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Craft a Converged Data Center Network Strategy

Build buy-in for a flat data center network.


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  • Maritime Electric
  • AOC Resins
  • Triple T
  • Saskatoon Health Region
  • Kaizen InfoSource LLC
  • Lakes District Health Board New Zealand
  • 122 other organizations contributed survey information to assist with the development of this solution set. Due to the sensitivity of the information, these contributors requested confidentiality.

Your Challenge

  • To support key consolidation, performance, and reliability objectives, enterprises must plan to evolve from disparate networks for compute and storage traffic to a converged data center networking infrastructure. This shift represents a major impact on technology planning and IT staffing and support.
  • Many of the next-generation data center networking solutions proposed by vendors promise convergence but still leverage proprietary elements. Pursuing any type of value-added protocol scheme that isn’t yet standardized introduces the risk of being locked into one particular vendor portfolio.
  • This solution set will help you develop and validate a technology roadmap and strategy for data center and storage networking infrastructure.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • With advancing speeds from 10G to 100G and declining costs from $500 per port, Ethernet has now emerged as a viable platform for storage networking, allowing enterprises of all sizes to standardize on technology for the data center environment.
  • Organizations are adopting 10 Gigabit Ethernet to deliver improved performance, availability, and management as the technology is key to data center consolidation efforts. All sizes of organizations are looking at 10G Ethernet to converge their TCP/IP network and storage infrastructure. An Info-Tech survey found that while larger organizations are more likely to have already adopted 10G Ethernet, the majority of small and medium organizations have plans to adopt within 24 months.
  • Priorities such as shared storage and blade server investment, high bandwidth requirements, and virtualization align with storage and TCP/IP network convergence, however, adoption does not come without its challenges. Complexity, planning, and interoperability are all prevalent obstacles. Enterprises must assess environment appropriateness and readiness.

Impact and Result

  • Enterprises should perform an assessment of storage and network baselines to prepare for implementation; since most enterprises lack resources and expertise in this area, third party assistance is recommended.
  • Given the current stage of the market and the prevalence of proprietary elements, enterprises must ensure that they develop a data center convergence roadmap that is independent of specific vendors and products.
  • Prepare for the need to cross-train technical staff (storage, network, and server teams) in order to prepare for the demands of a new converged data center support model.

Research & Tools

1. Understand the opportunities associated with data center convergence and a migration to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Identify common business drivers and challenges the enterprise may face when adopting data center convergence.

2. Assess enterprise overall readiness to begin planning activities for data center convergence and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Gauge the overall costs and benefits associated with a transition to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

3. Prepare for the future converged data center environment by assessing key infrastructure and staffing requirements.

Determine performance and capacity needs and evaluate technology opportunities.

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Search Code: 24376
Published: July 16, 2010
Last Revised: November 8, 2010