Data Center Virtualization and Network Convergence

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
March 28, 2012

At ASG, we believe that network convergence, thanks in part to high-density 10Gb Ethernet, will become the next data center standard, thanks in part to a number of benefits:

1.  Cost savings – Much like with virtual servers that share resources, network convergence with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) eliminates the need for much of the cabling and the complexity inherent in disparate networks. Cards and cables for connecting storage to server to IP are consolidated thanks in part to converged network adapters and multi-protocol switches. This can add up to a lot of savings, with some estimates between 50 and 60 percent, and possibly more if you factor in future equipment upgrades.

2.  Efficiency improvements – With less equipment and cabling to connect and maintain, managing the network becomes less time intensive and provisioning becomes simplified. FCoE also creates a lossless Ethernet environment which allows for higher-quality storage traffic across the infrastructure itself.

3.  Faster performance – Without the NIC and SAN connections, FCoE allows you to take advantage of 10Gb Ethernet, providing you with the data pipe needed to realize speedier performance. You’re also on the Ethernet roadmap, which will allow future Ethernet connections at 40Gb and 100Gb.

There are – like any new technology implementation – inherent challenges that need consideration. Storage is often the life-blood of an organization, so changes to its management and structure need to be taken seriously and performed by experts. Be sure to hire an integrator that utilizes and partners with best-in-class technology providers.

Despite challenges, network convergence will likely shortly become as second nature to data centers as virtualization is today.

How about your organization or data center? Have you considered network convergence and if so why?

About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Data Center

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