Apr 2011

Open Automation 2.0

Force10 Networks, Inc., the leader in high-performance data center networking, today announced Open Automation 2.0, a major expansion of its Open Automation Framework – a standards-based approach to network automation that optimizes data center network performance and efficiency and lays the foundation for cloud-based services. Open Automation leverages new “open” elements within the modular Force10 Operating System (FTOS) software that streamline the data center network fabric’s ability to participate in automated, policy-driven, real-time workload allocation in response to changing application and service demands. Open Automation 2.0 extends these capabilities with the debut of the DevExchange development community and ScriptStoreSM, an open exchange for SmartScripts.
“Force10 has taken cloud network data centers to a new level by enabling the developer community to automate key data center operations,” said Ray Mota, analyst with ACG Research. “By opening up a developer exchange for SmartScripts, Force10 can leverage the power of the developer and user communities to accelerate the creation of a whole ecosystem of automated solutions for its switches.”

DevExchange Accelerates Automation Solutions

The DevExchange is an open forum for exchanging SmartScripts and information about other automation features of Force10 products. Designed as an application store and a series of forums for Force10 users and support personnel, DevExchange will spur the development and use of new SmartScripts. DevExchange is expected to debut in Q3 2011.
Supported Force10 products can be automated through the use of SmartScripts, which can be written in Perl or Python. The ScriptStore will be an online store through which users can access SmartScripts. Additional user forums on the site will serve as information exchanges about Open Automation-related topics.

Open Fabric Management

FTOS now includes a unified fabric manager that allows data center managers to control multiple Force10 switches as if they are a single switch.

OpenConnect Extensible Web GUI

Force10 is introducing support and an advanced and extensible web GUI for its switch/router platforms.  The GUI provides significant ease of use for platform access and control. Users no longer need to be CLI-conversant to understand and manage Force10 equipment. An intuitive out of the box implementation, the GUI solution is extensible for both channel and customer facing enhancements.  Drag and Drop features provide for quick and efficient changes in GUI functionality and skin design.

Port profile support

Force10’s FTOS now works in conjunction with a configuration management database (CMDB) to associate all characteristics stored for a profile and apply them automatically to a port.  This feature eliminates the need to manually provision switch ports, a process that could take hours or days for 1000 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a chassis switch. With Force10’s port profile support, port configuration can happen within minutes for an entire chassis.

EVB/VEPA support

Force10 is introducing an implementation of EVB/VEPA, which allows Force10 switches to communicate seamlessly with virtual switches on servers in a virtualized environment. This capability brings a new level of visibility and control to Force10 switches. For example, if a virtual machine is activated with certain VLAN characteristics, EVB allows the Force10 switch to process packets from that machine so they are directed to the appropriate VLAN. Without this capability, administrators either don’t use VLANs at all, or enable all VLANs on all ports, or they provision VLANs individually by hand, which places a practical limit on the number of VLANs that can be used. EVB/VEPA provides an option to automate the assigning of VLANs on a switch without having an operator involved.

HyperLink

For customers using hypervisors that don’t support EVB, HyperLink is an alternative method of making the switch aware of virtual switches inside servers. It uses the published API toolkits from the primary hypervisor suppliers and talks to them directly to find out the same VLAN information and apply it.
 “Automation at the network level helps customers reduce costs and manual errors in the data center,” said Arpit Joshipura, chief marketing officer at Force10. “Open Automation 2.0 and the DevExchange demonstrates Force10’s ongoing commitment to enabling higher levels of automation in network management for our customers.”