B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 month ago

How to Reduce Data Center Bottlenecks with Intel’s Ethernet Solutions


90% of the world’s data was composed in just the last two years.

The sheer amount of data is exploding—and it’s causing data center bottlenecks everywhere.

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Christopher Creech, Sr. Technical Account Manager at Ingram Micro, about:

  • The negative impacts of bottlenecks
  • The symptoms of a bottleneck
  • 3 things Intel is doing to move data faster
  • How Silicon Photonics is different than other transceivers  

For more information, contact Christopher (christopher.creech@ingrammicro.com) or Andrew Calabrese (andrew.calabrese@ingrammicro.com), or visit Intel’s ethernet website.

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

...you're listening to B to B Tech talkwith ingram Micro. The place to learn about new technology and technologicaladvances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by ingrammicro's. Imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about goingsomeplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next dot ingram micro dotcom to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B to B tech talk with ingramMicro. I'm your host shall be square hawk and our guest today is ChristopherCreech, senior technical account manager for ingram micro Christopher.So the real to happy here today, I am happy to be here as well. Thank youShelby. I'm excited to have a chance to have this conversation. Excellent. Well,so today we're talking about how to reduce data center bottle next withintel's ethernet solutions. But first Christopher, let's just talk aboutbottlenecks at large. Why can't we afford to have these significantbottlenecks in today's technology landscape? I mean really what's atstake? Well, it really comes back to the huge amount of data that is beingused in the data center right now, if you go back 10 15 years, bottleneckswouldn't have been necessarily as much of an issue because all theinfrastructure, all the networking components and the storage componentsand the processing components that we use in the data center would notexperience sort of these performance problems that we have today right now.There's data is exploding. We're picking up data from every cell phonethat's on the network. We're picking up data from every little device that younever thought of as being on the internet anymore. Like your thermostator a stove or something. Data is being generated at an increasing rate all thetime and something has to be done with that. Right? I mean if you don't haveanything happening with that data then you are just pulling that all intosomewhere to do nothing with it. And the truth is you can really makeactionable business decisions that are meaningful if you actually do somethingwith the information that is coming across the network right now. So if youaren't able to do anything with it because your system has a bottleneckwhere the CPU can't process the data fast enough for the network isn'tallowed. Isn't able to get the data to the CPU fast enough. Then all of asudden you have delays. You may have actual user experience problems, butyou also might not be able to gain valuable insights into what people aredoing and making future business decisions around those insights. Well,I mean the amount of data is right. I had read that 90% of the world's datawas composed in the last two years and that's kind of a staggering fact towrap your brain around. So you know what's at stake is a lot. Obviously itis kind of everything. If you think about it and that is only that isexponentially growing. The radar data grows right now that we think 90% is inthe last two years, another two years from now it's going to be 90% again inthose two years it is doubling and doubling and doubling. And we have somuch data that we don't know what to do...

...with it. So you need to be able tofigure out how to use it if you're going to really do something for thefuture and be one of those success stories of the future. Right. Right.Well looking at data center bottlenecks, can those be tricky to diagnose? And Iguess what are some, you know, you mentioned some of the more obvioussymptoms of of a networking bottle night. But what are what are some maybe less obvious symptoms. Yeah, that could be tricky to diagnose. And Ithink that one of the things I have learned in my time working with intelis you know, there's some really specific things you can look at thatare indicators that there's some sort of problems. So you might not noticethat there is a bottleneck because you're just used to this is how yoursystem and your network works. So something I might give us an example inthis situation would be if you're doing virtualization and that's a big populartopic in the world right now. It's been around for a while. Everybody likes tovirtualize benchmark. You can do while doing virtualization is to look at yourCPU utilization and that is something until tends to focus on We are a CPUcompany so we like to look at that sort of thing. But the truth is if your CPUis only you know at 40% utilization or something, That's an indication of abottleneck, that's an indication that that CPU is able to process the data.It's getting too fast enough that 60% of the time it's just sitting theredoing nothing and there's a few problems that that is illuminatingtowards. Which one of which is that boy, you probably spent too much on that CPUAnd aren't you mad if you're an I. T. Director that just spent a bunch ofmoney on a server and you're only getting 40% utilization out of it.That's a big waste of money. But also is it is about the fact that you knowwhat you're trying to do with that data, you can't do it as well. And somethingas simple as utilizing a different network card, something as simple asutilizing 10 gig instead of one big, something as simple as using maybe envyany storage instead of sata storage. All of a sudden your CPU utilizationgoes up and you are actually getting your money's worth out of the systemand you can also therefore be able to do more with that system once you aredoing that, your system is doing more transactions per minute, you're able tohandle more bandwidth coming into it if you're hosting websites and stuff itwill function better for the users on those websites. Also getting specificthat I mean you mentioned you know there were cards and some some simpleways to help eliminate those bottlenecks outside of of you knowbuying this this huge you know CPU so can you expand on some of those bigbottle necks that we're talking about and I guess specifically what is inteldoing to move data faster? Yeah. Um so intel is has had this perspective forseveral years now that in in their data centric approach that's what they call.They have a data centric approach to the I. T. Industry where they aretrying to move data faster and that is something I'm going to open up on alittle bit more because that's where ethernet comes into play. They'retrying to store more data. That's...

