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Testing becoming key as more data centers go optical

By Donna Donnawitz
May 18, 2012
The age of fiber-optic cable infrastructure in the data center may have arrived, as a number of emerging trends are leading to more optical network implementation throughout the data center. As a result, operators find themselves needing to improve their testing procedures to ensure their cabling deployment meets regulatory standards for safety and performance, Cabling Installation & Maintenance reported.

According to the news source, virtualization, cloud computing and other data center trends are putting more stress on the network. This is leading to increased fiber-optic cable use and making the network more important in most data center environments.

Virtualization and cloud computing combine to create major networking challenges for organizations. At the server level, virtualization puts more data in the same amount of hardware, eventually decreasing physical infrastructure when servers are able to host dozens of applications. This means there is more data in less space and a single network port has to support multiple virtual machines. Then the cloud comes into play, forcing data center operators to find a way to deliver these applications to more users through the web and without dropped data packets or latency.

The report said the need for better networks has led to companies moving beyond traditional optical cabling uses. In the past, most organizations have used optical infrastructure for their SAN systems and the wide area link that connects the data center to the internet. Currently, companies are expanding their use of fiber. This is creating an environment in which organizations can no longer easily outsource optical network testing, as the scale for evaluation has grown. Furthermore, a poorly configured network can have serious safety and performance ramifications, making advances in testing a critical consideration as fiber-optic cable infrastructure becomes more important.

While optical networking is becoming more prevalent in the data center, copper infrastructure still holds a valid place in many deployments. Therefore, organizations also need to consider how their optical infrastructure will interact with traditional Ethernet systems. Fiber-to-Ethernet media conversion is emerging as an ideal tool in this area, as it allows organizations to optimize performance between the two network standards and maintain cost-efficiency throughout the cabling infrastructure by allowing organizations to use copper when applicable and easily transition to fiber when necessary. Media conversion may not overcome testing challenges, but it can help companies more easily establish their cabling systems, leaving more resources available for better infrastructure assessment.

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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