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F5 Synthesis Aims To Fill SDN Gap

Architecture targets Layer 4-7 app deployment; Cray debuts TAS for big data; Red Hat updates cloud management software and Linux platform for OpenStack; new Rackspace cloud servers come with all-SSD storage.

F5 Networks announced a new architecture that the company said will help organizations more easily license and deploy Layer 4-7 applications.

F5 Synthesis is a high-performance services fabric aimed at cutting the cost and complexity of what the company has dubbed software defined application services (SDAS). While software-defined networking (SDN) has focused on network orchestration, SDAS addresses Layer 4-7 services such as access control, authentication, load balancing, mobility and optimization.

The architecture is based on F5’s BIG-IP hardware and software and BIG-IQ management system, as well as its TMOS and ScaleN technologies. The Synthesis ScaleN services fabric can scale up to support up to 1.28 million instances in a combination of administrative domains and virtual instances, the company said.

F5 Synthesis also includes prescriptive reference architectures and optimized licensing models, as well as management and control plane APIs for integration and interoperability with SDN and virtualization systems.

Brad Casemore, research director covering data center networks at IDC, said F5 Synthesis positions the company’s technology as easier and more affordable for customers to deploy as they embrace virtualization and the cloud. In the past, he said, customers would come to F5 to address a specific need. “This is a way for F5 to grow their business and get more engagements per customer rather than selling a box when the need is obvious," he said.

[Read about Cisco's launch of its long-awaited SDN platform in "Cisco Unveils Insieme SDN Platform, New Switches."]

Casemore said for the most part, Synthesis encompasses technology the company has organically evolved in the Layer 4-7 segment, as well as functionality gained by acquiring < a href="http://www.networkcomputing.com/virtualization/f5-acquires-sdn-startup-linerate-systems/240148379">SDN startup LineRate Systems earlier this year, such as enhanced programmability through APIs.

Other vendors, such Riverbed and Citrix, are recognizing this Layer 4-7 opportunity, especially as many application delivery controller (ADC) capabilities are increasingly being offered as a service, Casemore added. For example, Cisco ended development of its own ACE ADC, announcing in June it would integrate Citrix’s NetScaler ADC into its Cloud Network Services architecture.

Cray Targets TAS At Big Data

Supercomputing supplier Cray debuted its new Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) this week, which includes large-scale archival storage software from Versity Software to help organizations more cost-effectively preserve data -- including big data -- indefinitely. Cray recently became a strategic investor in Versity.

TAS can be set up as both a primary storage system as well as persistent storage archive, the company said, and can include up to four different tiers by combining solid state drive, disk or tape that supports quick and easy data migration using Versity Storage Manager.

The introduction of TAS comes on the heels of Cray’s launch of Cluster Connect, its compute agnostic storage and data management product for x86 Linux clusters, and Sonexion, a scale-out storage system for high-performance computing environments.

Earlier this year, research firm IDC predicted a $6 billion market for big data storage by 2016, accounting for one quarter of an overall big data market that also includes file systems and analytics software.

Red Hat Expands OpenStack Support

Red Hat unveiled the latest version of its cloud management platform, CloudForms 3.0, and announced beta availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0 at the OpenStack Summit this week.

CloudForms installs as a virtual appliance and is also offered as part of the Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure introduced earlier this year. It already supported enterprise-level management and automation capabilities for a number of infrastructure platforms, including VMware vSphere, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Amazon Web Services (AWS), but now also provides cloud management capabilities for its own Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform as well, the company said.

Additional features for AWS in CloudForms 3.0 gives users the ability to manage workloads running in their public clouds together with those in their private cloud. CloudForms also allows users to provision Amazon Machine Instances in a policy controlled manner; supports Amazon Virtual Private Cloud; and integrates with Amazon's Identity and Access Management.

Meanwhile, the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0 includes both OpenStack Havana and the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5. The latest version now supports Foreman, a management tool for physical and virtual servers that simplifies the addition of both physical and virtual compute nodes to an OpenStack deployment, as well as OpenStack Orchestration (Heat), an orchestration engine to launch application stacks, and OpenStack Networking (Neutron), which provides networking-as-a-service between interface devices such as vNICs.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0 also includes better integration with Red Hat Storage Server 2.1, providing storage services for OpenStack Object Storage (Swift), OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) and OpenStack Image Service (Glance).

Rackspace Boosts Public Cloud

Rackspace Hosting has redesigned its public cloud by adding new servers to support a variety of workloads, ranging from basic Web hosting to large scale NoSQL data stores such MongoDB and Cassandra, the company said.

The data center-grade Performance Cloud Servers include RAID 10-protected solid-state disks (SSDs), Intel Xeon E5 processors and up to 120GB of RAM, which Rackspace said delivers four times more total RAM and two times more total CPU performance compared to its current Cloud Servers. The new servers’ high-throughput network was specifically designed to work with Cloud Block Storage, providing up to 1.5X more disk I/O performance for Standard volumes and 2.5X more disk I/O performance for SSD volumes, according to Rackspace.

The new servers, which run OpenStack, are available now in the Northern Virginia region and are expected to come online in the Dallas and Chicago regions later this month.

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