Vision X Best of Show Special Prize at Interop Tokyo 2019
2020-05-01 | 7 min read
There are a number of trends impacting data centers and how they are being built and equipped. Some of these include IoT with a massive proliferation of end points - Gartner predicts a massive 20.4 billion devices in operation by 2020. With this proliferation comes a need for the data that those devices generate to go somewhere, which provides part of the momentum behind the rise of edge computing. We also see AI and its huge thirst for data creating additional demands while traditional cloud continues to grow at the same time hybrid approaches with virtualized/containerized infrastructure coming back home to on-prem deployments.
The net outcome of this convergence of larger trends is that the data center is under greater stress than ever. Those running 10G are moving to 25G. Those running 25G are moving to 100G. As new links running at faster speeds are added, IT teams need to maintain insight into the data running at all these different interface speeds.
Meanwhile in Japan
Interop, one of the largest and oldest IT tradeshows, can trace its roots back to Dan Lynch’s efforts to validate interoperability of various vendors standards based gear in a workshop first held in 1986. The name Interop came later, in 1988. Back then, Fast Ethernet running at a screaming 100Mbps was a big deal and the focus of much of the action.
Interop Tokyo 2019 shows just how far things have come from those humble beginnings. With an estimated 140,000 visitors and more than 500 exhibitors, Interop Tokyo is a big show where half of the attendees are either corporate management or IT system management with 2/3 of them influencing IT purchases. These are the folks in the front lines working to cope with the impact of the trends mentioned above.
Enter Vision X
When we sat down to design the next generation network packet broker (read more about Vision X here), we wanted to address a number of customer pain points. One of the first ones was raw bandwidth. New 100G data centers create massive traffic while even older data centers are being upgraded to drive more traffic than they used to, adding to connection speed proliferation. The people making the business decisions running these data centers need some sort of abstraction layer between the raw data and the various analytics, business intelligence and security tools in play enabling rapid, responsive decisions.
Ongoing data center evolution is creating situations where many have mixed, multispeed access (10G, 25G, 100G) and thus a modular approach where a single chassis can support multiple speeds was key.
Data center real estate is increasingly precious. Demands for bandwidth keep going up but the physical size of individual data centers tend to remain static, thus the path to growth (outside of new greenfield buildouts) tends to be in greater density. Vision X addresses those needs with massive capacity in a compact 3RU modular chassis. The performance advantage over the nearest competitive offering is greater than 2x.
On the topic of performance, in this age of software defined networking it is tempting to do everything with software on commodity hardware. This approach, which has its place, is not however the path to highest density/performance per RU. When ultimate performance, and in particular performance density, is a consideration, the old adage “do what you can in hardware, do what you must in software” comes into play. Vision X features hardware acceleration. Just like high performance gaming PCs that have dedicated graphics cards to do the heavy lifting for complex graphics, we use FPGAs to do a lot of the heavy lifting we do with packet processing. The net outcome is that just like when you have a high end graphics card go to play Fortnite and it still plays fast and smooth with features enabled, hardware acceleration helps gear like packet brokers perform seamlessly even with filters and features turned on. The leading competition stumbles with that, requiring a reduction in bandwidth, chaining boxes or simply not running multiple simultaneous features and filters – not very appealing choices.
In the end, though, all the power in the world is worth little without control and that is where years of painstaking effort pays off in the Ixia UI. Like our other network packet brokers, Vision X has an easy to use GUI that accelerates deployments and reduces human error.
Huge thanks to Interop Tokyo 2019 and heartfelt appreciation for their recognition of Vision X and the hard work that has gone into it. We are looking forward to seeing you next year at Interop 2020.