Light Reading

Google's Andromeda Relieves Cloud Strain

Mitch Wagner
8/26/2014
50%
50%

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Hot Interconnects -- Google relies on its Andromeda networking platform to deliver a global cloud infrastructure that gives customers the security and performance benefits of local private networks.

"We want bare-metal performance and low latency for the services we deliver," said Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Distinguished Engineer Amin Vahdat, delivering a keynote at the conference here today.

SDN is key to delivering the needed performance and security, he said.

SDN at its most fundamental involves separating the control plane from the data plane, Vahdat noted. "A logically centralized hierarchical control plane beats peer-to-peer every time," he said. The data plane can run at network speed, while the control plane can run on commodity hardware, scaling as needed. The control plane requires 1% of the overhead of the entire network, Vahdat said.

But managing that infrastructure requires new tools and skills, he said.

"It turns out that running a hundred or a thousand servers is a very difficult operation. You can't hire people out of college who know how to operate a hundred or a thousand servers," Vahdat said. Tools are often designed for homogeneous environments and individual systems. Human reaction time is too slow to deliver "five nines" of uptime, maintenance outages are unacceptable, and the network becomes a bottleneck and source of outages.

Google looks to SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) to orchestrate provisioning, high availability, and meet application performance requirements, Vahdat said. The technology must be distributed throughout the network, which is only as strong as its weakest link.

Andromeda is Google's code-name for its network virtualization platform. It's designed to provide each external user with the illusion that they're on a dedicated network with dedicated performance and its own IP address space. Applications require real-time high performance and low-latency communications to virtual machines. Users also require service chaining to tools such as load-balancing, and the ability to grow and shrink the number of servers available to applications as demand requires. (See Google, Microsoft Challenge Service Providers and Google's Andromeda Strain Is Spreading.)

Security is a huge requirement. "Large companies are constantly under attack. It's not a question of whether you're under attack but how big is the attack," Vahdat said.

Power and cooling are the major costs of a global infrastructure like Google's. "That's true of even your laptop at home if you're running it 24/7. At Google scale, that's very apparent," Vahdat said.

Google has a global infrastructure, with data centers and points of presence worldwide to provide low-latency access to services locally, rather than requiring customers to access a single point.

The company runs two networks. Its private, server-to-server network is bigger than its public network, and one of the world's largest SDN deployments. Connectivity between data centers is comparable to within data centers.

Andromeda provides significant performance improvements over a state-of-the-art baseline, as seen in Vahdat's slides:

The promise of cloud computing is just beginning.


Find out more about key developments related to the systems and technologies deployed in data centers on Light Reading's data center infrastructure channel.


"Many people think about cloud computing as being able to get on-demand access to computing. I don't have to go buy servers; I can rent them for a minute, or an hour, or a day. I can get burst capacity of as many servers as I like, whatever memory, configuration or disk, etc., that I like. I think actually yes, this is powerful, but this is really just the beginning," Vahdat said. "The really exciting parts of cloud computing are on the verge of happening."

These include a fundamentally easier operational model; higher uptime; state-of-the-art infrastructure services such as denial-of-service protection, load balancing, and storage; and new programming models for low latency and massive input-output performance.

What cloud doesn't do is take away the challenges of running an IT infrastructure. "Most cloud customers, if you poll them, say the operational overhead of running on the cloud is as hard or harder today than running on your own infrastructure," Vahdat said.

Click the photo below for a selection of Vahdat's slides -- and more.

He's Hydrated
Google Distinguished Engineer Amin Vahdat
Google Distinguished Engineer Amin Vahdat

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/31/2014 | 10:40:01 PM
Re: What's the protocol?
@jabailo,

Wouldn't the packet alterations get messy though? In the TCP case , if somethings off just a little bit. Also, there'd have to be extra overhead for error checking right?
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 10:52:17 PM
Re: What's the protocol?
Like in a private network you can make assumptions that you can't make when shipping it out across the public Internet.

For example, I'm looking at this diagram:

http://www.freesoft.org/CIE/Course/Section4/8.htm

What about all that space for "source port" and "destination port".   Inside your own network, do you need to allocate that many bits?

Seems like for every bit you can reduce in a packet you get that much greater throughput.

 
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/27/2014 | 5:58:28 PM
Re: What's the protocol?
@jabailo,

Ahh ok I see. That's a good point.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 9:45:56 AM
Androworld
Google certainly is going to lead the way in NFV/SDN services and of course the free PR they get for all announcements is not a bad thing for them either. Security is still going to be an ongoing problem and probably others are going to see their way to NFV and the cloud just to help solve that issue.
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 12:56:38 AM
Re: What's the protocol?
Sure, I was just thinking they could reduce the packet sizes by removing some of the headers, since it all runs "in-house" on their cloud.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/27/2014 | 12:29:06 AM
Re: What's the protocol?
@jabailo,

My guess is because that's what they've always used. No reason to change unless there's a problem/vulnerability.
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2014 | 10:51:07 PM
What's the protocol?
Just how raw is the data layer protocol?  Is there any reason for it to be tcp/ip? 
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2014 | 7:42:42 PM
Autopilot
Is Andromeda the same as Azure's Autopilot? And what is the baseline?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Facebook Reinvents Data Center Networking
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
Cats with Phones