...another thing that comes into some ofthe other products intel is bringing to the market and then of course the CPUthey have to process everything. They want to do things with all of that data.So the three of those things together are different bottlenecks that intel isattempting to fix. So you know on the CPU side they're looking very deepgranule early at the silicon on the CPU and how we can make sure that once thedata are once the processing deed gets to the CPU how can that be done as fastas possible and that's something until is done for many years. That's theirCPU development cycle and research and development that goes into that on thestorage side. They talk about utilizing proper storage types. So a bottleneckthat is common. That is not connected to networking necessarily is that oncethe data has to be put somewhere, if it has to be put on a sort of slowerspinning hard drive it takes longer to put there and then all of a sudden therest of your system might just be hanging there waiting for the data toget to one place or another. And when I say hanging and waiting, I mean in themiddle millisecond nanosecond scale here, we're not talking about somethingwe would really notice. But if that adds up over time in a data centerscale and then in the ethernet world there's a few interesting new thingsthat they are doing. So that's why I wanted the ethernet to be a little bitof our focus today because I'm going to hopefully be able to demonstrate someof these new features in a reseller event I'm doing in a few weeks and acouple of weeks actually with ingram Micro's business transformation center.Some really valuable partnership, I have an intel has with them where wecan use them to demonstrate technologies and Ethernet is somethingthat Intel has several new things on the market right now. So there are 800series adapters are the new thing out there to keep an eye on because thoseare the adaptors where you'll find some of these features I'm talking aboutright now. One of them is very simple and straightforward as just move theEthernet speeds to a faster speed. So that's something you can lookhistorically at has the industry has moved from one gig to 10 gig to 25 gig,40 gig, 50 gig and 100 gig. And above now is what we're talking about. Youknow, Intel's 800 series adapters where you start to find 100 gig speeds youcan have on a on a server and that that makes a meaningful difference when youhave such a large amount of data that you need to bring into the system.There are still other bottlenecks to worry about. And you know, the way thatyou take that data and feed it to the processor is an important thing toconsider. But it's you know, I don't want to underscore or you know, sort ofnot emphasis the fact that moving at 100 gig is a big deal and that issomething that everyone should be thinking about at some level of thedata center, whether it's the top of rack switch or it's the individualservers or something. You know, if you're still operating at one gigthat's a huge bottleneck to modern Cpus, you just can't get the data to thesystem fast enough for it to be able to do anything with it reasonably fast. Sothat's one thing just the speeds and making sure that those speeds line upwith modern technology and modern technology needs another thing until isdoing under the hood with these...

...adapters is introducing sometechnologies like application device queuing or A D. Q. This is a guy couldget real technical about that but the real idea behind A. D. Q is that youwould allow applications in the system to have ensure its own quality ofservice from a network bandwidth perspective. So when you think aboutmaking sure the data gets fed to the CPU faster, imagine there's a fast lanefor a specific important program that's running like if it's VM ware runningvirtualization or if you have a database or something you canprioritize that data traffic to get to the CPU faster and that will allow youto unlock that bottleneck a little bit, Open up your CPU utilization to thepoint you want to be getting too. So I think I've maybe taking your question alittle further but I mean I'm going into some of the things that reallyexcite me when it comes to intel ethernet and their whole philosophytowards making sure that there I thi usability and I. T functionality is asgood as it can be for the I. T. Administrators out there today. Rightwell you mentioned uh one versus 10 versus even 100 gig I guess. What arethe adoption rates like right now? What would you estimate? I guess datacenters that are using one gig versus 10 gig. That has been changing overtime and there's, it's a little bit interesting as you watch thedevelopment of the industry because there is a point at which the threemain speeds out, there were 1, 10 and 40. Um so 40 gig being sort of thisnatural combination of four ports, which you could easily fit four portsonto one card. So if you have 4 10 gig ports, you can combine them into 1 40gig ports. So you know the logic there makes sense but as people started torealize that there was a there we're going to need to get beyond 40 at somepoint the newer technologies came around where they were using 100 gigs,they knew that was going to be the next step, but that's why 25 gigs showed upbecause all of a sudden they realized, oh, breaking things into four actuallymakes sense from an actual physical dimension perspective On network cards,it's hard to break a 10 gig, you know, 100 gig connection into 10, 10 gigconnections, there's just not enough space to put 10 ports on a card. So 25gig is actually the new thing that is, that is growing faster than 10 gig.That is um in some cases and intel is one of them, their price matching 25gig adapters to 10 gig adapters because that is so clearly where the market isgoing, You can more easily scale up to 100 gig using 25 gig. So it's importantto do that. And the switch manufacturers also the top of repswhich is the distribution switches and all of that are following the samepattern. They're also moving 200 gigs there at that level, moving to 204 108100 gig to. You're starting to see some very, very, very fast speeds When youhave 100 gig stuff in Iraq, the network above that rack has to also be faster.It has to be able to serve multiple wrecks. So, you know, we're seeing 200gig, 400 gig, 800 gig speeds, 800 gigs...

