Thursday, June 18, 2015

#ONS2015 - Microsoft Azure Puts SDN at Center of its Hyperscale Cloud

To handle its hyperscale growth, Microsoft Azure must integrate the latest compute and storage technologies into a truly software-defined infrastructure, said Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Azure in a keynote presentation at the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California.

The talk covered how Microsoft is building its hyperscale SDN, including its own scalable controllers and hardware-accelerated hosts.

 Microsoft is making a massive bet on Azure.  It is the company's own infrastructure as well the basis for many of its products going forward, including Office 365, Xbox and Skype.

Some highlights:
  • Microsoft Azure's customer facing offering include App Services, Data Services and Infrastructure Services
  • Over 500 new features were added to Azure in the past year, including better VMs, virtual networks and storage.
  • Microsoft is opening new data centers all over the world
  • Azure is running millions of compute instances
  • There are now more than 20 ExpressRoute locations for direct connect to Azure.  
  • Azure connects with 1,600 peered networks through 85 IXPs
  • One out of 5 VMs running on Azure is a Linux VM
  • A key principle for Microsoft's Hyperscale SDN is to push as much of the logic processing down to the servers (hosts)
  • Hyperscale controllers must be able to handle 500K+ server (hosts) in a region
  • The controller must be able to scale down to smaller data centers as well
  • Microsoft Azure Service Fabric is a platform for micro-service-based applications
  • Microsoft has released a developer SDK for its Service Fabric
  • Azure is using a Virtual Filtering Platform (VFP) to act as a virtual switch inside Hyper-V VMSwitch.  This provides core SDN functionality for Azure networking services. It uses programmable rule/flow tables to perform per-packet actions. This will also be extended to Windows Server 2016 for private clouds.
  • Azure will implement RDMA for very high performance memory transport between servers. It will be enabled at 40GbE for Azure Storage.  All the logic is in the server.
  • Server interface speeds are increasing: 10G to 40G to 50G and eventually to 100G
  • Microsoft is deploying FPGA-based Azure SmartNICs in its servers to offload SDN functions from the CPU. The SmartNICs can also perform crypto, QoS and storage acceleration.

The #ONS2015 keynote can be seen here: