The need for efficiency in the data center is greater than ever. But there are challenges.
The move toward everything-as-a-service (XaaS) and virtualization has helped put the data center at the heart of the computing experience. The ability to call up reusable, fine-grained software components across a network is undeniably helpful, and virtualization offers computing flexibility and the ability to dynamically optimize resource utilization according to current needs.
But currently there’s a problem in most data centers, according to tech analyst Peter Bernstein and others: The expansion of data center usage is not being matched by efficiency in the typical data center.
“To be blunt,” wrote Bernstein in a recent article, “traditional network architectures have had very little awareness of the applications that are generating traffic over it. Conversely, the new virtual application control systems are unaware of the conditions prevailing within the network.”
The network and the applications on the network are effectively working in silos. The data center is not set up for the virtualization on the deepest level.
“As a result,” Bernstein noted about the silo effect, “attempts by the network or the application controllers (such as VMware’s popular hypervisor) to improve resource utilization typically achieves suboptimal results.” He added that for data center efficiency, networks need to be application fluent and applications need to be network friendly.
“Enterprises are faced with a large number of choices that can spell the difference between failure and success,” added Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) director of strategic marketing Cliff Grossner in a similar blog post earlier this year. “A properly architected data center fabric has the potential to bring the performance, scalability and elasticity to the data center required by today’s virtualized applications and when connecting to Cloud services.”
Grossner noted that “choosing wisely when deploying a real data center fabric can unleash the as yet untapped potential from existing investments in server visualization platforms.”
One solution is an applications fluent network where the data center understands devices and their associated applications. This contextual understanding leads to improved performance, and is a concept that Alcatel-Lucent has embraced wholeheartedly.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s vision for the data center is application fluency where the network infrastructure is capable of optimizing resources to ensure the best possible user experience and reduce complexity for the IT team,” Grossner wrote. “To improve end-user productivity, an application fluent network also features automatic controls for adjusting application delivery based upon profiles, policies and context.”
Application Fluent Networks also deliver streamlined operations through automated provisioning and low power consumption.
“Given the rapid pace of change that is transforming data centers and the need for speed, performance and seamless interoperation of all aspects of delivering compelling experiences to everyone in your company’s ecosystem,” wrote Bernstein, “it is likely that applications fluency is going to become a necessity if it has not already.”
Those interested in learning more about application fluency and the need for increased efficiency in the data center can register for “Breaking Down the Application and Network Infrastructure Silos,” a free webinar hosted by TMCnet and Alcatel-Lucent that takes place Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM EDT.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey