Service Providers

ADX Virtualization for Multitenancy: Combining the Best of Both Worlds

by Greg.Hankins on ‎09-07-2012 01:44 PM (1,027 Views)

My first experience with Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) was way back when the market for this kind of purpose-built hardware was just developing.  We had early access to Foundry’s software image that you could load on a standard NetIron router to turn it into a server load balancer, and some of the things it could do was pretty cool.  We tested SMTP and NNTP load balancing, and it worked quite well for our needs at the time.  The ServerIron then became an official product, and after a humble beginning the ADX Series is now an integral part of the Brocade product portfolio.  I’m amazed at how sophisticated the feature set is on this product, and at how we continue to innovate and deliver exciting new features that enable our customers to offer new services.  One example that I wrote about a while ago is the OpenScript Engine, which enables service providers to write custom Perl scripts that direct application traffic.  There’s something else that we’ve developed that will change the way customers can use the ADX, and that’s what I want to tell you about today.

Virtualization has been available on mainframes and servers for a long time, but hasn’t been widely implemented on ADCs yet.  At least not in the way server virtualization is implemented, with a hypervisior that virtualizes the system’s software and hardware resources.  This is exactly what we’re bringing to the ADX Series, and it will enable service providers to deploy a truly isolated multitenancy solution that saves CapEx and OpEx.  We redesigned the software architecture around a custom hypervisor that runs multiple, fully isolated ADX instances on a single physical system, each with its own dedicated software and hardware resources.  The virtualization architecture is designed to maximize the consolidation benefits of deploying multitenancy solutions, while still maintaining the isolation and flexibility that using separate ADCs provides.

Provisioning and configuration is simple and flexible too.  Since the software is virtualized for each tenant, features are configured independently and can even use overlapping VLANs or IP addresses.  Full feature parity across tenants, based on the hypervisor architecture, provides the ability to mix and match tenants and to enable advanced features in any combination on the same module, with no extra hardware or licensing costs.  This granular level of flexibility and tenant control gives service providers the most efficient allocation of hardware resources.  If you are interested in more details on this feature, please grab the ADX multitenancy white paper.

Speaking of next week, we have our annual Analyst and Technology Day coming up on Wednesday the 12th.  We will be sharing our strategic vision and latest innovations with the public, and will also have several technology demonstrations.  The ADX demonstrations will show multitenancy and VXLAN gateway (which we just recently demonstrated at VMworld too).  Oh, I should also mention our interactive “Ask the Expert” session for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) that will be running during the Tech Day activities.  You can attend remotely, so please make sure to register to get all the latest details on the technologies we are developing.

For more information on Brocade’s application delivery solutions, please visit the Brocade ADX product page.