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Ethernet Alliance completes interoperability test for DCB

By Donna Donnowitz
November 9, 2011
Data center bridging is emerging as a critical technology, as it helps streamline data center Ethernet networks. Recently, the Ethernet Alliance completed an interoperability test for its new DCB standard. This represents a major stride in the technology's development, showing that DCB systems may be ready for deployment in real-world data center settings.

At its core, DCB is all about simplifying network infrastructure. The technology takes the traditional Ethernet network and seamlessly combines it with storage. Joy Jiang, chair of the DCB Plugfest, explained DCB's potential in detail.

"DCB is enabling the convergence of traditional Ethernet and storage traffic on one, lossless Ethernet cable. This interoperability testing confirms that the standards are complete and we have products that create an eco-system of solutions that are ready to be deployed," said Jiang.

The plugfest served as an interoperability test, evaluating how different Ethernet setups will work within DCB environments. It proved successful. Participants were able to build an end-to-end DCB Ethernet network that was able to operate at the IEEE 802.1Q standard. Furthermore, the network was compatible with DCB technologies developed prior to the IEEE standard for such deployments, creating backward compatibility within the sector.

Sunil Ahluwalia, chair of the Ethernet for data center subcommitee for the Ethernet Alliance, said the organization's interoperability events play a major role in creating confidence in new Ethernet technologies.

"The efforts to educate and accelerate new technology development and adoption provide confidence to both industries and consumers," said Ahluwalia.

One of the greatest benefits of the interoperability test was its ability to present a practical example of what DCB technology can accomplish. At a plugfest, a diverse range of vendors and equipment manufacturers gather to put emerging technologies into practice and evaluate how they will work in operational environments. DCB's success at the Ethernet Alliance's trial event is a clear indication that it is ready for more widespread deployment in data centers.

Supporting infrastructure-based cloud computing models is emerging as one of the critical areas where DCB technologies are becoming important. According to a recent Sys-Con Media report, bridging systems within a data center network are able to support robust cloud infrastructure delivery initiatives because they combine different network operations to create more efficient data delivery.

Perle’s wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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