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Each tier should be designed with high availability in mind. Data Center Overview Three types of equipment are found in data centers: server or computing equipment networking equipment storage equipment Servers perform all the computing roles. The database layer provides all the information needed by the applications to perform the request. FIGURE 1: Tiered data center architecture. the application layer and the database layer. relying on underlying layers to supply the requested information from the user or application. or the tiers can run on separated/dedicated equipment. such as the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE). The tiered approach adds robustness to the design of the data center. Database servers are usually cluster-based. is very often used to handle load distribution and failover. Because of their key importance to the business. These data center tiers can run in parallel on the same equipment by using virtualization. Data storage equipment. Figure 1 shows a tiered data center architecture. This article describes options for connecting two geographically dispersed data centers that are running the same services. data centers are designed to be robust. The presentation layer (or web server layer) runs web-serving software and takes care of presenting the results of underlying back-office applications to the clients accessing the service by using a web browser. application server tier. storage and applications that support your business. Instructor at NIL Data Communications Ltd Introduction Today’s data center is the home to essential computation. both of which are foundations for reliable and stable application services. Server load-balancing equipment. performing operations to fulfill requests from users. usually in the form of a Storage Area Network (SAN). Shown are the web server tier. The application layer performs the business logic necessary to fulfill the user’s request. with the network facing the users. In this layered or tiered approach. fast and highly reliable. usually consists of a standalone network that connects servers to storage systems.Top of Form Search Go Search this Bottom of Form Content DATA CENTER INTERCONNECT by Jaroslav Rajić. Such a scenario is typical for businesses running clustered database services and distributed storage systems. applications are run on the servers. so that a failure in a particular server does not affect the whole service. [Source: Cisco Systems] . Networking equipment assumes the role of interconnecting servers. and database server tier. and is used to carry data from massive-storage media (such as disks or tapes) to the servers for processing. CCNP/CCSI. The data center is usually built using all or some of the following layers: the presentation layer. each layer performs its individual task.
Depending on the cluster design. FIGURE 2: High-availability cluster. having IP addresses in one or two distinct Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs). The servers are also connected to a shared storage array (e. If one server from the cluster is down. [Source: Cisco Systems] . Server clusters act as one server to the requesting side. which serve as a basis for high availability. and work in load-sharing configurations.. These servers must provide a quick and reliable response.Database Servers and Server Clustering The servers running the database are one of the key components of a data center. or use one dedicated VLAN for public communication (to clients) and one for private communication (server to server). the IP address providing services moves between the servers.g. where the Layer-2 domain needs to be extended to include all relevant servers on several access switches. which is a common scenario. The private VLAN is required for intra-cluster communication. so they are usually designed and deployed in server clusters. Heartbeat signals usually need direct Layer-2 reachability. some implementations use the public VLAN for both public and private communication. In the public VLAN. however. These servers also constantly monitor each other using heartbeat signals. Clustered database servers interact with each other and with the outside world. Figure 2 shows a basic high-availability cluster. the other servers accept and load-share the requests. the database cluster can use the same VLAN for both private and public communication. with public and private networks linking the cluster nodes. via SAN). which must be taken into account when designing the data center access layer.
upgrading the data center may become necessary. If you have more than one data center. which is how to interconnect the two data centers. The providers mainly employ tunneling mechanisms such as Layer-2 Tunneling Protocol Version 3 (L2TPv3). or MPLS-based connectivity solutions such as Ethernet over MPLS (EoMPLS) and Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS). or any other equipment that would prevent the propagation of User Datagram Protocol (UDP) broadcasts. but based on the clustering implementation and/or load-sharing algorithm. those topics are outside the scope of this article. In recent years. you need to establish Layer-2 visibility between data centers. The best . Usually it makes sense to upgrade the primary and only data center to a limited extent. latency. the application servers use the virtual IP address of the server cluster to perform requests. Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) optimizations. The clients use the virtual IP address to make requests to the server clusters – in the pictured case. The segment must behave like a standard LAN. and the clustered servers are located in both the primary and secondary data center. any optimization of Proxy Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) and MAC address caching. Primary and Backup. DID YOU KNOW? Server clusters do not tolerate intelligent switches or routers. The servers have their own IP addresses. or transformation of broadcasts to unicasts. providing less than 500 ms. look into the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) and Global Site Selector (GSS) products. The major problem in data center interconnection is how to extend direct Layer-2 connectivity to a secondary data center that is located at a distance beyond traditional local area connection limits. service providers have started to offer connectivity services to address such needs. For information on geographical load-balancing. or Distributed Data Centers When your organization experiences usage growth and more demanding business requirements. and to start investing in a secondary data center that will provide additional geographic resiliency in case of unpredicted natural conditions or technical trouble. they respond to requests sent to this virtual IP address. We will not consider how the primary and the secondary data centers accept client requests.DID YOU KNOW? The virtual IP address is the IP address that the requestor/client uses when communicating with the database server cluster. or how load-balancing between resources is performed.
