This is the fourth entry in a five-part insideHPC guide series that explores networking with Dell EMC-ready nodes. This article explores network switch configuration with Dell EMC Ready nodes.
Storage networks are constantly evolving. From traditional Fiber Channel storage networks to IP storage networks, every technology has its place in the data center. IP storage solutions have two main network topologies to choose from based on technological and administrative requirements. Dedicated storage network topology, shared leaf-spine network, software-defined storage, and iSCSI SAN are all supported. Hybrid network architectures are common, but add complexity.
Fiber Channel storage has imparted a traditional networking philosophy and implementation methodology to IP-based storage. Dedicated Storage Networking has a proven design that delivers performance, predictability, and manageability to storage deployments. Storage traffic is isolated from application traffic to allow each network to be optimized for its own use.
As a direct consequence of the increase in east-west traffic within the datacenter (server-server, server-storage, etc.), an alternative to the traditional model of access aggregation network is increasingly used. This architecture is known as the Clos or Leaf-Spine network and is designed to minimize the number of hops between hosts, thereby reducing network communication latency.
In a leaf-thorn architecture, shown below, the access layer is referred to as the leaf layer. Servers and storage devices connect to leaf switches at this layer.
At the next level, the aggregation and core layers are condensed into a single backing layer. Each leaf switch connects to each spine switch to ensure that all leaf switches are not more than one hop from each other. This minimizes latency and the likelihood of bottlenecks in the network. A leaf-thorn architecture is highly scalable. As administrators add racks to the data center, a pair of blade switches are added to each new rack. Backbone switches can be added as bandwidth requirements increase.
Dedicated hybrid network architecture / Leaf-Spine
Dedicated storage networking is a popular standard for iSCSI-based storage for performance and administration reasons, including low latency, predictability, lack of competition with application traffic, simplified management, and direct isolation. breakdowns.
The diagrams above, which show the dedicated storage network and a leaf network for application traffic, may need to coexist as hybrid networks to optimize the balance between north-south and east-west network traffic.
While these established approaches are generally well understood, the configuration details can be complex and change over time.
This series of insideHPC guides will also cover the following topics in the coming weeks:
Download the full report, “A Practical Guide to Networking Dell EMC Ready Nodes”, courtesy of Dell EMC, to learn more about Dell EMC Ready Nodes and Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes.