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Data centers going optical

By Max Burkhalter
September 11, 2012
I have a bit of a challenge for you - think of three places where you cannot watch video or access work systems. Can you do it? My mind immediately thinks that if I go out into the middle of the woods in a rural area, take a boat into the ocean or explore the depths of a cave, I could probably get away from the internet. But if I really wanted to watch video, listen to music or check my work email while I was out there, I could probably find a way by using satellite technologies.

In some ways, this is kind of creepy. I mean, we can be tracked whenever we are connected to the web and I have a bit too much of the conspiracy theorist in me to take that too lightly. But I also can't help but think of what this means for businesses. Companies have to constantly have their data, applications, email systems and network services available. They may not face a single point in the day when nobody is trying to access some form of data handled by the corporate network and they have to deal with major spikes that can overwhelm bandwidth capabilities.

According to a recent Cabling Installation & Maintenance report, the scale of data being handled by businesses is combining with the need for constant availability and mobile device support to create major challenges in the data center network. In response, there is a growing movement to install fiber-optic cabling infrastructure in more parts of the data center, including upgrading the backhaul. This may mean using fiber to Ethernet media converters in external setups where the optical cabling attaches to a node that connects the backhaul to the data center network. It also involves using optical cabling for internal systems and ensuring those cabling architectures can interact with copper infrastructure within the same facility.

Media conversion really is the ideal option for these types of scenarios. Let's face it, you probably can't afford to go all fiber, especially with an economy that is about as fragile as a paper-mache pinata, but you also can't handle the operational and performance limitations caused by limiting the network to copper. Media conversion lets you use fiber where you need it, but control costs with copper where you can get by with less bandwidth.

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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