Virtualization Featured Article

Transforming Network Infrastructure: The Revolution and Evolution of Data Centers

October 01, 2014

On behalf of TMC and community sponsor Fiber Mountain, we’d like to welcome you to the Transforming Network Infrastructure Community. Of the three pillars of data centers—storage, computing and inter and intra data center networking, the latter has been a bit of a laggard - but all of that is in the midst of profound and rapid change.

As a result of all of the critical attention now being paid to data center infrastructure, it is the goal of the community to become your premier destination on the latest news and insights about critical issues regarding data center operations and administration. You are invited to become active members of the community. We trust you will bookmark the homepage and visit frequently not just to catch up on the latest news but explore the links to what will be a wealth of timely and useful information.

By way of introduction, the headline speaks to the incredible dynamics sweeping all parts of the data center ecosystem from data center solutions providers to data center operators and to their customers. We live in an age where the connected world is literally and figuratively becoming data center-centric. Whether it is in our professional or personal lives, much of how all of us interact and transact involves data centers.

Indeed, we live in an age which can be characterized as, “The Age of Acceleration.” Its attributes are that the only constants are change and the speed at which it is increasing. What it means is that organizations of all sizes and locations must have the technology and smarts to accommodate dynamic change or suffer the consequences. What is also means is that data centers, which we now tend to view as the cloud, as the dominant engines of delivering innovative and high-quality services and applications need to keep pace with the explosion of requirements and traffic being placed upon them.

Realities are that a tsunami of data interchange is already starting to engulf us. The drivers of this tsunami are well known and include the big trends that grab headlines—mobility, applications, virtualization, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the rapid ascendancy of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) which are the foundations for the next generation Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). The world is going open source and software defined/virtualized at every layer of the stack.

We also know that for the accelerating revolution all of this technology is engendering is profoundly altering the very nature of work, how and where it is performed, and how we conduct ourselves in our multiple personal online personae.

The question that arises is whether data centers are up to the task. The current answer is that existing architectures for assuring delivery of services that are high-performance, secure and can be delivered cost efficiently and effectively must be up-graded to next generation capabilities.

The solutions to keeping data center operations “up-to-speed” are emerging to meet ecosystem needs. And, while replacing or upgrading existing systems and ways of doing business like all major technology paradigm shifts are revolutions that happen in evolutionary timeframes, the journey has begun. It is this journey to what can and should come next regarding data center operations and management that is the reason this community was created.   

With the above as context, a brief description of the community tabs is in order to highlight what will be the focus of this site and why.

  • Optical Networking:  One of the disruptive parts of data center transformation is that the packet core of networks is moving toward being replaced by an optical core. In this new world switching and routing will converge. Intelligence moves to the edge under software control. This is a significant change. It will usher in an era where transceivers will disappear and new network architectures to leverage the optical core will be become commonplace.  
  • Virtualization:  The how to part of virtualization, along with the reasoning behind if, when and why, is an area of intense debate. This section will look at not just various solutions as they emerge but also delve into the reasoning behind them and explore costs, benefits and best practices.
  • Hyperscale Data Centers (SDDC - Software Defined Data Centers: For those not familiar, hyperscale data centers as the name implies are the really big ones, i.e., the ones that need to scale massively (up and down) and have the agility to do so quickly and efficiently.  This section will feature items on how emerging technologies can leverage all types of data center technology including (Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), Power, Cooling, infrastructure, topology, network designs, and why new architectures are required as data centers scale due to higher bandwidth demands, more equipment, and ever-expanding network demands.

As noted at the top, the goal of the community is both keep you informed and hopefully to get you engaged.  We are in a digital revolution that is picking up speed thanks to both some amazing technology ingenuity and user demands.  Data center infrastructure is a key enabler of that revolution and as it evolves to help those creating the future excel in changing how we work and live we look forward to you using this space as a place to track and become part of an exciting journey. Welcome!   

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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