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What role does the network have in the future data center?

The future data center will be driven by the network. Learn how technologies such as iSCSI and virtualization will provide additional opportunities for network service providers as they drive the creation of future data centers.

What role does the network have in the future data center?

With technologies like iSCSI, you now bring a whole new degree of central connectivity to a network, whereas you once had drive cables, network cables and so on, so having a solid Ethernet or 10-Gigabit-based network is critical. It allows for redundancy: you can have your drives located on the LAN, complete with failover mechanisms. You can now abstract where all your hard drives are and where your primary storages can be located on the network, either on the LAN or even on the WAN, depending upon what you're trying to accomplish.

The network is just going to be more important to the future data center than ever. You need to make sure that security's set up properly, making sure all the practices in terms of subnetting the networks, setting up your broadcast domain and setting up your topology are done correctly. It's very important that the network is built up properly.

The growth of virtualization is really going to fuel the importance of the network to the future data center because now virtualization abstracts everything, including storage and other devices and other connectivity media, which can be abstracted over Ethernet. We have one customer that uses virtualization, and if a switch goes down, it's essentially like unplugging the hard drive.

This was last published in March 2008

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