data center researchDesigned to enable massive increases of scale rapidly, hyper-scale networking characterizes nearly six of ten (57 percent) of enterprise data center networking environments, according to results of a survey of 1,623 U.S. and European IT professionals announced by network hardware and software provider Emulex Corp October 28. More than half (51 percent) cited increasing bandwidth as “a major challenge in moving to hyperscale environments.”

Skyrocketing use of mobile devices and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend are helping change the face of information and communications infrastructure, moving it more toward network-centric front-end applications and cloud services that require lots more in the way of network bandwidth, Emulex highlights in a press release.

“Hyperscale and multi-tenant requirements are driving demand for higher network bandwidth to manage vast volumes of data, lower latency to accelerate application delivery and performance, and increased security to meet service-level agreements (SLAs), and regulatory and compliance requirements,” Emulex notes.

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Hyperscale Survey Results
Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents working in organizations running hyperscale network environments said the migration to the cloud has already prompted them to upgrade their networks to at least 40Gb Ethernet (40GbE).

“The move to hyperscale is entering a second phase from the cloud providers to managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprises. This survey highlights that like every major transition in IT infrastructure, changes are required and IT professionals have to re-think almost everything they have done in the past,” Emulex Senior Vice President of Marketing Shaun Walsh was quoted as saying.

“Beyond the concept of hyperscale models, we see very specific technologies being implemented such as OpenStack, SDN and NFV. Each of these changes has performance, operational expenditure (OPEX) and team skill implications for application, networking and storage infrastructure. We are working with leading end users, ecosystem partners and OEMs to bring the right connectivity, monitoring and management tools to make these solutions viable and operational.”

Other key takeaways from Emulex’s report include:

Hyperscale and the cloud

  • 37% of respondents are taking a hybrid approach, using both private and public cloud;
  • 31% are investing in private cloud, but are cautious about moving data to the public cloud;
  • 30% are taking a “wait and see” approach to storing data in the cloud.
  • The top workloads respondents reported they have moved, or plan to move to the cloud, include customer business applications (29%), application testing/development (23%), big data/analytics (19%), Office 365 (19%), email collaboration (19%), customer relationship management (CRM) (18%), disaster recovery (13%), ecommerce (9%), ERP systems (5%) and SAP Hana (2%).

Hyperscale organizations are investing in open networking approaches

  • 55% of respondents from hyperscale organizations have already deployed an Open Compute-based infrastructure, and 43% plan to in the next 24 months. In contrast, only 17% of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations have deployed an Open Compute-based infrastructure, and only 17% plan to in the next 24 months;
  • 31% of respondents have already deployed an NFV-based infrastructure, and 68% plan to in the next 24 months. In contrast, only 16% of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations have deployed a network functions virtualization (NFV)-based infrastructure, and only 16% plan to in the next 24 months;
  • 15% of respondents have already deployed OpenStack, and 82% plan to deploy OpenStack in the next 24 months. In comparison, only 11% of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations have deployed OpenStack, and only 20% plan to in the next 24 months;
  • 11% of respondents have already deployed software-defined networking (SDN), and 86% plan to implement SDN in the next 24 months. Comparatively, only 17% of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations have deployed SDN, and only 29% plan to in the next 24 months.

State of data center networking technologies and protocols

  • All survey respondents reported they are using a mix of network technologies in their private data centers. 23% have deployed 10GbE, 7% have deployed 40GbE, and 3.5% have deployed 100GbE;
  • In the next 12-24 months, 68% of all survey respondents plan to deploy 10GbE, 63% plan to deploy 25GbE, 69% plan to deploy 40GbE and 70% plan to deploy 100GbE;
  • All survey respondents reported they are using a mix of networking protocols in their private data centers. 23% have deployed Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), 18% have deployed iSCSI and 2% have deployed RDMA over converged Ethernet (RoCE);
  • In the next 12-24 months, 54% of respondents plan to deploy FCoE, 65% expect to be using iSCSI and 68% expect to be using RoCE.

In addition, “bandwidth remains a major challenge for hyperscale companies, versus non-hyperscale companies that are focused on security,” Emulex found:

  • For hyperscale companies, respondents reported increased bandwidth requirements (51%), latency (36%), and security concerns (20%) as the top three challenges in migrating these workloads to the cloud;
  • For non-hyperscale companies, respondents reported security (70%), latency (44%), and increased bandwidth requirements (39%) as the top three challenges in migrating workloads to the cloud;
  • Hyperscale organizations are upgrading networking technologies at a much higher rate;
  • 97% of respondents reported that adoption of hyperscale has necessitated a move to 10GbE, 40GbE or higher speeds to meet demands of high-performance applications such as big data, analytics and content distribution, compared to only 48% of respondents from non-hyperscale organizations.

Hyperscale companies need network speed

  • 38% of respondents from hyperscale companies said they have 40Gb per second (Gbps) or faster network connections to their primary data center, compared to only 22% of respondents from non-hyperscale companies;
  • 93% of survey respondents at hyperscale companies expect to be at 40Gbps or faster in three years, but only 44% of non-hyperscale organizations expect to be at 40Gbps or faster in the same time frame.

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