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Media converters can help companies future proof the data center

By Max Burkhalter
June 24, 2013

Data center network requirements are rising so fast that it could leave your head spinning. Think about it this way, just five or 10years ago the vast majority of people only accessed the web through desktop PCs or laptops. Cloud computing was only a glimmer in the eye of the web hosting community and server virtualization was only beginning to take hold. As a result, the data center network was a fairly static and predictable entity. This is no longer the case, and companies may need to respond by investing in fiber-optic cabling systems and media converters to future proof the network.

Considering how the data center network has changed
In the days prior to virtualization and cloud computing, most data center networks could get the job done by running a structured cabling setup primarily featuring patch panels and patch cables. Key interconnects between storage and server systems may have requires some point-to-point network links, but the vast majority of the system was based on fairly standard Ethernet setups.

While Ethernet is still a common protocol in the data center, operational requirements have changed substantially over the course of the past few years. The rise of virtualization has created an environment in which a single network port on a physical server may support dozens of virtual machines, leading to major bandwidth challenges.

At the same time, cloud computing and mobile device use have changed the way end users access data. This has completely transformed the way data moves through the data center. Historically, the vast majority of data center traffic has been north-south in nature. With virtualization, cloud computing and other emerging technologies gaining hold, many organizations are dealing with more east-west traffic on top of the north-south data transmissions.

Combined, these factors are leading to a need for more flexible data center networks. At the same time, big data and similar trends are also creating data throughput challenges, leading to considerable operational challenges.

Dealing with new bandwidth demands
Installing fiber-optic cabling systems for key interconnects, such as between storage and server environments or for backhaul, can prove incredibly important as network demands change in the data center. Using fiber in such a manner can lead to major interoperability challenges. However, using media converters in the data center can alleviate this problem, positioning IT leaders to maximize network performance effectively.

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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