IBM touts prototype software to manage cloud, virtual bandwidth

IBM says package could also help manage Software Defined Networking environments

IBM researchers say they have developed software that will automatically direct users to the most bandwidth when accessing a cloud computing or other virtual system.

According to the IBM patent on the software, it works by looking at the virtual machine data located in the management information database of a network switch. "A management entity, such as a provisioning manager, determines the amount of network bandwidth being utilized through each of the first and second Ethernet links and the amount of network bandwidth being utilized by the Internet Protocol addresses attributable to each of the virtual machines. Accordingly, one of the virtual machines may be migrated from one compute node to another compute node coupled to an Ethernet link having a greater amount of unutilized network bandwidth. Virtual machines may be dynamically migrated in order to provide each virtual machine with a required amount of network bandwidth," IBM stated.

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 In other words as network bandwidth rises and becomes constrained in one node, the system will automatically reassign some of the VMs to another node with network bandwidth capacity available.

IBM says the software would be best for applications that experience dramatic or unexpected peaks and valleys in demand for services, such as:

  • Online retailers and auction sites that endure spikes in activity at different times of the day, various days of the week, and during holiday seasons and special promotions;
  • Search engines, which must respond to surges in activity on a multitude of topics at any time, driven by popular culture and current events;
  • Government and news media Web sites, where local, regional, national and international developments and crises ranging from elections, to conflicts, to natural disasters can drive traffic without warning; and
  • Online sites for major sporting events that encounter unpredictable demand from fans for stats, videos and other content during live competition.

IBM says the system works with Linux, Windows, CentOS, and UNIX, and a variety of hardware platforms, including IBM System x racks and BladeCenter, PureFlex, and Power Systems.

While there are many approaches to enabling virtualization in a cloud, most focus on the issues of CPU and memory utilization and optimization. But even if those functions are managed effectively, overall system performance can be impeded by restricted network bandwidth. By focusing on the networking aspect of system optimization and virtualization, this invention removes a roadblock to overall system efficiency, allowing processing, memory and networking all to work at their top levels, IBM stated.

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