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Ethernet can handle converged data centers

By Donna Donnawitz
February 22, 2012
Converged data center infrastructure is emerging as a key trend for the future. With virtualization having a firm hold in the sector and cloud computing becoming ever more popular, the need for architectures that are converged to use as little hardware as possible is key to preventing server sprawl and excess energy use. The problem is that the network is not yet ready for this transition, CIO magazine reported.

According to the news source, Ethernet has the potential to be the solution in the converged data center, but there are currently a few limitations that are holding the technology back.

The first comes with quality of service. The news source explained that Ethernet is capable of being equipped with quality of service capabilities, but the technology has an inherent design elements that dictates bandwidth is shared as evenly as possible across all traffic classes. Because of this, QoS, which is built around prioritizing network traffic effectively, is severely limited on Ethernet infrastructure. It can be employed to some extent, but not as dramatically as it can be used in other infrastructure setups. This is problematic because the high data throughput requirements of converged data centers require advanced management tools to streamline data packet delivery.

Ethernet's other problem, according to the report, is how it responds to excess traffic in the network. When Ethernet bandwidth is pushed beyond the maximum capacity, the network automatically drops select data packets and attempts to resend them later. In a converged data center, this only exacerbates the problem because the network is always being used at peak capacity and resending dropped data packet will only lead to a clogged network.

The good news, CIO magazine explained, is that Ethernet can be adapted to overcome these weaknesses. As a result, there is potential for advances in Ethernet standards to develop the technology to the point that it can not only handle converged infrastructure, but be the ideal protocol for the data center scheme.

Ethernet's flexibility and adaptability are making it an ideal protocol in a diverse range of settings. Many experts agree that the technology is overcoming precision issues that limited its use in industrial networks. As a result, more manufacturers are converging data, control and automation networks into a single Ethernet infrastructure that is far more efficient and less expensive than traditional industrial network setups.

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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