Networking Solutions

Unified FabricArchitecture

IBM System Networking Solutions

IBM’s Unified Fabric Architecture (UFA) is a fast, smart, interoperable and proven data centre Ethernet network fabric. It is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying physical and virtual data centre infrastructure. Unified Fabric Architecture provides a faster, virtual machine aware, and proven data centre networking platform that allows clients to tie together best-of-breed servers, storage, hypervisors and core networking systems. Unified Fabric Architecture and the ability to replicate pre-provisioned racks, ensures that clients that have already invested billions of dollars in their data centres can take advantage of the best innovations in the industry and achieve the lowest possible cost of ownership for their IT infrastructure.

UFA brings together some of the industry’s most proven technology and IT elements into a very compelling solution. These elements include:

  1. BLADEOS – Data centre fabric OS with over 10 million ports in production deployment as of December 2010. Over half of the Fortune 500 companies have deployed this fabric in their IT infrastructures.
  2. VMready (US) – Network virtualisation extensions to BLADEOS that makes it ideally suited for clients who are deploying server virtualisation in their data centres. VMready is hypervisor agnostic, and ships standard with every IBM BNT 10GbE and 40GbE switch.
  3. Virtual Fabric – Converged fabric extensions to BLADEOS allows clients to converge their LAN, SAN, and management networks onto a single wire. vNIC is open and supports everything from mainframes to rack optimised servers to tower systems, to purpose-built application appliances (e.g. data warehousing, security, etc.) from multiple vendors.
  4. Smart Server Control – This server control and CMDB software presently provides environmental, configuration, I/O and provisioning control for over one million blade servers deployed in data centres around the world.
  5. System Networking Switch Center (US) – Data centre fabric element management software that allows customers to effectively manage the data centre fabric elements and cohesively integrate them into a data centre-wide management system of their choice, including Tivoli and IBM Systems Director.
  6. High reliability – The fabric of a data centre is critical to system and data centre uptime. The actual measured MTBF on IBM BNT’s data centre fabric elements is well over 3 million hours.
  7. Data centre focus – IBM System Networking is singularly focused on the data centre fabric market. As a result, it has created an ideal data centre fabric as measured by performance and throughput, latency, loss characteristics and price-performance.
  8. Open – UFA has been designed to be open, to embrace existing and new systems and allow clients to take advantage of the best innovations available in the market that deliver the lowest cost-of-ownership.

BLADE’s Unified FabricArchitecture Technology Roadmap

This powerful roadmap takes BLADE’s UFA well into this decade and includes:

  1. Silicon innovations – with the industry’s leading providers of merchant switch silicon to embed functions in an ASIC that will enable customers to improve the performance and efficiency of network and I/O intensive applications such as security, data warehousing and rich media (HD/3D) content distribution.
  2. Rack infrastructure – rapid provisioning and control – IBM System Networking is actively working to add extensions to its Smart Server Control software to provide environmental, configuration, I/O and provisioning control for different server form factors in a multi-vendor environment.
  3. Extreme reliability – IBM System Networking will extend its reliability advantages into innovations that will dramatically reduce the operating expense associated with data centre infrastructure.
  4. 40GbE and 100GbE innovations – IBM System Networking is working to enhance the performance of its fabric products to beyond 40GbE speeds and extend the scaling characteristics of its fabric through the implementation of the Distributed Fabric Protocol (DFP), an IBM System Networking invention.
  5. Expanded eco-system of partners – IBM System Networking is actively working with other technology vendors in the industry to enhance the applicability, performance, and functionality of UFA for specific vertical applications that will be deployed on private or public cloud infrastructures.

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