TE19: Talking Networks and NICs with Nick Apuzzo

Nick Apuzzo is one of my oldest friends, and we had some time to sit down and talk about networking and servers. This podcast is the result of that discussion:

  • How we met in 1985 at IBM Research in NY when Nick picked up his pre-product IBM RTPC
  • Why I joined Nick at IBM Storage Systems Division in 1994, hint Adstar
  • How Scott ended up in performance networking by way of NEC, Myricom and now Solarflare
  • What a server is, and types of servers by purpose, CRM, ERP, Dropbox, etc..
  • Servers that are pre-built called appliances
  • What types of connections do these typically have?
  • How computing and servers have changed over the years.
  • Types of networking available to servers, gigabit Ethernet versus 10Gb Ethernet and beyond
  • What about 25 GbE and 40GbE?
  • Copper cables versus fiber optic, and limitations.
  • Connectors, SFP+ and SFP28.
  • Networking in versus networking out of a server, and when it’s asymmetrical
  • Software load balancing and networking
  • The balance between network bandwidth into an organization versus bandwidth required across the organization
  • Run up to 25GbE and possibly even 50GbE in the near future and how we get to 400GbE
  • The role of PCI Express, speeds, and how we need PCIe Generation 4 to move beyond 25GbE to dual 50GbE cards
  • How 25GbE can use the same cables as 10GbE so the hardware costs to move are easier, but the underlying technology becomes more challenging for the companies supplying it.
  • New features found in NICs, like Solarflare’s X2 series, that includes security and high-performance packet filtering
  • Solarflare ServerLock and how it contrasts to IPTables
  • The difference between a hardware firewall appliance in-front of a server, and doing hardware filtering in the NIC
  • How people can find Nick and his role at CC Integration, and what a technology integrator does

We then wrap up our chat with how this discussion ended up as a podcast.