Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Piggy banks, virtualization and control plane infrastructure: Somehow, it all fits together
When I was a kid, parents still got their kids piggy banks to teach them responsibility or, at least, how to break through hard-to-open objects to get what they want. Well, I wasn't one of the cool kids, so I didn't have a rocket ship or race car bank. I had the classic, big, bulbous pink oinker. Most of the time, it got the job done. I scrounged a nickel or dime - a quarter if I was lucky - stuck it through the slot at the top, and got it to fall out of the bottom a few days later when I unplugged the stopper and shook the ceramic pig a bit.
But every year, my great aunt would give me two shiny 50-cent pieces for my birthday. Remember those? Well, by some stroke of design genius, the people who made the piggy bank made the hole in the bottom almost exactly the same size as the 50-cent piece. I would spend what felt like hours shaking the stupid ceramic animal trying to get anything out of it. But anytime a nickel almost came out, the 50-cent piece clogged up the hole and trapped the rest of my money. When I was six or so, the piggy bank and the upstairs window were involved in an incident, but up until then, those annoying 50-cent pieces kept clogging the plug.
Whenever data center managers tell me about their experiences with virtualization, I can't help but think of my piggy bank. All those servers with so much data and so many applications, all trying to fit through one connection that is just big enough to handle the most demanding of the applications, the network problems can lead to machines being thrown out the window.
The answer, in most cases, is to create more bandwidth, but in the control and data plane infrastructure, it is not always that simple. According to a recent Data Center Knowledge report, the control and data plane are such complex parts of the data center that they not only require more bandwidth, but also specialized hardware acceleration solutions and protocol-aware communications.
This is where media converters really pay dividends. They not only allow data center operators to switch between fiber and copper whenever necessary to improve bandwidth, but also provide advanced functions, such as quality of service, that can drive performance improvements.
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.