How NxtGen is improving data center agility with VCS Fabric

Sejuti Das April 22, 2016
How NxtGen is improving data center agility with VCS Fabric

NxtGen adopted VCS Fabric, which enabled them to transition gracefully to elastic, highly automated and cloud-optimized networks.

A traditional datacenter model is no more an option for cloud and datacenter service providers as they need a flexible and cost effective network infrastructure that can also scale up or down to support dynamic applications. With increasing regulatory compliance requirements, service providers are also expected to deal with issues such as data security and traffic control. With the advent of software-defined networking (SDN) solutions, today it is possible for companies to resolve all these issues while optimizing operational efficiency and costs. NxtGen, a provider of datacenter and cloud services took the SDN route to build its network infrastructure.

The challenge

The challenge, for NxtGen, was to meet the expectations of being ahead of its competition, along with keeping its costs lower than the rest of the market. The company realized a lack in their existing network infrastructure, which has been built on STP (Spanning Tree Protocol).

Initially it had two switches—active and passive. If the active switch fails for any reason, the passive switch becomes active automatically, which led them use only 50 percent of their network resources, which is truly a waste of resources, manpower, and even bandwidth.

With 50 percent resources unused, the company faced other issues such as looping in IP addresses, complex management issues, longer deployment time, manual intervention etc. Therefore NxtGen needed a way to provide faster service on cloud infrastructure for their clients, who are looking for workload and application hosting services on cloud.

The long-term success depended on reducing complexity and costs, while leveraging software-driven innovations. It had put itself in a prime position to do that, by deploying an open, flexible and highly automated cloud networking solution, in line with the New IP framework.

“Our enterprise customers have infinite IT resources to leverage, whether hosted in our datacenters and/or at customer premises. We were building an infinite datacenter, and that requires complex network planning to deliver high-level of uptime, low-latency. And more importantly, the ability to seamlessly leverage compute resources across datacenters,” said A.S. Rajgopal, MD & CEO of NxtGen Data Center & Cloud Services.

He further added that the infinite datacenter also requires the right solution that standardizes and simplifies the deployment and the management, in order to lower cost and improve network performance. “We leveraged on the VDX platform to its fullest potential,” Rajgopal said.

The approach

So, what did the company do? NxtGen used VCS (Virtual Cluster Switching) Fabric, a technology which provided advanced Ethernet fabric capabilities, which enabled them to transition gracefully to elastic, highly automated and cloud-optimized networks.

VCS Fabric technology does not use STP, rather, it is TRILL-based (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) technology, which helped the company in standardizing on one switch family. Therefore, VCS fabrics allow active-active connections originating from the server, enabling rapid failover and convergence in the fabric.

It gave NxtGen a seamless scalability for layer 2 deployments of up to 10,000 servers. It also provided turnkey automation and plug-and-play scalability, which let them evolve to a cloud model on their own time and terms, without the steep cost and learning curve of developing script-based solutions.

The technology was designed to meet data center network infrastructure challenges by enabling next-generation virtual data center and private cloud computing initiatives. It provided the highest levels of network automation, efficiency, resilience, and investment protection to the company.

“The vision of our leadership team for data center network, is that the network must be automation-ready from day one, and VCS Fabric has helped us in realizing the vision without having to develop a lot of functionality on our own. With the solution, we are now able to more effectively use our infrastructure and increase our utilization levels by up to 12 percent,” said Rajgopal.

With VCS Fabric, the company was also enabled to streamline enterprise cloud services fulfilment at their high-density datacenters, which already boast strong price and performance credentials compared to major rivals. These VCS fabrics are virtual machines and support Automated Migration of Port Profiles (AMPP) within the Hyper-V environment, providing seamless integration with Microsoft’s server virtualization platform.

Benefits

NxtGen is an early and innovative adopter of software networking that leverages new IP technology to transform their data center architectures and provide elastic infrastructure services on demand to its customers.

This first-mover advantage has enabled the company to reduce CAPEX by approximately 30 percent and OPEX by approximately 50 percent, while delivering differentiated new services. It also dramatically reduced deployment times and the potential for human error through automated provisioning and maintenance automation. In turn, its customers have enjoyed significant cost savings through pay-per-use services and additional capacity gained from existing infrastructure.

NxtGen is now also leveraging Hyper-V hosts, running on the same industry-standard hardware it uses for customer service delivery, to support virtualized network functions. They have already established three data centers in India—two in Bangalore and one in Mumbai, and now have plans to open several more this year, tapping opportunities in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

“The solution made it easy for us to architect, automate, and integrate with current and future data center technologies while we transition to a cloud model,” concluded Rajgopal.

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