Last month, I found myself on the hook to transport all of my Mom’s worldly possessions from California to Colorado. Like so many of us who accumulate more and more data with every passing day, my Mom had collected an awful lot of stuff over the years.

Before departing on my 1500 mile journey through less traveled territory, the state of play of L3 networks and Datera’s advanced integration with them had been on my mind. But things had been so busy professionally and personally I’d had to put my thoughts on hold. My road trip on Highway 80 across Nevada, Utah and Wyoming finally provided me with the time to think it through. This was especially true since I was behind the wheel of a completely full moving truck, towing a car on a trailer and going well below the speed limit – because that is as fast as it would go no matter how hard I pushed on the gas pedal.

As I crossed the first state line between California and Nevada, it occurred to me that I might be using the equivalent of an L2 switch for a job that required L3 capabilities. Two hundred miles later I was sure of it. The red hot axle on my car trailer melted before collapsing into the road, producing lots of smoke and even a little fire. Luckily, I was able to get off the road quickly, preventing any further drama and danger.

It struck me then that I’d had a sudden, somewhat spectacular and unanticipated failure. Whether carrying data across the interstate or over large complex systems like data centers, bad things can sometimes happen. In either case, it takes time to recover, re-route and mitigate the loss of data and data availability.

The question then becomes, not IF it happens, but WHAT will happen when things inevitably go wrong… perhaps spectacularly? Do you lose business waiting for someone else to fix the problem, or take charge of creating the solution?

Recovering in an L2 network is like pulling over to the side of the road, putting on your emergency flashers and hoping someone will notice.

Flat networks are essential when the only constant is change:

In at-scale data centers, where infrastructure is dynamic, applications are constantly on the move, and agility is king for achieving business success, networking flexibility is critical. L3 has proven itself as the enabler of scale. The advantages of L3 include:

  • Adaptive networking: Virtual L3 networks are flexible and scalable and can contain any node across the data center. They can be dynamically reshaped with fast network convergence times after link or node changes.
  • Dynamic load balancing: Virtual L3 networks use equal-cost multipathing (ECMP) and dynamic routing to quickly adapt to topology and bandwidth changes.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): Virtual L3 networks can use fine-grained traffic shaping to transparently compensate network and topology flux.

For data management and storage systems, L3 network virtualization is becoming particularly important in order to co-adapt with the data center network and allow efficient load balancing and failover across the data center.

Datera and L3 – taking control of our destiny

Datera’s fully integrated L3 capabilities enables the system to immediately respond to failures and changes in the network and actively manage quality of service, maximizing data availability and performance.

When operating in an L3 leaf-spine network, Datera implements NFV (network function virtualization). As an active end-point running the L3 BGP (border gateway protocol) peer, it does not wait by the side of the road. Akin to Project Calico’s virtual networking and network security for bare metal, containers and virtual machines, this integrated L3 capability lets Datera nodes instantly move IP addresses across the cluster. For failures this means no disruption to applications versus the multi-second L2 recovery process that can be very problematic for operating systems, containers and applications. Equally valuable is that a Datera cluster will move data, and the IP addresses associated with the data to the work. If a VM or container is migrated across the data center, the Datera system will detect the migration and begin co-locating data in Datera nodes nearest to the application. This ensures the lowest possible latency while maintaining fault domains in accordance to the policies.

Datera is the only data services platform that virtualizes L3 network function virtualization (NFV) and data virtualization by policy. This automatically provides secure and scalable data connectivity as a service for every application.

Datera’s advanced networking capabilities deliver several key customer benefits:

  • Datacenter awareness: Datera understands the L3 network and how it changes. Our policy engine can infer data center properties such as rack boundaries, availability zones, power domains, etc., so over time, it will become increasingly aware of the data center itself.
  • Non-disruptive growth: Datera services map to IP addresses, which float in the virtualized flat IP namespace. Datera can instantly learn L3 network changes, so its data services can live-migrate across the data center without I/O glitches, and thus seamlessly adapt to data center flux.
  • Adaptive security: Datera policies combine L3 network virtualization with data access control lists and whitelists, so they can secure data connectivity automatically, and far better than any other solution.
  • Adaptive performance and resilience: Datera is data center aware, and continuously optimizes the virtualized data and services along with the virtualized L3 network for performance and high reliability and availability.

Datera’s software defined storage, like my moving van experience, has a payload to deliver and can’t afford to be idled by a failure. In modern data centers it is imperative that your infrastructure proactively respond to issues when they occur, not wait to be noticed. Datera’s advanced network function virtualization provides industry leading networking capabilities to deliver the right data, every time, all the time.

Proactively, with the trailer still smoldering, I contacted the moving truck company support site and told them what I was going to do. My moving truck “failover” took 1/10th the time it would have taken if the old (L2 like) process were used and I got a full refund on the trailer rental! I was able to get back on Highway 80 and made the rest of the journey without incident. Now the job of figuring out where to put all the cargo begins.

Ready to achieve high-performance with continuous availability on commodity hardware and reduce your storage infrastructure total-cost-of-ownership by as much as 70%? Contact us to schedule a free consultation