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Sufian Dweik

ME data centers ‘need an on-demand approach’

Dubai, July 14, 2013

The data centers that Middle East organisations should deploy will require a new approach that includes a high degree of virtualization and the combination of physical and virtual infrastructure elements, said an industry expert.

They will also need an open standards based approach which will provide the flexibility to evolve as new technologies come into play, added Sufian Dweik, regional director, MEMA at Brocade Communications, a leader in networking solutions.

One such technology will no doubt be Software Defined Networking (SDN), said Dweik.

Brocade recently unveiled its 'On-Demand' Data Center strategy as a means to achieve scalability and elasticity, which are among the top criteria for evaluating the success of data center deployments.

Dweik lists the key ingredients of a future-proof data center network:

Fabric for the Future

At the heart of any data center is the physical networking infrastructure, one that provides the connectivity between applications, servers and storage.  However, not all networking infrastructures are equal, and for businesses that want to embrace a highly flexible and agile on-demand model, a fabric-based networking topology is required.

One that delivers a blueprint that unifies vital areas of the data center, from Fabrics to storage to physical and virtual infrastructure. A fabric-based network, both at the IP and storage layers, will simplify network design and management to address the growing complexity in IT and data centers today and deliver key features like logical chassis, distributed intelligence and automated port profile migration.

Fabric-based networks are more attuned to operate in a highly virtualized data centers to support techniques such as VM mobility within a fabric and across data centers, thereby providing the ideal hardware foundation for the on-demand data center.

Virtual Infrastructure

On top of the physical infrastructure will be a virtual or logical layer.  This is well-established in the server domain with hypervisor technology.  The same concepts are now being applied to both storage and IP networks with technologies such as overlay networks enabled through a variety of tunneling techniques.  Next we will see network services virtualized, thanks to the introduction of virtual switches and routers.

“NFV”, or Network Function Virtualization, represents an industry movement towards software or VM-based form factors for common data center services.  Customers want to realize the cost and flexibility advantages of software rather than continuing to deploy specialized, purpose-built devices for services such as application delivery controllers. This is especially the case in cloud architectures where these services want to be commissioned and decommissioned with mouse clicks rather than physical hardware installations and moves.  

Controllers

In addition to the physical and virtual/logical layer will be controllers (for the network, servers and data storage).  One such example is the network controller, which is implemented in software and tracks the status of the network and provides well-defined KPIs.  The complete architecture is built around applications that directly affect the underlying infrastructure and guarantees the best possible application uptime, performance and security.

Orchestration frameworks

Finally, the entire data center environment must be managed by orchestration frameworks that allow for the rapid and end-to-end provisioning of virtual data centers.  There are many approaches in the market, such as VMware vCloud Director and the OpenStack community.  OpenStack, for example, allows customers to deploy network capacity and services in their cloud-based data centers far quicker than with legacy network architectures and provisioning tools.

The data center of the future will therefore be a combination of the most valuable aspects of the physical and virtual layers.  Such a data center will give organizations the ability to flexibly deploy data center capacity - compute, networking, storage and services - in real-time, whenever and wherever they need it, said Dweik. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Data center | Brocade | SDN |

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