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Datacenter Networking

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By John Dudley - Senior Solutions Architect

The continued growth of both public and private cloud-based services creates an urgent need for scalable Datacenter infrastructures.  However, this expansion can be time consuming and complex to design and deploy, especially when transitioning from a legacy 3-tier architecture.   The recommended upgrade path of EVPN/VxLAN (Ethernet Virtual Private Network / Virtual Extensible Local Area Network) addresses this transition while also adding near infinite growth.

The key concepts of EVPN/VxLAN are:

  • 2-tiered architecture (Spine and Leaf)
  • Open standards-based protocol suite
  • Fully interoperable between manufacturers
  • Growth beyond the 4094 VLAN limit, up to 16 million unique identifiers
  • Designed specifically for load-balanced traffic flows and fault tolerance
  • Removal of xSTP (Spanning Tree Protocol) from the network
  • Integration with virtual servers and hyperconverged stacks

Whether implementing EVPN/VxLAN for the first time or looking to expand your current EVPN/VxLAN implementation, the standards allow for several options to fit your needs:

  • Parallel build – Depending on rack space and power, a fully established EVPN/VxLAN environment can be created and then end devices could be moved over by rack or by function.
  • Collapsed EVPN/VxLAN Spine – If there is a limitation on rack space or power the current core level of the network can be replaced with an EVPN/VxLAN collapsed spine, while continuing to use the legacy equipment as a non-EVPN/VxLAN leaf.  Each access switch is then replaced with an EVPN/VxLAN enabled leaf until all that remains is the aggregation layer of the original network, which can then be decommissioned.
  • Datacenter Interconnects (DCI) for node implementation – As EVPN/VxLAN networks grow, the limiting factor becomes the number of ports on the spine level.   Thankfully instead of replacing the spines with higher density switches, node clusters can be created.  Each node would consist of Spine/Leaf switches as their corresponding storage/compute.   Each node would then interconnect with other nodes using DCI links.   These nodes can be in the same physical Datacenter or spread across multiple Datacenters for geo-diversity.
  • SDN/Orchestration – As the size of the EVPN/VxLAN network grows, or as the number of nodes increases, the adoption of either a standalone SDN controller or integration into a full stack orchestration will alleviate the day-to-day tasks of monitoring and managing the complete Datacenter storage/compute and network.

Although, the adoption of EVPN/VxLAN can be a daunting task, the benefits of scalability and network stability should override concerns of undertaking the process.  To help with this translation BlueAlly provides solutions, expertise, and strategy to allow our clients to focus on innovation within their business.  Contact your BlueAlly Account Manager or email us at reach@blueally.com to discover ways that we can help.