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Rising data rates making network upgrades critical

By Donna Donnowitz
October 3, 2011
Enterprise and data center networks experienced major changes during the past few years, as new technologies have changed how businesses deal with data. The rising amount of content in enterprise data centers is creating an environment where so much information is being sent through the network that corresponding upgrades need to be made, the Register reported.

According to the news source, many networks currently look similar to numerous road systems prior to the introduction of interstates and highway systems. The traffic was uncontrolled and roads were not wide enough, or divided and structured in a way that could not handle that traffic. As more nations upgraded their roads to include large, divided and multi-lane highways, traffic issues were resolved through upgrades that supported more vehicles. Currently, many networks are like old road systems, with too much traffic and not enough of the right types of roads to handle it. Upgrading infrastructure could be the solution for many businesses, the report said.

There are three primary technological changes that have made large-scale network upgrades necessary: multi-core processors, solid state drives and virtualization. According to the report, multi-core processors have created an environment where many servers are running CPUs capable of running at least 12 times faster than their single-core predecessors. This combines with the SSD's ability to dramatically improve data storage performance to make servers much more dynamic than they once were. Furthermore, virtualization is creating a situation where each of these powerful machines is hosting anywhere from 20 to 30, and sometimes more, virtual servers. As a result, data input/output rates are escalating at a meteoric rate, and network upgrades are becoming essential to keep up, the news source said.

Essentially, the improved processing and storage hardware is combining with virtualization to choke the network with so much data that it cannot possibly transmit it through to its various destinations. To overcome this, companies need to consider the networking upgrades available and develop strategies to upgrade their networks and put those plans into place.

Many businesses are responding to the need for new networking systems by making corresponding upgrades to infrastructure. According to a recent Infonetics Research report, the data center sector is experiencing significant growth in terms of network infrastructure. The report found second quarter spending in the market rose 3.1 percent sequentially, representing 4.2 percent year-over-year growth.


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