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Data center operators using more than IP in networks

By Donna Donnawitz
December 10, 2012
IP has been the dominant protocol for data center networks over the past few years. While this technology offers considerable performance capabilities, it also comes with some limitations. As networking demands have risen, so has the need to move beyond IP. According to a recent Government Security News report, a significant number of organizations are supplementing IP functionality with Layer 1 network systems.

Considering new data center network demands
If you pay attention to the data center industry you will have noticed that things are changing. Cloud computing and virtualization are at the center of this shift, but applications are where things are really different. The days of software licenses, disks and end-user hardware supporting operations are over. The data center is handling everything now, delivering real-time data to end users and supporting constant data accessibility. For businesses, application data delivery can be a major problem. Meeting this need is dependent on improving network flexibility and performance.

Government Security News explained that users can improve the network for real-time application functions by incorporating elements of the Layer 1 network into the IP infrastructure. They can do this by implementing either an all-optical switch and network setup or optical-electrical-optical switch configuration. Both solutions can dramatically improve performance by creating a hybrid IP environment.

Implementing optical-focused data center networks
The report said that while an all-optical setup can be extremely effective, there is significant risk in using an optical-electrical-optical solution. In such a system, data does not cache in the switches, it does it during the conversion process. This means that data can be stolen if the switch is hacked. While this can be problematic, the performance gains offered by optical network systems can be substantial.

Using fiber-optic network solutions within the data center hinges on being able to make the optical infrastructure interoperable with the copper systems within the architecture. Fiber to Ethernet media converters are essential in such settings because they enable cost-effective network deployment and provide advanced functionality when getting copper and fiber systems to work well together. This is especially important as performance needs rise in the data center and copper systems begin to run into architectural roadblocks that cannot easily be overcome. As a result, media conversion tools are becoming a key part of many data center networks.

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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