Data Center Fundamentals

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Master the basics of data centers to build server farms that enhance your Web site performance

  • Learn design guidelines that show how to deploy server farms in highly available and scalable environments
  • Plan site performance capacity with discussions of server farm architectures and their real-life applications to determine your system needs

Today's market demands that businesses have an Internet presence through which they can perform e-commerce and customer support, and establish a presence that can attract and increase their customer base. Underestimated hit ratios, compromised credit card records, perceived slow Web site access, or the infamous "Object Not Found" alerts make the difference between a successful online presence and one that is bound to fail.

These challenges can be solved in part with the use of data center technology. Data centers switch traffic based on information at the Network, Transport, or Application layers. Content switches perform the "best server" selection process to direct users' requests for a specific service to a server in a server farm. The best server selection process takes into account both server load and availability, and the existence and consistency of the requested content.

Data Center Fundamentals helps you understand the basic concepts behind the design and scaling of server farms using data center and content switching technologies. It addresses the principles and concepts needed to take on the most common challenges encountered during planning, implementing, and managing Internet and intranet IP-based server farms. An in-depth analysis of the data center technology with real-life scenarios make Data Center Fundamentals an ideal reference for understanding, planning, and designing Web hosting and e-commerce environments.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Server farm design, implementation, and operation shouldn’t be a black art: There’s too much at stake. But it’s been almost impossible to find reliable and detailed information -- until now.

In Data Center Fundamentals, two of Cisco’s leading data center specialists systematically cover networking and application protocols, network infrastructure technology, and design best practices.

You’ll start with a thorough introduction to data center, server, and application architectures, including the relationships between application architectures and data center design. You’ll review server farm design alternatives, including multitier and fully redundant designs, and discover how to support load balancing, SSL offloading, and caching. There’s also some good material on building more hacker-resistant data centers.

The book’s detailed protocols coverage includes IP, TCP, UDP, SSL, TSS, HTTP, and streaming protocols such as RTP and RTSP. A full chapter on DNS contains important guidance on server placement and site selection. There’s also extensive coverage of Layer 2/3 infrastructure protocols, from Ethernet to IBM SNA over TCP/IP.

The authors cover load balancing in depth, starting with modes of operation and predictors, and server and cache farm applications. Since server health management is critical to load balancing, they cover that, too -- with brief virtual hosting and HTTP/HTTPS scenarios. There’s solid guidance on integrating session tracking, cookies, and other persistence mechanisms into load balanced environments. The authors wrap up with thoughtful recommendations on performance metrics and testing. If you’re responsible for delivering secure, reliable, and efficient IP-based data center services, you’ll find this book indispensable. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587050237
  • Publisher: Cisco Press
  • Publication date: 5/16/2003
  • Series: Fundamentals Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 1064
  • Product dimensions: 7.64 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 2.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Mauricio Arregoces, CCIE No. 3285, has 18 years experience in the design and support of large-scale networks. He has extensive hands-on experience in the design of large Internet web sites. He has bachelor and Masters degrees in Computer Science and he is currently a Network Design Engineer in the Content Networking Network Design group at Cisco Systems. Cisco Systems holds the biggest market share in the Data Center market.

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Table of Contents



1. Overview of Data Centers.

Data Centers Defined. Application Architecture Models. Data Center Architecture. Data Center Services. Summary.

2. Server Architecture Overview.

Network Attachment. Client and Server Packet Processing. TCP and Server Applications. UDP and Server Applications. Server Availability. Configuring a Web Server. Network Architecture Design Options. Summary. For Further Reading.

3. Application Architectures Overview.

Taxonomy of Applications and Hosted Servers. Integration of Applications. Multitier Applications. Network Architecture Considerations. Multitier Design Case Study. Summary. For Further Reading.

4. Data Center Design Overview.

Types of Server Farms and Data Centers. Data Center Topologies. Fully Redundant Layer 2 and Layer 3 Designs. Fully Redundant Layer 2 and Layer 3 Designs with Services. Summary.

5. Data Center Security Overview.

The Need for a Secure Data Center. Vulnerabilities and Common Attacks. Network Security Infrastructure. Security Fundamentals. Data Center Security Framework. Summary.

6. Server Load-Balancing Overview.

Load Balancing Defined. Key Concepts of Load Balancing. High Availability Considerations. Generic Load Balancer Architecture. Summary.


7. IP, TCP, and UDP.

Layers and Protocols. IP. TCP. TCP Flow Control. UDP. Summary. References.

8. HTTP and Related Concepts.

Resources and Messages. MIME. HTTP Overview. HTTP General Header. Request Header. Response Header. Entity Header. Summary.

9. SSL and TLS.

SSL Overview. SSL Operations. Performance Implications of SSL. Authentication and Digital Certificates. SSL Ciphersuites. Analyzing SSL Traces. Summary. For Further Reading.

10. DNS Essentials and Site‑Selection Considerations.

DNS Architecture. DNS Components. DNS Resolution Process. Redundant Name Servers. Transport Protocols. DNS Caching. Distribution of Multiple Records. DNS Server Placement. Site-Selection Considerations. Summary. For Further Reading.

11. Streaming Protocols Overview.

Download-and-Play, HTTP Streaming, and Real-Time Streaming. UDP Versus TCP. Analog and Digital Video. Codecs. Packetization. Transport Formats. Control Protocols. Unicast, Multicast, and Stream Splitting. Streaming Products. Summary.


12. Layer 2 Protocol Essentials.

IEEE. Ethernet. Ethernet Switching. Layer 2 Protocols. VLANs and Trunks. EtherChannels. STP. Summary. For Further Reading.