...kind of still on the horizon. But bigdistribution switches are definitely talking 200 and 400 now and until doeshave a play there as well. They also have a product called Silicon Photonicswhich is just the transceiver piece. If people are familiar with networkcomponents, that is just the little plausible thing that goes into the portthat allows you to connect fiber optics to it. Intel is committed to makingthat part of the network faster and better as well. They're opening upbottlenecks there as well. So they're not just talking about network cards inthe server, you know, ingram micro is going to be able to start selling isalready able to start selling these silicon photonics products to fit intodistribution level top of rack level and above networking configuration. Sowe want to make sure people are aware that Intel is not just a nick company,they're not just a network card company, they're definitely not just the CPUcompany but they're looking at these components that can really live up tothis philosophy of being data centric and what they think that the needs arein the space. You mentioned the silicon photonics.Tell us about that. I mean this is this is a pretty innovative piece oftechnology right? Yeah it's something that's different than othertransceivers. Um One of the reasons why Intel has committed so much to it andis working so hard to start you know promote this in the channels. It's justa very fresh thing. This ingram Micro just signed signed the contract to beable to do this. Silicon photonics take advantage of Intel's expertise atintegrated circuit design which they have from their cpus out of the house.That's obviously something they have you know have clear leadership in theindustry on um and they have utilized that with some additional technologyand I p. They brought in from companies they've bought over the last severalyears And designed a transceiver that is completely integrated. So it is onebig one piece inside there that converts this this data signal intolight so that it can go onto a fiber optic cable. So the difference betweenthat and another traditional 100 gig 200 transceiver is that theirtraditional one will have several more components, several more pieces in thesupply chain that could suddenly because of a pandemic maybe beunavailable and you can't you can't get these things anymore. And because it'san integrated circuit it also gets much less expensive. When you talk abouteconomies of scale and once you're making enough of these things they aregoing to be a less expensive option for the 100 gig up space. Also because ofthis integrated circuit technology they break far less often so there's notless spares needed less replacements needed. They have about a 25% of thefailure rate of a traditional transceiver so it's significantly lesslikely to fail. So the silicon photonics is one piece of intel's wholeethernet strategy but it really only affects these top of rack and abovehigh like high speed distribution switches. We're talking like big boydata centers here but until also has all of this leadership for 30 plusyears on the traditional ethernet space and the traditional network card spacethat they're also pushing the envelope...

...on. So in very in many different places.Intel is really committed to this philosophy of being data centric ofeliminating bottlenecks so that the functionality that we all believeshould be there in the I. T. Space can really be realized. Well you know therethere is a lot there and and intel clearly is more than a CPU company andyou know they've really kind of put a lot into their innovations just from,from your standpoint I guess. What what about intel's ethernet products andinnovations just really excites you, what do you think is the most unique orsignificant for? Yeah, there's a lot, honestly there's a lot that I can lookaround and pick from when you think about the way until engages with theworld generally. And the thing that really excites me when I'm talkingabout this stuff is when I learn about actual real life connections that thistechnology can can make and we're one example of that. I mean I'm going tomaybe go away from ethernet for a second here because this one stands outin my mind is something that I was really, really liked is they have aparticular technology that accelerates storage that is very useful foraccelerating any sort of storage situation. It's called, obtainsomething they developed a few years ago and it could be utilized in datacenters as a cashing drive. So this is another this is a piece in a storagesolution that will help accelerate the storage in there. One of the proof ofconcept studies with this, they were working with a hospital in Italy andthey were able to take the data centers that they were using and accelerate thestorage on them in such a way that MRI processing was made to be very muchfaster. So rather than having the image processing part of a MRI scan take 3045 minutes. It was shrunk down to five or six minutes. You can see right therein the time that a bottleneck was eliminated right there. Right. But themeaningful thing there, if you take that logical next step of once you cando M. R. E. S shorter, that means you can do more mris that means you canserve as more people. That means that you can save more people's lives. Thatmeans you can use the point at which you can take this sort of abstracttechnology and then apply it in a way that is absolutely life or deathmeaningful to someone that gets me excited. That gets me. That gives mesome motivation to really go out and evangelize for this sort of stuff theway I do. Right. Right. Well I mean just be able to to eliminate first ofall, there's so many people that you won't get near an M. R. I. Machinebecause you know basically you're stuck in a tin can for 30 or 40 minutes andbegin so that Children who would never be able to do it like that. That'ssomething that I'm a parent. So like the thought of a child that has to gointo some sort of situation like that and how stressful and scary that mustbe shortening that to 10 minutes. It's a world of difference. Even if you'renot solving any health problems. The...

