Monday, May 22, 2017

Brand new to blogging - so let's start :-)

--- IT & systems & networking tips, tricks, self assembling my own data center and other IT issues ---


If you are really into IT (professionally speaking or as a hobby), nowadays it's easier to create your own data center, preferably based on 10 Gb technology

Why 10Gb and why your own data center ? Several points to take into account:

*/ Self training is easier and more affordable that before

*/ Specific open source projects (e.g. GNS3 as a graphical network simulator)

*/ Virtualization is becoming more and more important, that means a higher bandwidth
between your hosts is becoming also more and more important

*/ Adding also all the SSD "phenomenon": the internal transfer rate for a SATA hard disk (NAS oriented) is around 210 MB/s (last entry in WD Red / 10 TB) compared to an entry level SSD (internal transfer rate between 460 to 560 MB/s)

*/ New or existing  NAS systems with 10GB interfaces (or with PCIe interface accepting
10Gb NIC cards) - Thinking about several models from QNAP or the latest 8 bays model from Synology (DS1817+)

*/ Specific offers typically self training/beta testing oriented (VMWare with VMUG & EVALExperience, Microsoft with MSDN ...)

*/ Hardware solutions offering new possibilities to home based data center (Xeon-D) [AMD Ryzen oriented data center is still in its infancy - as of May 2017 - , to recheck later on whith a real server based solution and a better integration within VMWare Compatibility List)

*/ New offers at networking level for 10Gb bandwidth

This is really this latest point which has triggered the beginning of this blog.
Let me explain a bit further:

When speaking about 10GB, there are mainly 2 ways to start if you consider a "small" infrastructure project:
* SFP+ (fiber based)
* 10GBase-T (Ethernet based)

SFP+ offers several advantages when compared to 10Gb Ethernet:
> lower latency
> less power consuming
> second hand SFP+ switches available
> lots of second hand SFP+ NIC cards available from different brands and pretty cheap
but one major disadvantage (at least from a home based data center point of view):
often a microcode at the connector level has been installed, so preventing you to mix different
brands or no name brands (switches and/or NIC cards)

10GBase-T is becoming more and more interesting - nowadays - for your home based data center,
with an existing standard, CAT6E cables and - finally ! - cheaper hardware offers

*/ at the switching level:
>> ASUS  XG-U2008 (2 * 10 GbE ports) *** +/- 250 $ [several existing reviews]
>> Netgear XS708E-200NES /v2 (8 * 10 GbE ports) *** +/- 700 $ [several existing reviews]
>> TP-Link T1700X-16TS /v2 (12 * 10 GbE ports) *** +/- 1000 $ [no reviews yet - as of May 2017]

*/ at the NIC level
>> Intel based NIC (X550 T1 or T2) *** between 315 (1 port) and 392 $ (2 ports)
>> Aquantia based 1*10Gb port-NIC (AQC107): ASUS ROG Areion 10G (on ASUS ROG website, not yet available), GIGABYTE GC-AQC107 (announced, not yet available), Aquantia own brand already available  (at Arrow Electronics for example) *** 130 $ (seems a real 10Gb killer NIC)

Motto of the day: "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
["Forrest Gump" / 1994]