The Network Hub

Apr 5 2010   10:57AM GMT

Is data center interconnect news worth a flogging?

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

Two months ago I wrote a story about Cisco’s Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) data center interconnect technology, which Cisco claims can take a lot of complexity out of data center interconnects and simplify the migration of virtual machines across data centers via technologies like VMware’s vMotion.

Systems engineer Kenneth Hellmann read the story recently and took exception to some of the claims made.

I was just reading your “Cisco data center interconnect aims to fix vMotion network trouble”. The following section left me speechless:

["Between them, you're running MPLS and a VPLS tunnel. That's complex. It's hard to configure. You have to have an MPLS network. You have to configure the VPLS tunnel between them as an overlay. VPLS configuration is notoriously complex. Then you have to optimize performance."

What's more, all that work with an MPLS and VPLS only sets up a connection between two data centers, Antonopoulos pointed out. If an enterprise wants to establish virtual server migration between three or more data centers, each data, engineers will have to build links between all of them. "Data center A will have to be connected to data center B," he said. "Data center B will have to be connected to data center C, and data center C will have to be connected to data center A."

Cisco's Griffin claimed that configuring a data center interconnect for virtual server migration between two data centers can take months with existing technologies, whereas the OTV feature can be set up in five minutes.]

I freely admit that I am a Systems Engineer for [REDCATED], so you may see me as biased, but those statements are just the purest of nonsense. I teach a 5 day MPLS Configuration class and the L2 VPN section takes 4 hours (which includes two labs). That is for VLL and VPLS. And everyone gets it. Why not…it’s incredibly easy. For your own information, here are the configuration lines (over and above the normal configuration needed for an  OSPF router) to turn on MPLS and configure a VPLS between 3 sites (of course you must have a similar configuration on the other two PE routers):

router mpls

mpls-interface e 1/1



vpls  Datacenter  20000


vlan 10

tagged e 3/1

Yes, that’s it. Now tell me, how does that correlate with the following statements in your article?:

1) “Between them, you’re running MPLS and a VPLS tunnel. That’s complex. It’s hard to configure”

2) “VPLS configuration is notoriously complex”

3) “Cisco’s Griffin claimed that configuring a data center interconnect for virtual server migration between two data centers can take months with existing technologies”

Do you reporters ever vet what you are told or is Cisco given a pass on everything they say? If a CNN reporter reports a third party story which later turns out to be bogus, he is publicly flogged. At the very least he writes a retraction.

How about you?

I won’t be running a retraction or submitting to a public flogging, but I am happy to reproduce Kenneth’s email here so his point of view can be shared.

I should also point out the first two paragraphs Kenneth reproduced from my story  are quotations and paraphrases of statements made by an independent third party, Andreas Antonopoulos, senior vice president at Nemertes Research, rather than a Cisco representative. I wasn’t serving as a Cisco stenographer on this story.

Also, I’m an editor, not an engineer. So I can only rely on what independent third parties tell me about products and technologies. It’s an unfortunate limitation, I freely admit.

On a related note, Abner Germanow of Juniper Networks pointed out that I should have mentioned in my original story that Cisco’s OTV technology only works in a Cisco environment.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Abnerg
    I also [A href=""]suggested[/A] that a flogging was not in order...
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Awisebyte
    Public floggings are never out of style. ;) Though perhaps a bit unwarranted in this case.
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