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March 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 3
Integrator’s Corner

Quality of Service in Today's Enterprise Network

Today, enterprises across the globe have adopted network-based quality of service policies as a key component to their network infrastructures. The complexities of bandwidth-demanding applications such as IP telephony, business video, collaboration and more complex database applications have required network teams to deploy QoS across infrastructures as a standard practice.

QoS is the prioritization of traffic at the ingress of the network, by application or protocol. When implemented correctly, QoS can guarantee the appropriate response and delivery of application data. Mostly based on policies defined within the organization, a proper QoS strategy includes:

  • application inventory and business priority;
  • latency-sensitive applications; and
  • implementation at the correct point(s) of ingress to the network.

Today, there is an emerging trend of fiber channel over Ethernet impacting an organization’s network infrastructure and QoS capabilities. And, because unified fabric – all data traversing a single wire or fiber - puts excessive strain on the underlying network infrastructure if a holistic and strategic QoS plan is not implemented, QoS must be considered a key step in determining the correct and successful deployment of fiber channel over Ethernet.

As the networking world has learned, applications will increase the insatiable demand for bandwidth; the bottom line is that bandwidth is not the only mitigating component of the underlying infrastructure – latency is just as important.

The keys to understanding QoS in the unified fabric world are not just a matter of adequate bandwidth, but also considering the intricacies of the application latency sensitivities and payload expectations. With proper implementation, the enterprise can continue to deliver optimized performance to the constituents and eliminate the propensity of data congestion on the network due to the large number of data classes traversing the network.

So, even when a comprehensive QoS strategy has been deployed, the injection of FCoE onto the network mandates that the current enterprise QoS be revisited at a minimum and re-architected possibly to take into consideration the impact of FCoE. IT

Bob Brewer is a solution architect at Forsythe Solutions Group (

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