Anchor Movin’ On Up!

By November 23, 2013Company News

Actual Size!

Well folks, the big day is here. Our Sydney-based Anchorites spent the latter half of yesterday packing everything away to move to our new premises on Elizabeth street. The new office space is a full 168% bigger, wow!

Anchor has literally moved up in the world; as of this morning we can be found at Level 23, 201 Elizabeth street, with a fabulous view over Hyde Park and the CBD.

On a technical note, we’ve made some exciting upgrades to our switching infrastructure at SYD1. Half a dozen lower-capacity core switches have been replaced by shiny new Dell Powerconnect models, giving us a gigantic backbone with 10Gbps ports everywhere. This is especially valuable as deployments of DRBD, for example, become more commonplace – it’s a performance monster that benefits from high bandwidth and low latency.

Gazing northwest over Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral and sails on the Harbour. Ahhhhh~

Gazing northwest over Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral and sails on the Harbour. Ahhhhh~

One of the more exciting things about the new switches is the expansion and uplink options. Each switch has two 40Gbps QSFP ports on the front. The expansion bay also allows us to add another couple of QSFP ports, providing tremendous amounts of uplink capacity.

In our case, we’re using the QSFP ports to run Dell’s native stacking protocols, presenting 96 apparent 10Gbps ports on a single switching fabric.

New Powerconnect 8164 switches, four in the core and one as spare.

New Powerconnect 8164 switches, four in the core and one as spare.

Flexible backplane modules allow for further expansion, these ones providing two additional 40Gbps ports.

Flexible backplane modules allow for further expansion, these ones providing two additional 40Gbps ports.

Something that most readers won’t have seen before is these twinax cables (short for “twinaxial”) that we’re using for stacking. Because of the very short distances involved, there’s no need to use transceivers to get the signal on and off a fibre run. Instead, a passive interconnect joins the QSFP ports directly to each other with much less fussing around. As well as being much cheaper, this dramatically reduces the latency of the link.

The business end of a twinax cable. The connector is shaped to fit a QSFP port, but is wired straight through instead of using a transciever.

The business end of a twinax cable. The connector is shaped to fit a QSFP port, but is wired straight through instead of using a transciever.

That about wraps it up for moving day. Thanks to the hard work of our networking master, all the workstations and phones are ready to go. Our frontline support especially will be on deck and raring to go as soon as they arrive on Monday, just for you!

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