Thursday, January 19, 2012
Data center network upgrades needed to handle SSD investments
In data center storage arrays, performance and capacity needs are simultaneously rising. In response, a growing number of operators are installing high-performance solid state drives to handle applications and data with high throughput requirements. They are then deploying inexpensive hard disk drives to handle the bulk of the data.
The challenge with such setups, is that SSDs can push performance to such limits that the network can have a hard time keeping up. In response, industry expert Dennis Martin told TechTarget organizations should consider making network upgrades in light of increased SSD investments.
Martin told the news source overwhelming a high-performance storage network, such as iSCSI, is challenging when using hard disk drives, unless the network connection offers fairly low bandwidth and speed capabilities. But SSDs introduce such a performance boost that the network can quickly experience problems.
To overcome this challenge, data center operators should begin by developing methods for monitoring how different storage disks are impacting data throughput and optimize their setup so the network will be able to handle as much information as possible. Once this has been settled, businesses need to consider infrastructure updates to handle SSD solutions.
While investments in advanced network equipment will likely be necessary to support SSD deployments, improving cabling infrastructure will also come into play.
"When these technologies need to connect devices that are separated by more than in-rack distances, multi-mode fiber-optic cabling should be upgraded to OM3 or OM4, preferably OM4. Fiber-optic cabling tends to remain in place as long as 10 to 15 years, so planning is important," Martin told TechTarget.
When it comes to data center network upgrades, SSDs are not the only technology creating new needs in the sector. As more businesses invest in virtualization and cloud computing, the amount of information being transmitted through the network is rising fast. These technologies combine with SSDs and other emerging data center investments to create an environment in which the network is more important than ever.
This is driving significant innovation in the sector and creating a major need for new equipment investments by data center operators. These upgrades could include more fiber-optic cable infrastructure and media conversion systems that streamline integration of fiber and copper cabling architectures. This technology is key, as it allows businesses to optimize cost and performance ratios by using both fiber and copper as necessary.
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