Oracle Unveils Data Center Fabric Based on Xsigo Technology

The software company's new Oracle Virtual Networking fabric promises faster application performance and data center resource deployment.

Oracle is leveraging its acquisition last year of virtual networking vendor Xsigo Systems with the rollout of its data center fabric, which the enterprise software giant is extending to its newest SPARC servers.

The vendor's Oracle Virtual Networking fabric will help enterprises speed up the performance of the applications and virtual machines while driving down the costs and complexity of their data center deployments, according to officials. Businesses will be able to support more servers and run more virtual machines per physical system with a highly scalable and flexible fabric, they said.

The new fabric will benefit businesses running both x86-based servers and SPARC systems.

"As the industry's fastest data center fabric, Oracle Virtual Networking enables increased performance and agility while virtually eliminating the complexity in traditional data centers," Raju Penumatcha, vice president of product development, Netra systems and networking for Oracle, said in a statement. "Now with added support for the fastest processors on the planet and the first cloud OS, customers can leverage the benefits of Oracle Virtual Networking in both SPARC and x86 environments."

Data center fabrics are designed to make infrastructures more scalable, dynamic and flexible by tying together the various resources in the data center, which is increasingly important, given the rapid growth of such technologies as cloud computing and virtualization, as well as such trends as mobile computing and bring your own device (BYOD) and the rising demand for faster application performance.

Oracle is expanding the fabric technology it inherited when it bought Xsigo in July 2012, a company that launched in 2007 and rolled out its own fabric software in 2011. Xsigo officials at the time called the new fabric the "first fully virtualized infrastructure" for cloud data centers, enabling one-click network connections over Ethernet and InfiniBand from virtual machines to any data center resource, including servers, networks, storage and other virtual machines (VMs).

With Oracle Virtual Networking, officials are promising significant enhancements in the data center, from a four-times improvement in application performance to a 70 percent reduction in complexity. In addition, businesses will be able to drive down networking and storage capital costs by 50 percent while speeding up the migration of virtual machines by a factor of 19, they said. New services can be provisioned in minutes rather than days.

The fabric supports a range of operating systems, including Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux and Microsoft's Windows, and virtualization platforms, such as Oracle VM, VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V.

Through the Oracle fabric, businesses will be able to gain the benefits of software-defined networks (SDNs), which aim to create more programmable, scalable and flexible networks by removing the network intelligence from hardware such as switches and routers and putting it into software-based controllers. Established networking vendors and startups alike are rapidly rolling out SDN initiatives, as are large companies like Oracle and VMware, which are adding SDN capabilities to their overall data center solution strategies.

The unveiling of Oracle Virtual Networking April 3 comes a week after Oracle announced its newest SPARC servers based on the new T5 and M5 processors. The new systems include the midrange T5s servers (with two, four and eight sockets) and the high-end M5s servers (with 16 and 32 sockets). With the new systems, businesses can quickly spin out and deploy powerful applications and cloud services.

The new fabric will enable businesses to more easily consolidate older SPARC/Solaris applications onto the new systems, and using the SPARC T servers, eight Oracle Fabric Interconnects can scale up to 1,000 servers and 128,000 cores, according to Oracle.

In cloud environments, enterprises can create up to 16,000 private Ethernet Layer 2 networks inside a single fabric. In addition, Oracle's new Fabric Manager 1.4 offers unified management of SPARC and x86 systems that are deployed with Oracle Fabric Interconnect, the company said.