...experience that that person has is somuch better and it's it definitely feels more like you are doing somethingmeaningful for society than like I said this abstract technology conversationsometimes can get too far away from stuff like that. Right Anything to getout of that tin can knocking and banging. Well you know as we start towrap up this episode we always ask our guest where do you see technology goingin the next year? So so Christopher what's in your crystal ball? If I hadto look at a crystal ball and think about technology in the next year. Imean I cannot do that without thinking about how unpredictable the last coupleof years have been the last 18 months specifically and supply chain issuesand all that stuff have really thrown a bit of a monkey wrench intoexpectations. However you can really tell that there is this industry pushtowards a couple of things and cloud is getting adopted more virtualization hasalready been like become a big part of every IT deployment but you know theidea of being able to spread this workload out across multiple locationsnot just having one data center be the processing point ties into everythingthat we've seen through the pandemic of everything becoming this distributedsituation for I. T. Processing and usage all of the companies that we knowof that have had to switch to a hybrid remote workforce or something. Had todeal with a variety of layers of this I. T. World suddenly becoming outside ofthe box that they had so carefully controlled security is huge in thatsort of situation. Being able to work with people outside of your network.But also this idea that edge endpoints are starting to become the point wheredata is being pulled from and acted on. And and the world of IOT connects toall of this stuff too where we can start to apply artificial intelligenceand really sort of something that was very much not thought of as a day today thing like artificial intelligence is now absolutely day to day thing yourcomputer at home that will put a virtual background on your zoom call.That's a I. Working. And that is something that you could not have doneseveral a few years ago because now this technology is built into yourlaptop so the adoption of A. I. And this automation and and you knowspreading out the where the where the processing is happening from the datacenter. You know the bottlenecks that I've talked about on the episode thatthey had to be eliminated for us to be able to do that. But that's going tocontinue I think and that's going to be one of the more interesting things isyou know a small business or a new business starting up in thisenvironment. Being able to do it from a basement. Like I'm sitting in right now.It seems so much more real. I don't need to have my own data center in thesame way I did a few years ago, I don't need to have an office in the same wayI did a few years ago. So I think there's going to be and this goesbeyond maybe the next year, some really interesting innovations and someinteresting startups in new companies...

...and new sorts of ways of utilizingtechnology now that we suddenly have this broad landscape of distributed,non centralist technology. Well for listeners who want to find out moreabout what we talked about. How can they reach out. So you can definitelyreach out to me directly if anybody is, you know, works with ingram micro. I'mtechnical account manager here. So for intel, anything intel can come to me myinside sales counterpart specifically for like ethernet and data center stuff.His name is Andrew calories. So he is he and I both work out of the buffalooffice for ingram. So certainly ourselves very able to help with anyquestions people might have if they are, you know, normally interacting with usoutside of, you know directly within ingram micro. You know, intel's ownwebsite is a great starting point. They have a uh their ethernet starting pointwebsite is really good. They have another um website called scale I. T.Up. That is a little a little demo that talks about bottlenecks and unlockingthose bottlenecks and it can be used to help demonstrate to someone else. Heyif you just change out this type of storage or if you change out this CPUor you change out this sort of networking, this is the additionalutilization you're going to get. So I'll make sure that you have those uhthose links and everything shall be so you can make sure those are up on theon the on the podcast site and everything and we'll make sure peoplecan get to those if they need them. Well Christopher, thank you so much forjoining me. Thank you, I had a great time and thank you listeners for tuningin and subscribing to be to be tech talk with ingram Micro. If you likedthis episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with thehashtag B two B. Tech talk. Until next time. I'm Shelby skirt talk. You'vebeen listening to B to B Tech talk with ingram Micro. This episode wassponsored by ingram Micro's. Imagine next B two B tech talk is a jointproduction with sweet fish Media and Anger Micro to not miss an episode.Subscribe today to your favorite podcast platform. Mhm.

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