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Evolution of the Data Center LAN: An analyst view

May 24, 2012 - 0 Comments

Data centers have evolved from a simple client-server model to complex virtualized environments, with the network continuing to play a vital role to enable businesses to adopt new technologies and applications for growth and scale.  The data deluge resulting from the exponential increase of video traffic and rich media applications  along with and workload mobility, and users are bringing their own devices (BYOD) such as tablets and smart phones into the work environment,  is driving significant change in information technology. The question in the minds of CTOs, IT Directors and Managers — even System Administrators —  now becomes, Is your data center network really ready to meet these new challenges?

As part of The Data Center LAN Switching Thought Leadership discussion series, Dr. Jim Metzler, Moderator, Ashton, Metzler & Associates, discussed some of the key technologies that have driven the data center network evolution.  The discussion focused on the viability of converging LAN and SAN environments along with the best approaches to scale Virtual Machines and incorporate OpenFlow and Virtualization into data center networks based on input from industry leaders  – Cisco, HP,  Arista, Avaya, Brocade, and Extreme Networks

Read the full discussion online or download quick summaries by topic below:

 What Are the Best Approaches to Scale Virtual Machine (VM) Networking Beyond the Data Center?   ( Summary PDF):  Panelists were asked to identify the primary challenges that limit the ability of an IT organization to move VMs between data centers. Read the summary for vendor recommendations.

What’s the Best Alternative to Spanning Tree?   ( Summary PDF)  The most obvious conclusion that can be drawn from the discussion is vendors have widely varying views on the best alternative to STP.   Please read the PDF to learn more about the choices.

The Ability of the Data Center LAN to Support Virtualization  (Summary PDF) Virtualization broadly defined is a hot topic for virtually all IT organizations. What impact does virtualization have on data center LAN switching? Read the summary to learn more about the impact of virtualization on your DC.

Does Converging the LAN and SAN Make Sense?  (Summary PDF) Cisco has taken a multi-protocol approach:  convergence is not just about FCOE,  it is about converging the end to end infrastructure.  All of the vendors except Arista claimed some sort of savings by implementing convergence, while Arista claims that for many enterprises, the number one priority is to enable virtualization, and they don’t see convergence as priority,

Does OpenFlow Make Sense in Enterprise Networks? (Summary PDF ):  Cisco’s position is that software defined networking (SDN),/ OpenFlow , will play a key role in the ongoing evolution of networking because it offers a way for customers to take advantage of the sophisticated features of their infrastructure.  STAY TUNED for more info on OpenFlow / SDN coming your way soon.

 The Evolution of the Data Center LAN  (Summary PDF) Discusses challenges in evolving the data center LAN. Sixth discussion on this topic and the last in the series.  Format is interview style with Q/A.

As you can see, each vendor has their own strategy and they position to their strengths. Cisco is and will always be technology agonistic in order to provide solutions for the most pressing issues facing customers today and  in the future.

 Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager




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