Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Interesting times for networking

James Hamilton recently published an article about the increased pace in investment in networking. This very much aligns with my experience over the last 10 years and why I now work on Virtual Networking. 10 years ago, a data-center host typically had a single 1Gb link to the TOR (Top Of Rack switch/router), and the uplink from the rack was typically heavily oversubscribed, meaning that a rack of 30 hosts would only have 8Gb or 10Gb of uplink to the rest of the network. Now we see 10/25/40Gb uplinks per host and little or no oversubscription to the fabric. We are also seeing a massive upset in the networking industry. The ability of commodity hardware to do what used to require ASICs has lead to an explosion of flexible networking solutions. The utter dependence on Cisco / Juniper / is waining to be replaced by whiteboxes and moving the smarts to software defined overlays. As datacenter expansion has moved from owned/managed facilities to cloud we are also seeing these cloud vendors are big enough to justify home-grown networking equipment for more and more of their network. At the same time we are seeing the rise of technologies such as P4 which enables faster iteration and facilitates the entrance of new hardware vendors. These are fun times to be involved in networking. One of many reasons I work on Virtual Networking for Oracle Cloud infrastructure.