As a corollary to the software and hardware announcements, Napolitano says that Plexxi has identified its target customers, and that’s even bigger news.
“We see a new kind of customer emerging,” he says. “We’ve put a name to them and we call them the ‘cloud architects,’ or the ‘cloud builders.’ Our new set of software capabilities is really aimed at helping these cloud builders build both public and private clouds.”
Instead of being focused on specific components, a cloud builder looks at the entire infrastructure from the data center down to the end user, Napolitano explains. Cloud architects are focused on delivering agility and cost savings through automation, data and application mobility, and workflow integration. By contrast, traditional static-network approaches hamper the rapid build-out and deployment of private and hybrid clouds.
“What we’re announcing today is a big software leap forward, but the biggest thing for us as a company is we know the characteristics of our target customer, and it’s these cloud architects or cloud builders.”
The 2.2 software includes Plexxi Connect Cloud Integration, which provides automated orchestration of VMware and OpenStack environments, reducing the time it takes to deploy new services. The integration software comprehends storage or network requirements, such as the traffic between nodes and metadata traffic, in order to enable dynamic topologies.
Plexxi’s Dynamic Fabric Control uses the results and policy information generated by the integration suite in order to simplify traffic control. As part of Fabric Control, Workload Control manages workload-specific traffic, such as vMotion, in order to ensure that data and application workload SLAs are met.
Flow Control, another element of Fabric Control, enables override capabilities for specific traffic flows to provide better traffic management and security. It also creates end-to-end managed paths instead of the traditional “next hop” approach.
The third major part of the Plexxi 2.2 Software Suite is Layer 1 traffic distribution and replication, which enables low latency for sensitive data such as analytics, high-performance computing, content distribution, and high-frequency trading. The last piece of the software suite is the Security Tool Suite, which Plexxi says mixes Layers 1-4 for a big-picture security policy profile. It also includes service chaining to intercept and redirect traffic flows to security applications or appliances for analysis.
“With our new software capabilities, cloud builders will be able to understand the policy they’re trying to do, which nodes are in which clusters, what the association is, and what is the nature of the traffic,” Napolitano says. “For example, in the VMware environment there are several different types of network traffic. You have to be able to distinguish the different types of network traffic. Feeding that information into our Dynamic Fabric Control allows us to fit and render topologies that are optimized.”
Perseus, a global managed service provider, starting deploying elements of the software suite’s 2.1 version in late August and early September but is currently in the process of implementing 2.2.
All of the Plexxi 2.2 Software Suite products are available today.
Switch Is On
The Plexxi Switch 3, which will be available in January, offers 3.2 Tb/s switching capacity for supporting data growth in cloud environments. The switch, which Napolitano describes as “more of a delivery vehicle for our software,” has less than 400 ns of latency and comes in a one-rack-unit form factor. It supports 10-, 25-, 40-, 50-, and 100-Gb/s connectivity.