Show 50 – Collapsing Layers

This show was recorded Thursday, 6/23/2011. Greg was away at Glastonbury, so joining Ethan on the mic are Kurt Bales, Jeff Fry, and Mrs. Y for a design-oriented discussion revolving around the emerging one-tier data center.

First – the news.

  • New Zealand Herald 6/23/2011Free service hides your online life from prying eyes – “A free service launched yesterday called PrivateSky lets internet users shield email, Facebook updates, and other online exchanges from hackers or other unwanted snoops. The service from startup CertiVox comes as hackers appear to be rampaging through the internet, cracking defences at companies, attacking public websites, and tricking their way into email accounts to spy on contents.”
  • The Register 6/22/2011FBI fat-thumbs data centre raid – “A bungled FBI raid on a data centre has taken out an unknown number of Web sites. Apparently targeting a particular – but unnamed – customer of DigitalOne, the G-men seized three enclosures of equipment, according to the New York Times.”
  • ITNews.Com.AU 6/21/2011 – ASX takes network neutrality to new extremes – “Customers connected with exactly the same length of fibre. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is promising mathematically consistent services to customers of its new $32 million data centre in Sydney’s Gore Hill, even if that means rolling out hundreds of metres of excess fibre cabling.”

Then – the “collapsing layers” discussion.

We’re seeing the steady decline of the three-tier data center architecture. In fact, vendors are touting their new fabric solutions as single tier with any-to-any communication.

  • What’s a one-tier data center look like?
  • Do we really have to kill spanning tree to evolve?
  • What are the security implications in a data center where anyone can talk to anyone?
  • We discuss and speculate about Juniper’s QFabric.
  • What are the challenges of converging your storage onto the fabric? (Don’t miss Mrs. Y’s definition of NFS!)
  • Do we have to have a lossless single tier to safely run storage over a converged ethernet?
  • If we could erase the whiteboard and design a brand new data center from scratch, what would it look like?

Listener Question

What are the pros and cons of running a single Cisco Catalyst 6513 for your entire infrastructure (including workstations)?


Kurt Bales |

Jeff Fry |

Mrs. Y | our anonymous special guest

Ethan Banks | | @ecbanks

Greg Ferro |

Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, has been managing networks for higher ed, government, financials and high tech since 1995. Ethan co-hosts the Packet Pushers Podcast, which has seen over 3M downloads and reaches over 10K listeners. With whatever time is left, Ethan writes for fun & profit, studies for certifications, and enjoys science fiction. @ecbanks
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
  • Aaron Theodore

    I posed the ‘listener question’, more as a statement. I manage such a network. (which has been running without failure for 4years or so)
    I’ll reassure everyone we do have dual SUPs and all the workstations are on seperate linecards.

    Sure it is not ideal, but it could be worse.
    Hardware config is one thing but if you have a hopeless software config that is the first thing to deal with.
    e.g. EVERYTHING in vlan1, no other vlans configured.

    This network has come a long way since I took over management of it a couple of years ago.

    Also I would be interested in thoughts about:
    Single Chassis Dual SUPs vs Dual Chassis Single SUP

  • lior cohen

    mrs. anonymous talk much but seems to know little… but overall gr8 podcast. great discussion! @Jlior:twitter

  • Guest

    Cisco has a module in the works for the nexus 7k called AGNI.  Services being considered/addded for value.  Firewall, NAM, Netflow, Encryption, OTV/LISP, NAT, VSM,, and AVM.

    • Etherealmind

      I’ve hears nothing about that – either it’s a long away, or they are keeping it very quiet. StI’ll, I’m done with service modules.

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