Last week, Google announced it was using “Espresso” to improve the performance of its data center infrastructure. “Espresso” being the name of the search-engine giant’s new software-defined networking stack designed to accelerate Google’s services for end users at the edge of networks.
The SDN offering comes in response to Google’s lack of control over how end users receive their services once traffic is funneled through third-party ISP providers. Currently, existing IPs aren’t able to leverage all of the connectivity options offered by Google’s ISP partners, leading to dips in availability that greatly hinder user experience.
Espresso may be an achievement for Google’s network, but it’s an even greater win for users. In particular, Espresso offers two key benefits to end users:
Espresso combats last-mile connectivity issues by using real-time performance data to automatically select the best data center location to serve a particular user. This gives Google an edge when it comes to managing periods of network failure or high traffic.
Additionally, Espresso separates logic and control of traffic from individual hardware routers. Rather than relying on thousands of individual routers to manage packet streams, Espresso uses a single distributed system to aggregate network information and control routing. The result is a more seamless routing process that leads to greater network performance.
Espresso is one of four pillars making up Google’s SDN strategy, joining the likes of Jupiter, a software-defined WAN, B4, its data center interconnect and Andromeda, a network virtualization stack.