection and monitoring network flows for anomalous behavior are just as important. The ability to do both of these is essential in many high-speed networks (such as trading platforms and e-commerce portals) in order to spot cyber threats like DDoS attacks. The migration to larger, faster networks only exacerbates the threat of missing these attacks, and increases the need for clear, deep visibility.

Mike Heumann is VP of Product Marketing and Alliances at Emulex.

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