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Campus Networks

8 Scalability Questions to Answer When Building the Network of Tomorrow, Today

by Rick Freedman on ‎03-31-2015 09:01 AM (10,932 Views)

A recent Gartner survey shows that 75% of data center professionals are expected to adopt Software Defined Networks (SDN) within the next five years, though only 7% already have SDN in use today. That’s consistent with the customers I talk to who have an eye to the future, but aren’t ready for these new technologies… yet. They know it’s coming and want to be prepared for the New IP. Their priority is building a network infrastructure that meets their needs today that can meet rapidly growing demands for wireless access, video, VDI and other network services that are taxing their legacy networks.


Most customers are looking, and hoping, that their infrastructure investments will last 5-7 years. And, in many cases 7-10 years. As they examine their options, they’re also very cognizant of the fact that these demands will continue to increase. So, while customers examine their options they have consider what they will need in the future, as well as how they will be able to take advantage of new technologies as they become available.


Every network vendor offers solutions that scale – at least on some level. However, customers understand that “scale” doesn’t just mean increasing capacity. Unfortunately, they don’t know with absolute certainty how they will need to scale their networks in the future. In order to truly future-proof their networks, they need to recognize and be prepared for all the dimensions for scalability.


Consider just a few dimensions of network scalability:

  1. More users and more ports: How easy is it to add more ports and more switches to your network?
  2. Higher overall network capacity: Independent of growth in terms of network size, total capacity, or bandwidth, continues to grow. The advancements in wireless, such as 802.11AC (Wave 1 and Wave 2) and increasing use of video means more data over the network. Can existing network equipment support more traffic without oversubscription?
  3. Higher network speeds: Supporting growing requirements sometimes requires higher data speeds. Can your existing equipment be upgraded from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps, or to 40 Gbps?
  4. Advanced network services (e.g. advanced Layer 3 services). New network functionality can require new network services and protocols. Do you need to purchase everything today you might possibly need in the future? Or, can your network equipment be upgraded, such as adding advanced Layer 3 services?
  5. More power: PoE, PoE+ and PoH for devices such as VoIP phones, wireless access points (802.11 AC Wave 1 and Wave 2), surveillance cameras, video displays, etc. What if the need for power-over-Ethernet increases beyond what’s already planned? How difficult will be to add more PoE ports? Or upgrade to PoE+ or PoH?
  6. Advanced networking technologies: It’s difficult to predict advances in technologies. We don’t know what they are, but you can be assured that there will be new features, new standards and new advancements in the coming years. Will you be able to integrate those into your network? Will your network be compatible with hardware or software from other vendors?
  7. Take advantage of software networking innovations: Is your network ready for SDN? Or will you need to replace your network hardware, or at least re-configure your network before you can begin down that path?
  8. Increasing complexity of managing all of the above: How do all of these change, this growth, this scalability affect the complexity of your network management challenge? Can your IT team handle all this without having to scale your staff as well?

Can your network vendor help you build the network of the future today? Can your network grow with your requirements without having to rip-and-replace?


That’s the objective of the Brocade HyperEdge Architecture. We’re building networks of today while helping customers be prepared for the future. From whatever dimension that might come. Check out our Campus Network solutions. And stay tuned for some exciting advancements that take this to the next level on the road to the New IP.

by mhong
on ‎03-31-2015 10:52 AM

Thanks Rick. Great post!