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February 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 2
Integrator’s Corner

Extreme Makeover! Data Center Edition — Part II

Just as IP telephony virtualized the need for PBXs to be situated in every physical office location, the next generation network components are enabling companies to view their data center equipment as true virtualized resources.

Last month we considered three network-related elements of the virtualized data center to think about when looking to optimize cost. Here we consider three others.

Application Network Services: Consider consolidating branch office server and storage resources to the Data Center to lower your overall costs and increase data security while providing LAN speed application access and performance. Further, with the use of these tools, you can optimize WAN bandwidth usage and distribute requests over multiple devices to help scale applications and to ensure uptime for those critical applications. Bandwidth optimization tools should be added where appropriate. These services and solutions can be obtained within a blade/line card in a chassis-type design or in some cases via an appliance.

Data Center Virtualization: Data center managers can build their own utility computing data center out of industry-standard servers, storage, applications, and management tools. Virtualization can help reduce IT expenses and provide advantages such as leveraging shared pools of resources, virtualized server and I/O infrastructure and the ability to respond to new business demands by swiftly redeploying servers. Furthermore, it provides the ability to add automated fail-over from a generic pool of resources and create unified 10 Gbps fabric for IP, storage area network (SAN), and server-to-server communications. This all adds up to leveraging existing investments with the appropriate tools to increase your Data Center ROI.

High Performance Computing (HPC) applications: These solve complex, computationally intensive problems and are widely deployed within enterprises, as they deliver significant business benefits. A key enabler for the broad adoption of HPC applications is the practice of clustering multiple industry-standard servers using a high-speed network to provide supercomputer performance at a fraction of the cost of traditional supercomputers. This can be done with technologies such as InfiniBand Compute Fabric Switches and Gateways as well as Gigabit Ethernet. Coupling these technologies within the data center ties together the Management, I/O and Inter-Process Communications (IPC) networks.

Tying it All Together

The network can and should be looked upon as the new operating system inside the data center walls. Add to that IP-based storage and server switching technologies and you now have a data center that is better equipped to draw on resources when you need them no matter if they are in the next aisle of servers or in the data center across the country. IT

As Product Director, Advanced Network Technologies at Forsythe, Mark Bolsoni focuses on creating solutions that help customers optimize their IT infrastructure and business performance by taking advantage of the latest in network technologies. Bolsoni has created, launched, and managed programs that enable customers to demo advanced networking products using a defined Forsythe trial methodology.

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