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2012 will be the year of the network, report says

By Donna Donnawitz
January 31, 2012
In early 2011, the shift toward prioritizing new network investments began. Large businesses increasingly recognized the need to increase data throughput capabilities and enhance network architectures in light of cloud computing, storage advances and other industry trends. During 2011, this process accelerated faster than many expected because cloud computing was adopted at a breakneck pace. Now, 2012 is poised to be the year of the network, DataCenter Dynamics reported.

According to the news source, networking advances are poised to hit businesses on multiple levels. The first is upgrading infrastructure to support application and data delivery to end users operating in a diverse location. The second actually exists within the data center, where communication between servers and other hardware is rapidly becoming more important to enterprise operations. As a result, major networking upgrades are expected to support expanded capabilities in both aspects of operations.

In many ways, this movement toward both inward and outward data center network upgrades is fueled by a single technology - cloud computing. On one hand, the cloud delivers data-rich applications and servers to end users, requiring high-bandwidth, low-latency and ultra-reliable connection options. On the other, it is built on seamless virtual machine migration which is highly dependent on communication between servers. Because of this, the need for internal data center network upgrades is also high. According to the news source, this relationship creates a scenario in which if 2012 is the year of the cloud, the network will be a major bottleneck. This makes it essential that the year be marked with network upgrades before businesses go all in on cloud architecture investments.

To overcome the challenges associated with the cloud in the data center network, VMware senior vice president and general manager for cloud infrastructure management Ragu Raghuram told the news source that automation is becoming essential within the data center. However, automation systems will also fail if the storage network and other aspects of infrastructure are not properly equipped to handle data throughput rates.

Cloud computing technology is not the only innovation creating new networking needs in the data center. Many experts agree that the rising popularity of solid state drives in storage arrays will improve storage performance so dramatically that data center operators will need to upgrade their network infrastructure to handle the rise in data throughput within the SAN.

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