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Network virtualization among key trends coming in 2012

By Donna Donnawitz
December 29, 2011
Data center networking needs are changing fast, as virtual server infrastructure puts more data on each machine, increases the amount of communication between physical servers and adds to the amount of bandwidth needed to transmit data to end users. According to a recent PCWorld report, the popularity of server virtualization in 2011 will lead to significant growth opportunities for network virtualization in 2012.

Virtualizing the network infrastructure is key to realizing the full potential of virtual data center infrastructure, the report said. Simply virtualizing servers is not enough to gain the flexibility, cost-effectiveness and scalability offered by a fully-realized virtual data center. This is because deploying virtual servers alone clogs the network, limiting the technology's potential gains. However, virtual network infrastructure allows data center operators to essentially create multiple networks on a single hardware setup.

According to the news source, this creates an environment where the network hardware appliances are split just as much as the server appliances, allowing the network to operate just as flexibly as server systems. Essentially, each virtual machine gets its own port and network connection.

The problem with network virtualization is the same as the issue with virtual server infrastructure. More data is being sent through less hardware. In the case of network virtualization, it means that each router, switch or cable is handling higher data throughput rates. There are a few ways to overcome this problem.

The first is to upgrade cabling infrastructure within the data center. Using media conversion technology, operators can increase their optical network deployment while still using copper cabling solutions where allowable. This allows data center managers to get the most out of their network, optimizing cost efficiency and performance through investments in structured cabling solutions that provide flexibility.

Choosing the right media conversion solution allows data center operators to use quality of service technology, a second key solution to increased bandwidth on physical hardware. QoS allows organizations to prioritize traffic as they see fit, ensuring that data packets are not dropped and important information gets to end users quickly.

For example, a QoS system can give data from a critical application server priority over traffic from a virtual machine that just handles static files and content that can handle a small measure of latency without disrupting end-user operations.

Combining cabling, media conversion and QoS capabilities can enable network virtualization, unlocking the full benefits of virtual server infrastructure.

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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