One of the frequent questions we hear from our customers has to do with choosing the right media type for their data center. On the surface, it would seem the answer is obvious: use copper between the servers and first tier of switches and use optical fiber everywhere else. Although you might find yourself nodding in agreement, that answer does not really address the real question.
The real questions is: what is the right media type for maximizing what is important to you or minimizing what is costing you?
Let’s take a look at just one of the factors you might consider when looking at the various media types: latency.
When it comes to running an efficient operation, small data centers have many of the same concerns and challenges as their larger counterparts. One of the greatest challenges that managers of small data centers have is that they typically have limited resources in terms of technology, staffing, and financial support.
This can leave a small data center more vulnerable to inefficiencies, inflexibility for growth, and the potential for system failures. One example we run into on a regular basis occurs when the manager of a legacy data center needs to obtain power consumption and environmental data as a result of a cost reduction initiative, or difficulty finding capacity for new applications. This typically occurs in data centers that are older, may have between 20 and 30 racks, and have grown, despite best intentions, in unintended ways.
Historically, MPO connectors had to be ordered with the correct gender and polarity because they could not be changed in the field. The PanMPO connector changes that, allowing installers to change both polarity and gender quickly and easily, simplifying the migration to 40G Ethernet while maintaining standards compliance. Because of this, data center operators only need to purchase one type of MPO patch cord reducing costs and improving efficiency.
This year’s Cisco Live, being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, promises to be another exciting event. As a Platinum Sponsor, Panduit will be exhibiting in booth #1521 and will be featuring our Intelligent Data Center Solutions, Enterprise Solutions and Industrial Automation Solutions.
We are particularly excited about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture that promises to deliver fast application provisioning and simplified operations. ACI networks will be built upon a flatter 2 tier network architecture that requires some new ways of thinking about how an optimal physical infrastructure should be built. Panduit has been working with Cisco to understand the differences between traditional three tier physical architectures and the ACI architecture, and will be presenting the “ACI Impact on Physical Infrastructure Design and Deployment” in the general session on Tuesday May, 20th at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Examples of cabinets configured with Spine/Leaf network topologies including Top of Rack (ToR), End of Rack (EoR) and Middle of Rack (MoR).
Data center networks are becoming more and more complex making it more difficult to trouble shoot and balance traffic within LANs and SANs. That is why more network architects and data center managers are deploying Tapped Fiber optic Cassettes (TFC).
TFCs give network analyzers, packet brokers, and other pieces of test equipment access to the fiber link.
Whether it is power, space, or cooling, stranded capacity can strangle your data center’s efficiency, blow-up your budget and put the brakes on new applications implementation. We have encountered many approaches to freeing stranded capacity ranging from the expensive…redeployment or reconfiguration of devices, or adding power or cooling capacity in an operational data center, to the ones requiring lower investment…additional perforated floor tiles, fans, or “meat locker” curtains to help improve cooling capacity utilization.
Frequently, we are asked to help reclaim stranded data center capacity. One approach that is relatively low risk and economical is to improve the utilization of existing cooling capacity. Installing blanking panels and sealing gaps in the raised floor is typically our first recommendation. Fast, simple, and inexpensive to implement, it is typically a first step and may not provide the level of separation needed to concentrate cooling air to accommodate higher densities. The next step is hot or cold aisle containment.
When developing a new networking standard, several attributes need to be balanced to optimize its implementation. To optimize the implementation of 40GBASE-T, the task force developing the standard (IEEE P802.3bq) appears to have settled on a reach of 30 meters. This is a tradeoff between power dissipation of the silicon physical layer (PHY) IC driving the cable, the complexity of the PHY which would impact cost, the implementation of the channel, and the reach of the link.
The question is: Is 30 meters long enough? Let’s take a look.
A converged fabric based on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) helps data center architects and managers reduce CAPEX, OPEX, while simplifying the network infrastructure. Up until recently, there was something hindering the adoption of FCoE: 10GBASE-T.
Historically, deploying FCoE on the links between servers and aggregation switches meant that one had to use optical fiber or Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cable assemblies. The first generation of aggregation switches that supported 10GBASE-T did not support FCoE. Additionally, 10GBASE-T Ethernet server adapters did not support FCoE as well, and FCoE was only available with Converged Network Adapters (CAN) that supported the SFP+ form factor. That meant one could implement ToR architectures with FCoE using DAC cable assemblies or other architectures using optical fiber for longer distances.
The devil is in the details. This is true for many endeavors, particularly when building out a data center’s physical infrastructure. Given the scope and investment of the entire data center project, the physical infrastructure can seem relatively minor. Missing some important details however, can have a significant impact on installation schedules, and your job…who wants to explain why a new service or application is delayed because a minor component doesn’t fit right or didn’t arrive on schedule? Missing details can also impact network performance when work-arounds, done for the sake for expediency, lead to operational problems or worse….after the data center has been commissioned.
Statistics, multiple analysts, and research reports indicate that data centers are often overprovisioned with power and cooling capacity to maintain service levels regardless of actual IT equipment utilization. As you are well aware, this approach has proven to be expensive and inefficient. As data center energy consumption grows it is drawing the attention of CFO’s and corporate responsibility managers who are concerned with the impact of the data center’s operation on the environment and of course, the impact on the bottom line. So how can you improve your data center’s efficiency?