Networking data: Virtualisation changing the data centre

Analyst Hamish MacArthur discusses the impact of virtualisation on networking data technology.

Demand for computing resources continues to increase, to manage business processes, communicate via email and video and manage the information assets at a personal and business level. These business factors plus the deployment of virtualisation is changing networking data and the face of the data centre.

Maintaining systems with a fast response time will mean that high performance networks will need to be installed. This is what 10Gb Ethernet is offering, with future developments leading to 40Gb and 100Gb networks. The low latency of these networks determines the fast response times. As the networking data traffic increases, latency will become of greater concern.

As the networking data traffic increases, latency will become of greater concern.

Hamish MacArthur, chief executive of Macarthur Stroud International,

Virtualisation delivers significant financial benefits as resources are consolidated further. But virtualisation highlights the need to manage the connectivity of resources carefully. For example, when an application is moved from one server to another, the connections associated with the application, the data it is accessing and the users accessing the application must be maintained.

Virtual networking data technologies
This is being delivered by new virtual connect technologies. To ensure that it is not CPU dependent, this technology resides in the network or is delivered as a port adapter. VMready developed by Blade Networks and offered by IBM, HP with its Flex-10 technology and Emulex with its virtual port adaptor.

This is a critical networking data technology as it must not impede response times and must, in a secure and trusted fashion, keep the application fully connected when automated processes move the virtual machines. Scalability will be a real issue as more virtualised applications are placed on each physical server.

The importance of this technology is highlighted when we consider that a traditional network switch or adaptor sees physical ports and servers. With the virtualised solutions, the virtual connect switches and adaptors see virtualised ports and servers.

Switch virtualisation shares the I/O across a blade chassis or a rack. It decouples the CPU, I/O and storage and simplifies system scaling. Provisioning and system management become server-centric, simplifying the tasks for server administrators. Servers can be moved, replaced and added, and the correct network configuration will always be applied.

As blades become the engines within the data centre, networks must support the virtualised servers and storage environments. This will be simplified with a converged data centre fabric. Connectivity must be managed in a secure, trusted and scalable way.

Management is addressed as the universal Ethernet standard leads to fewer cables and fewer ports. This means fewer components and less power and cooling. The single converged fabric will support multiple services, including data and storage, deploying networking data technologies such as iSCSI, NAS and FCoE.

Hamish MacArthur is a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk and chief executive and founder of Macarthur Stroud International.

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