13. Layer 3 Protocol Essentials.

ARP Protocol and Tables. HSRP, VRRP, and GLBP. OSPF. EIGRP. NAT. Summary. For Further Reading.

14. IBM Data Center Technology.

Mainframes. IBM Data Center Components. Mainframe Attachment Options. IBM Networking. SNA over TCP/IP. Sysplex and Parallel Sysplex. IBM Data Centers Today. Summary.


15. Security Protocols and Technologies.

Cryptography. U.S. Government and Cryptography. NIST and FIPS. Export-Grade Ciphers. PKI. Authentication Protocols and Technologies. Network Management Security. Summary.

16. Load-Balancing Modes and Predictors.

Modes of Operation. Load-Balancing Algorithms. Summary.

17. Server Health Management.

Load-Balancing Terminology. Server Management. Server Management Interface. Server Failure Detection. Probe Types. Out-of-Band Probes. Case Study: Server Health for Virtual Hosting. Case Study: HTTP and HTTPS. Summary.

18. Session Tracking and Cookies.

What a Session Is and Why It Matters. Cookies. How Servers Track User Sessions. Session Persistence for Server Clusters. Summary. For Further Reading.

19. Persistence Mechanisms on Load Balancers.

The Concept of Session Persistence. Persistence Considerations for Clients Using Proxy Servers. Persistence Using Session Sharing Servers. Session Persistence Mechanisms. Source IP Sticky. Cookie Sticky. URL Sticky. HTTP Redirection Sticky. SSL Sticky. Case Study. E-Commerce Applications. Summary.


20. Designing the Data Center Infrastructure.

Topology Overview. Switching Paths. Using VLANs to Virtualize the Physical Data Center Infrastructure. Link Redundancy and Load Distribution. Spanning-Tree Considerations. Internal Redundancy Considerations. Layer 2 Data Center Design. Layer 3 Data Center Design. Summary.

21. Integrating Security into the Infrastructure.

Defining Security Zones. Internet Edge. Deploying Antispoofing Filtering. Using uRPF. Using ACLs. Implementing Traffic Rate Limiting. Securing Routing Protocols. Route Filters. Neighbor Router Authentication. Deploying Stateful Firewalls. Implementing Intrusion Detection. Internet Edge Design. Campus Core. Intranet Server Farms. Server-Farm Design Alternatives. Management Network. Summary.

22. Performance Metrics of Data Center Devices.

Traffic Patterns Overview. Performance Metrics Overview. Load Balancer and SSL Offloader Metrics. SSL Offloaders Performance Metrics. Testing Performance Metrics. Summary.


Appendix A: Character Sets.

Appendix B: HTTP Header Fields.

Appendix C: Video Encoding Mechanisms.

Appendix D: Loopback Interface Configuration Procedures.

Appendix E: Configuring Servers to Insert Cookies.

Appendix F: Client-Side and Server-Side Programming.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2005

    A Ton of Information

    I recently read the title 'Data Center Fundamentals', by Mauricio Arregoces and Maurizio Portolani. ISBN: 1587050234. This title has a ton of information in it. It covers just about every technology that could make up a Data Center environment. The authors have done a good job of cover detail about the several technologies in this title. Some technologies are covered in more detail than others. For example there's a lot of information on HTTP related technologies and not so much detail on say routing protocol. This makes sense, because the title is ¿Data Center Fundamental¿. This is a great title for someone that is not well versed in several technologies, because the authors have covered a great deal of information and has done a good job presenting the basics of each. This will give someone that is not familiar with a certain technology the information they need to get an idea of the technology so they can continue to expand on what they've learned. Even though most of the basics are covered, the authors throw in great advanced information on technology that would pertain to Data Centers. I've learned a few nice advanced techniques on how to speed up network convergence when failures occur. The book is littered with nuggets of advanced techniques on ways to improve the overall architecture and performance of a Data Center. I would recommend this title to all IT personnel that are responsible for either Networking, System Administration, System and Network Operations, even Managers and Project Managers should have a copy on their desk. In this day and age, it's imperative that technical support personnel have knowledge that crosses over their job function and into other technologies that make up the rest of the 'Network'. This makes them more proficient at their work and more valuable. I would highly recommend this title to personnel responsible for Small to Medium Business Networks especially, because those folks don't always have the exposure to the many different technologies that are covered in this title and will give them a great start to doing it right. I think the Authors make good use of figures, diagrams and tables to augment the text where needed. The title isn¿t loaded with diagrams, but there are plenty to support the author¿s objective. There is enough information in here about the lower level working of protocols; to give protocol analyzer enthusiasts there money's worth. There are other books out there that cover protocol analysis, but few books do it well. This book covers protocol analysis well and with an easy to understand format with supporting window diagrams. The Authors have kept the sections straight and to the point. There is little wasted ink in here. There is some repetitive information in the book, specifically pertaining to HTTP header error codes. Not sure how the topic got covered three times. I suppose instead of having the reader reference one chapter/section on the topic, it was included in the text when needed. The information isn't exactly the same and by the time your done reading the book, you should have a solid understanding of Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP). I think the information contained in this book is a little heavier on the system side more so than the data networking side. I'm not suggesting there is a lack of information on the data networking side, only that there is more pertaining to systems. Overall I thought this was a great title. It crosses many boundaries of responsibility in the Enterprise Networks and ties them all together very nicely. I would certainly purchase another title written by these authors. They are thorough in their writing, with not a lot of fluff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

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