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In today’s data centers, many key technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing have greatly improved efficiency and asset utilization; however, they come with a much higher level of network complexity.
It is time to implement intelligent connectivity systems − based on the AIM standards − in the data center to help manage this complexity and ensure that the physical layer is fully-documented and can automatically report all changes.
With the increasing use of software tools to manage network and application performance, security, latency and any number of parameters, it is difficult to believe that many data centers still rely on spreadsheets or even paper records to manage their physical layer connectivity—until now.
Here are my top five reasons you should deploy an intelligent connectivity system to manage data center connections.
1: Fiber has taken over in the data center.
In the past, fiber connections in the data center were confined to the storage network and were considered to be relatively static. As new servers were added, fiber channel connections were established between server, SAN switch and storage array. It remained in place until any of these three active systems were decommissioned.
This is not the case today because servers and storage devices are constantly being added to support the 40 percent per year growth rate forecasted into 2020. Fiber has become the medium of choice to interconnect all data center devices, regardless of whether they are running Ethernet, Fiber Channel, Infiniband or other protocols. It is a much more dynamic environment now and intelligent connectivity systems play a more important role in documenting the physical layer.
2: Intelligent connectivity is now a standard.
Automated infrastructure management (AIM) standards are completed in TIA (ANSI/TIA-606-B) and in process in ISO/IEC (ISO/IEC 14763-2 and ISO/IEC 18598). These activities confirm the importance of AIM for managing the physical layer.
3: Fiber patching frames are denser and prone to user error.
With the latest generation fiber patch shelves supporting up to 72 duplex LCs (144 fibers) per 1U of rack space, the chance of making a patching error increases dramatically. Intelligent fiber connectivity systems can prevent this by providing guided patching and confirmation following the completion of a correctly made patch.
Higher densities are also changing how connections are made between servers, patching frames and switches. In the past, simple LC patch cords were used with simple one-to-one relation between equipment. With the benefit of higher density QSFP and CFP4 footprints, it is now common to connect multiple servers to a single switch port with a pre-terminated fiber array cable. These cable assemblies have multiple LCs to connect to servers and an MPO connector on the other end to connect with the switch port.
4: Real-time data provides operational efficiency and savings.
With the increasing level of moves, adds and changes in the data center, it is common to remove servers or switches without verifying that the end-to-end links have also been taken down. As a result, many switch ports are still patched, but not in service as the equipment at the far end has been removed. These incomplete circuits cost money, take up space and ultimately lead to more investment in new equipment. With an intelligent system, processes can be established to ensure that when servers or switches are decommissioned, all intermediate connections and switch ports are freed up and available for future use.
5: Intelligent connectivity covers copper.
While fiber is overtaking copper in the data center, there are likely applications that will continue to use copper cabling. 10GBASE-T has emerged as the lowest cost solution for 10G up to 100 meters and continues to gain share in the 10G space. Fortunately, intelligent connectivity solutions can manage the copper network as well.
All five of these reasons for deploying an intelligent connectivity system, like imVision™, provide data center managers a better understanding of their network and gain the advantage of staying ahead of the fast-changing IT and data center landscape.
To learn more about how intelligent fiber connectivity - based on the AIM standard - can help you control your fiber infrastructure, check out this video and be sure to register for Michael German’s webinar, Beyond Bandwidth: Managing Your Assets in Today’s Fiber Network, on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.