Data center networks today with their multi-tier architectures involve considerable complexity that administrators must address using Layer 2 and 3 protocols. As challenging as data center management is, networks have gotten even more difficult to manage with virtual servers and blade servers. The access layer is no longer managed through a single switch, but now includes multiple stages of switching that extend from the software switch in the hypervisor—called a softswitch—to the top-of-rack or end-of-row access switch. Each time a new rack of servers is deployed to host VMs, each switching layer has to be configured, driving up cost and complexity.
The separate tools used to manage the LAN, SAN, blade server connectivity, NICs and HBAs also contribute to data center management complexities. Often administrators can see only what is in their direct line of responsibility and don’t have the overall view of the entire network environment. Now, imagine if they could:
- Logically eliminate the management of multiple switching layers
- Apply policies and manage traﬃc across many physical switches as if they were one switch
- Scale network bandwidth without manual reconfiguration of switch ports and network policies
- Provide a single, customized view of network status available to server, network, and storage administrators
Ethernet data center bridging and its new Ethernet fabric allows organizations to broaden the sphere of application mobility, provide VM awareness, and optimize server resources for applications just as it improves networking for storage.
Using this new data center bridging Ethernet fabric, organizations can simplify network architecture, more rapidly scale their networks, and significantly reduce data center management overhead. This is still a work in progress, but here at ASG at least, we see converged enterprise DCB Ethernet networks as the future, and we’re focused on helping companies get there as easily as possible.