The word “virtualization” has become pervasively used in descriptions of the revolution we are witnessing as data centers become the hubs of communications of all types. However, in many ways, we are on the on-ramp of the learning curve in terms of enterprises and service providers leveraging the true benefits of virtualization. The reality is, there is no turning back on the trend to virtualize as much as possible and move many -- if not most -- computing and communications functionality into the cloud, e.g. the data center.
The context for this is that we are on the indisputable verge of explosive data traffic growth which is going to force as transformation in data center networking and drive the requirement for a converged data/storage network.
What are the parameters experts are looking at?
Cisco (News - Alert) has taken a look at all of this, and the results in its Cisco Global Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2010-2015 are more than just a little thought provoking. First, they note that since 2008, most Internet traffic has originated or terminated in a data center, and that by 2015, one-third of data center traffic will be cloud traffic. And the volumes of traffic will be enormous. Cisco believes that global data center traffic will increase from 1.1 zettabytes (ZB) in 2010 to 4.8ZB by 2015, representing a 33 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).
The most interesting forecast was about the nature of the flows of all that data.
It turns out that most of the traffic, 76 percent, will be within the data center as services and applications create demand for more and more interaction between data centers’ various elements and need to be correctly architected to provide interactions between disparate data centers and ultimately with customers.
While there is violent agreement about this coming tsunami of traffic, and the requirement for data center transformation, there is growing concern as to whether data center infrastructures will be ready and able to live up to their responsibilities. As noted at the top, the bottom line is that if organizations want to fully leverage the power of virtualization, data center networks need to transform. In fact, they need to converge storage and data onto a single network to realize all the potential benefits of virtual computing.
Further context for what is transpiring is that for a host of technologic and economic reasons, storage convergence will not happen overnight. Migrating to a converged storage and data network is not a trivial task. In fact, most organizations need to carefully assess the risk to decide the right time to start down the migratory path.
The risks and benefits of moving to a converged data/storage network, the criteria to be evaluated in defining a strategy for getting there and best practices will all be the subject of a TMCnet webinar, “The Why, When, and How of Network Convergence,” Friday March 23rd, 2012 11:00 AM ET/ 8:00 AM PT. You are invited to join Zeus Kerravala Affiliate, Yankee Group (News - Alert), Cliff Grossner, Ph.D. Director Strategic Marketing, Network Business, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and me as we explore market trends, and things you need to consider to properly maximize the benefits of virtualization by carefully examining how to get your data center on the right path to a converged data/storage networking future.
Edited by Rich Steeves