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Open Ethernet Pushed Forward As Mellanox Intros First 100 Gigabit Open Ethernet Switch

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Networking solutions company, Mellanox, introduced two new products designed to accommodate changing networking standards in the data center, especially due to the rising demand that comes with the growth of cloud computing, storage, IoT and Web 2.0.

The first product announced is a 100-gigabit Open Ethernet switch series called Spectrum that literally supports the spectrum of 10/25/40/50/100 data center Ethernet speeds. The second product announced is ConnectX-4 Lx, a 10/25/40/50 Ethernet adapter that can help companies move to faster networking speeds as demand for faster infrastructure grows.

Touted by Mellanox as the first 100-gigabit Open Ethernet switches in the industry, Spectrum is able to provide a throughput of 6.4 TB/s, thanks to the non-blocking architecture that allows the switch to handle all concurrent bandwidth going through its ports. This third generation Ethernet switch has been optimized for SDN, supporting OpenFlow versions 1.0 to 1.4, and designed to benefit from the advantages of Open Ethernet by letting customers ditch proprietary management and software, and providing organizations with the option to freely use open management tools available today.

By using the Open Ethernet open source APIs, network admins get the freedom to choose what tools to use to manage their Spectrum switches, including projects available on Github like the switch abstraction interface (SAI) and ONIE, the Open Network Install Environment that facilitates network OS installations for bare metal switches.

Available in configurations of up to thirty-two 40/56/100 GbE ports and sixty-four 10/20/25/50 GbE ports, the newly introduced Spectrum series includes the following models:

Additional features on the Spectrum switches include QoS congestion control; load balancing with MPLS Spring Optimization; data center bridging including Ethernet flow control, enhanced transmission selection and the DCBX information exchange protocol; and overlay gateway and tunneling support including VXLAN, NVGRE, Geneve and MPLS.

Along with Spectrum, Mellanox also announced its ConnectX-4 Lx 10/25/40/50 gigabit Ethernet family of adapters. The set of new network cards were designed for PCIe and Open Compute systems and will come in single- and dual-port flavors that can run on Linux (RHEL, CentOS, SLES, OEL, Ubuntu, ESX, Fedora and FreeBSD) and Windows. Support for vSphere and Citrix is also included.

As the core components in a business's network start building up to the faster networking speeds, the IT department will need to turn to faster client side components to complement and provide the fastest possible end-to-end connection within the data center. With the ConnectX-4 Lx Ethernet adapter family, Mellanox is trying to help fill this gap in the network by providing a viable replacement for 10-gigabit Ethernet cards.

Similar to the Mellanox's Spectrum switches, the new network adapters also support VXLAN, NVGRE and Geneve hardware offloads and low latency RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) for layer 2 and layer 3 networking, and they provide end-to-end QoS and congestion control and CPU offloading for transport operations.

Graphic showing how the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx card connects on a multihost configuration.Graphic showing how the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx card connects on a multihost configuration.

The new Mellanox adapters also support Multi-Host, a feature that allows multiple compute and storage hosts to connect individual nodes to the network all through a single adapter. In traditional networks, server configurations can run on a one server/one NIC ratio, but with Multi-Host, multiple servers or storage devices get access via a single high performance network adapter.

Both the Spectrum switches and the ConnectX-Lx will be going generally available in Q3 2015.