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Data center network problems can outpace solutions

By Donna Donnawitz
October 2, 2012
Data center networking requirements have risen considerably in recent years. Cloud computing, virtualization and a dramatic rise in data storage need have converged to create major challenges for IT managers.

The escalation of data center networking problems
When I consider this problem, I'm sometimes reminded of the classic episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel try to work a chocolate assembly line and chaos ensues. Initially, things seemed simple. When the pace accelerated, it seemed sensible to just eat a few of the chocolates or hide them to overcome the pacing problem. Then things just got way too fast and no amount of stopgap solutions could prevent disaster.

When it comes to data center networking, it may not be an assembly line, but rising data consumption and storage rates present a constantly growing problem for IT managers. According to a recent Data Center Journal report, it is like playing a game of whack-a-mole. Once one of the issues has been hammered away and dealt with, another pops up. One day, IT is revisiting the storage architecture to deal with the bottleneck between storage data and CPUs and the next, something must be done to address the amount of data traveling through the network from virtual machines.

Fiber-optic cabling as a possible solution
When it comes to solving these problems, you have a few options. However, regardless of which solution you choose, you need to have the underlying network infrastructure in place to make the entire system more flexible and responsive. One of the best ways to achieve this is by implementing fiber-optic cabling systems as storage backhaul. This provides the rapid data transit capabilities needed within the storage environment, while optical network links can provide streamlined communications between storage and application layers. This improves performance throughout the data center, but also provides the vital foundation needed to built more advanced capabilities.

The importance of media conversion in such settings
To find success within this type of setup, organizations need to invest in fiber to Ethernet media converters to enable interoperability. With media conversion tools in place, data center managers can seamlessly integrate the fiber and Ethernet networks, optimizing performance and making the fiber upgrade as cost effective as possible.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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