server clusters mostly require Layer-2 connectivity. Usually. [Source: Cisco] . and the packet uses MPLS for transport through the SP network. and MPLS VPN has been used since then to provide inter-site enterprise connectivity. FIGURE 3: View of an EoMPLS protocol data unit – top label for the eggress next-hop. packets are bridged within sites. From the client’s perspective. packets are label-switched through the SP core. [Source: NIL] Several scenarios cover the point in the network at which the EoMPLS termination can be configured: EoMPLS termination on the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) access routers EoMPLS termination on the WAN edge routers EoMPLS termination at the DC aggregation layer EoMPLS termination at the DC aggregation layer. meaning that there is a routed path between the sites of the enterprise customer. for virtual circuit identification. to give you a general idea of how it works. and b) the other label is used for edge services – in the EoMPLS case. Figure 4 shows how the Layer-2 domain is extended through the DC aggregation switches to the MAN routers. and inner label for virtual circuit identification. As mentioned earlier. from the SP perspective. as shown in Figure 3. so EoMPLS and VPLS technologies are used in such cases. From the network perspective. whereas VPLS is multipoint – it can connect several sites by using one virtual LAN segment. The EoMPLS ingress node adds two labels to any frame coming from a port or VLAN. where frames are encapsulated in MPLS packets (using the xconnect feature – see the “Cisco Catalyst 6500 Data Center Interconnect Solutions”) and then travel through the MAN/SP network. EoMPLS is a point-to-point technology. The Service Provider participates in customer routing and provides optimal path transport over the SP core. The benefit is that no Layer-2 loop-prevention technologies (such as the Spanning Tree Protocol) need to be extended from the customer to the SP metro network. offering high connection speed and sufficient privacy to enterprise clients. two MPLS labels need to be used for such transport: a) one is the destination nexthop label.solution for the server cluster would be to use a Layer-3 (routed) connection to exchange the heartbeats. using a loopback cable We will outline the first option only. see the Cisco “Data Center High Availability Clusters Design Guide” for other options. Inter-site Connectivity Using MPLS Multi-protocol label switching has become the prevalent technology for high-speed packet switching in service provider networks. but often this is impossible due to server cluster design. FIGURE 4: EoMPLS termination on the MAN routers. which identifies the exiting “provider edge” (PE) device within the SP network. MPLS VPN networks are Layer 3.
Distributed Data Storage Systems Each data center needs a data storage system to provide storage services for servers (disk images. it is necessary that data stored in one data center be stored in the other data center as well. The packet maximum transmission unit (MTU) can also be an issue. As a second option. and you need to convey the data to be stored from one DC to the other. with applications suffering greatly. as large volumes of data are transferred over the SP network. DID YOU KNOW? Synchronous replication of storage data is very sensitive to delay in the DC-toDC interconnection. the storage system is unable to respond to other requests. when you have a tape library located only in one data center.) and for business data. When the storage system in the primary DC issues a “data write. If you have two data centers in a high-availability configuration. and packets can flow over any regular routed network. or “asynchronous write” should be used. the traffic between the two dispersed storage systems in different data centers can be treated as normal IP-routed traffic. and bandwidth usage is constant (i. The Storage Area Networks use the Fibre Channel (FC) protocol. overnight backups require about medium bandwidth. This way. In the meantime. Direct replication traffic comes in large bursts and suffers from delays. which bridge the domain within two sites using EoMPLS. so bandwidth and delay between DC sites should be provisioned and included in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) from the service provider. Due to SAN specifics. etc. not bursty).. Latency should therefore be minimal. Another possibility is used for backup purposes. FC frames can be encapsulated into IP packets by using the Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) protocol. .” it waits for confirmation that the data record has actually been written to storage in the secondary DC. On the other hand. The Fibre Channel protocol can cover large distances natively. especially if synchronous replication is used. the Layer-2 domain is extended from the aggregation layer and trunked to the core devices.e. as service providers need to support frames the size of a storage block written on disks. Data storage traffic also has some bandwidth-related implications. some involvement is needed from the SP side as well. along with some other form of consistency-checking. you may have another problem: quality of service (QoS).With this approach. data storage traffic is very sensitive to any latency and data loss. carried over SONET or DWDM networks. When looking for a solution for an inter-site data center link for storage replication. Generally.
FIGURE 5: FCIP transport over an IP/MPLS network. making it relatively simple to ensure QoS and proper transport path. EoMPLS/VPLS Storage Interconnection – FCIP Intra-Cluster communication – Heartbeats Public vs. etc. POINT OF INTEREST: ENCRYPTING FC TRAFFIC Some clients face the requirement that their data must be encrypted at all times when going over the network. Private Interface Next Page Full article Previous Page Left sidebar • Content Introduction Data Center Overview ○ ○ . [Source: Cisco] The key piece of equipment is the FCIP gateway.In Figure 5. allowing the SAN traffic to be conveyed over an IP network between data centers. using hardware acceleration modules. ministries. FCIP can be implemented using multiservice modules for the Cisco MDS 9200 series switches and/or MDS 9500 series directors. Though FC encryption devices exist.5 Design Guide Cisco Catalyst 6500 Data Center Interconnect Solutions Keywords Data Center Interconnection Designs Layer 2 vs. Layer 3 L2 Technologies – L2TPv3. you can see how storage devices are positioned in the network to act as Fibre Channel to IP gateways. such solutions are often very expensive. which encapsulates FC frames into IP packets. Transport of FCIP traffic is then treated as any other IP traffic. This rule particularly applies to state departments. Another solution would be to use FCIP and encrypt this IP traffic with IPSec. Resources Cisco Data Center High Availability Clusters Design Guide Cisco Data Center Infrastructure 2.
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