Matisse Networks' EtherBurst extends virtualization between data centers

MAY 1, 208 -- vMETRO is a collection of capabilities purpose-built to enable the virtualization of IT resources across distributed data centers and campus networks, say Matisse Networks representatives.

MAY 1, 208 -- Matisse Networks (search for Matisse Networks) this week introduced virtualization of metropolitan optical networks with a suite of new features collectively known as vMETRO.

According to the company, vMETRO is a collection of capabilities purpose-built to enable the virtualization of IT resources across distributed data centers and campus networks. For the first time, vMETRO allows enterprises to cost-effectively implement metro-wide application agility to scale business-critical IT infrastructure beyond the physical power, space, and cooling limitations of a single site, enabling:
• Metro-wide data center capacity pooling;
• Improved IT resource utilization; and
• Scalable metro network infrastructure.

"We are on the brink of advancing from the current era of virtualizing individual servers to true data center automation," contends Mark Bowker, analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. "Next-generation virtualization capabilities that dynamically provision resources such as storage logical unit numbers [LUN] over distributed arrays or migrate live compute instances between buildings with tools like VMware's VMotion become possible when an enterprise has a high-capacity, low-latency interconnect such as Matisse Network's EtherBurst," he says.

According to Matisse Networks, EtherBurst is the first system to fully integrate Ethernet and optical technologies. EtherBurst offers the operational simplicity and universal interoperability associated with Ethernet while providing the bandwidth and scalability of WDM optics. The new vMETRO capabilities make EtherBurst ideally suited to help enterprises grow their metro networks to interconnect distributed data centers and campus LANs.

"Server and storage virtualization have improved resource utilization and simplified data center management while increasing responsiveness," notes Michael Kennedy, president of Network Strategy Partners. "Circuit WDM systems, however, have been a barrier to extending the benefits of virtualization across the metro optical network. Matisse's vMETRO enables virtualization of both Ethernet switching and optical transponders so that servers, storage, and bandwidth resources may be efficiently shared across the metro area."

vMETRO includes a number of distinct components, each available exclusively from Matisse:

• Virtualized Metro Switching:
Matisse says its vmSwitching capability, now integrated into EtherBurst, makes it possible for an entire network of EtherBurst systems to operate as a single distributed Layer 2 Ethernet switch. High-bandwidth and low-latency switching ensures the highest levels of application performance, even if server and storage resources are physically located in different data centers.

Since vmSwitching makes the metro network of EtherBurst nodes manageable as a single entity, the entire metro network now becomes as easy to manage as any Ethernet switch within the data center, claim company representatives. IT personnel can use existing LAN management tools to configure and operate a metro-wide virtual network as used today to manage a virtualized network within a single data center.

Unlike circuit WDM systems that require specialized optical engineering expertise to design, deploy, and maintain the Layer 1 network, EtherBurst is managed and configured easily by anyone familiar with configuring Layer 2 Ethernet switches and standard Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), says the company.

• Optical VLANs:
Optical VLANs control the logical grouping of virtualized IT resources throughout a metro region. Now applications, servers, and storage devices from any number of sites can all be interconnected simultaneously to enable resource grouping and virtualization spanning multiple data centers.

Conventional circuit-based WDM systems only provide point-to-point circuit connectivity and require the ongoing management of a separate Layer 1 network. Optical VLANs, by contrast, are managed using standard VLAN management interfaces, enabling end-to-end Layer 2 networking of distributed resources.

• Metro-Wide Quality of Service:
Matisse says its mQOS delivers dynamic bandwidth reallocation, shifting bandwidth in real-time between applications and between sites while ensuring higher priority applications receive all resources necessary for optimal operation. EtherBurst dynamically responds to changing traffic patterns to deliver bandwidth to the highest priority users and applications anywhere across the metro optical network.

"vMETRO now makes it possible to interconnect distributed resources as if they were all within a single facility," explains Timon Sloane, vice president of marketing for Matisse Networks. "Any combination of applications, servers, and storage subsystems that can be networked together within a single data center can now be interconnected with the same ease and performance across a metro region using the Matisse EtherBurst distributed switch."

The first live public demonstration of an operational EtherBurst distributed switch with vMETRO capabilities was held this week during Interop 2008 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The vMETRO suite of features is included in Matisse Networks' EtherBurst 2.0 software release, which is available immediately.

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