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.

More ser­vices

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.

Cat stan­dards

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.


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