The Data Center and the company or even home network infrastructure are no longer separate entities, as the role of the DC continues to change.
Today's rapid rise of mobile devices, BYOD, wireless connectivity, IoT, Big Data, Cloud services and other innovations means the way we work and engage with our work environments is changing rapidly. People working from home, in public spaces or in transit, or people briging their own devices to work, expect hassle-free, high-quality connectivity. This requires bandwidth, increased flexibility and a solid backbone to the DC. How do you support the countless people relying on DC-based services, improve and innovate security and accommodate fast-moving IT developments and business processes ?
Fiber can help facilities departments
Fiber provides the solution. Until recently, discrete groups of in-building resources were devoted to specific functions: telephony, internet, data, LAN, security, building infrastructure... Today, we’re currently seeing integrated pools of computers, storage and networking resources increasingly being shared across multiple applications, enabled by highly efficient, policy-driven processes. Convergence allows users to make the most of increasingly sophisticated system intelligence, providing enormous technical and business efficiency increases, centralising IT resource management, consolidating systems, boosting resource utilisation rates and lowering costs.
Power over Ethernet (PoE), which combines power and data transmission in a single cable, is facilitated with network convergence, allowing for extensive use of powering devices using data cabling. The original PoE standard was introduced a decade ago and supported up to 12.95 watts, but with the introduction of PoE+ in 2009, up to 25.5 watts is supported. PoE can now power devices over long lengths of data cable.
Further benefits of fiber
Fiber also allows introduction of Energy Efficient Ethernet, according to the IEEE 802.3az standard. When a link is idle, power consumption of physical layer devices is reduced by placing part of the transmission circuit into low-power mode - without impacting data transmission. An EEE-defined protocol enables Ethernet devices (in LPI mode) to keep operational parameters updated. Link stability is preserved and disconnections avoided. When the link is required once again, it is simply ‘woken up’ after a predetermined delay.
Automating carefully selected managing and monitoring tasks can play an important part in achieving (close to) 100% uptime. There are several solutions, which may appear to overlap, or even seem interchangeable, but there are marked differences between them. Making poor choices could result in additional costs in the (near) future, so it’s worth examining them closely. To determine which solution type best suits your needs, you must know exactly what these needs are. Companies should first list the business requirements they wish to meet by implementing a monitoring and management solution. This should include infrastructural and environmental considerations and future growth plans.
Fiber and infrastructure management tools can support physical security, as well as prevent the misuse of data. Full management and configuration of all privacy and security components becomes easier and role-based management and security can be enhanced and improved. Access to current overviews of network layout and performance afforded by fiber is crucial in finding weak spots and planning upgrades and improvements.
Support for facilities and infrastructure
It's worth noting that many ‘tried and tested’ products don't work in a new integrated system. This has consequences for suppliers and end users, but also for IT support staff, who will be required to integrate new solutions and platforms into existing environments. They might even have to start from scratch with an entirely new suite of products and applications. Besides the speed of your connections, quality is important, as well as interoperability between different manufacturers’ hard- and software. Getting it right is vital - oversights are costly and time-consuming to fix after the fact.
Networks and connectivity should be evaluated as a key component of your physical infrastructure. That means understanding where you are, where you want to go and what it takes to get there. Compliance with industry standards needs to be closely examined and you must determine whether your network is capable of supporting current needs and future business initiatives. Fibre’s greater data throughput and lower latency also results in higher availability and significantly better overall performance of your network infrastructure. Ensuring your network lives up to a high standard, making it future proof and allowing the infrastructure to support multiple generations of active equipment, could simply require no more than investing 1% extra on the total budget.