Move to networking services
KEVIN ST CYR Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions CommScope
As the demand for increased bandwidth continues to grow, the chief concern for network IT and data center (DC) managers will be to deploy the right technologies and strategies to handle the pressure on the physical layer to survive and thrive. As this data deluge continues into 2015 and beyond, the DC and the enterprise are facing their own unique set of challenges to keep up with the demand.
Early adoption in the DC
The DC is often an early adopter of technology because it consumes the most bandwidth. The physical layer and infrastructure must be at the highest level of performance and uptime. As a result, this is what I expect in 2014 and beyond. In most, if not all DCs, we are seeing an increased use of higher-grade multi-mode optical fiber. We continue to see a marked increase in the deployment of pre-terminated fiber and copper cabling. Server virtualization has become prevalent in the move toward cloud computing, driving the need for faster server uplinks. 10 GBASE-T finally starting to take hold as transceiver costs and power usage drop, driving the need for Cat 6a cabling.
We have seen the possibility of upto 22 services including voice, data, RFID, video surveillance, power and mobile phone signals being switched through a structured cabling network. During the next 12 months you are likely to observe that network integrators are transforming themselves into building management solution providers. An interesting solution which is likely to capture the imagination of a COO is one that allows mobile phone users in a dense office environment to receive high-quality signals even within the corners of the building.
While enterprises and commercial networks have started deploying Cat 6a, there are discussions around Cat 7 and Cat 8 emerging as future standards. Cat 6a is a major improvement over current Cat 6 standards; at double the frequency of 500 MHz it literally allows you to draw cables supporting 10 G speeds over 100 meters. Cat 7 also promises similar performance, but many in the industry believe that the newly proposed Cat 8 may be adopted faster.
Up to 22 services including voice, data, RFID, video surveillance, power and mobile phone signals are riding on the enterprise network and the opportunities lie there
Cat 8, the classification for the next generation of twisted-pair cabling specifications, is still in the development stage, but the outlook is quite positive that it will be specified to 2 GHz, four times today’s bandwidth of 500 MHz, promising a new copper speedway for DCs in the not-too-distant future. In the next 12 months discussions on standards will be intense, but most roll-outs, at least in DCs, will be on Cat 6a.
Another important consideration is how copper will fare over time. When the end user wants to have a lower cost DC, copper solutions continue to fit the bill. However, what will happen when DCs migrate to beyond 40 G? This might be the turning point where fiber will be crowned king.
DCIM and modular DCs
The amount of intelligence gathered within the DC is continuing to grow. Harnessing the power of predictive analytics through comprehensive software solutions such as DC infrastructure management (DCIM) will be critical in helping DC operators to optimize and plan any expansion of their current facility.
Modular DCs are one of the latest innovations that could see substantial growth in 2014. This solution offers the capability of rapid deployment featuring a standard design, tailored to the needs of the customer, within an efficient, modular structure. A substantial market for rapidly deployable DCs is developing in high-tech industries operating in remote areas. We expect demand in this market to continue to develop in 2014 and beyond.
KEVIN ST CYR SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS, COMMSCOPE