As part of our ongoing efforts to open up this blog to wider debate and opinion from partners, we are delighted to introduce this guest post, examining why flatter networks matter, from Bill Hurley, Chief Technology Officer at Westcon Group.
"Last year, the conversation was all about vendors achieving faster and faster networking…That is, faster at the core with more efficient networking at the campus edge. High performance connectivity to the network continues to be driven by the opportunities created by Moore’s law. Between 2000 and 2010, we saw port speeds increase from 1 GB to 40 GB – and it can be assumed we’ll hit 100 GB by 2018.
Certainly, you can look at this increase driven by the CPU – which is directly driven by Moore’s law. (RE: the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years). Or we can look down the road at what business-driven trends will really drive us to 100GB in the near term. In essence, there are three things at play: Virtualization, Cloud, and BYOD.
No doubt the maturation of server virtualization has impacted the market. Whether it’s vendor-driven or vendors reacting is irrelevant. The fact is vendors are increasingly implementing faster speed and greater functionality to enable more deployments of virtualization. It’s all about cost and IT agility. The flat network enables organizations to achieve their cost objectives without sacrificing uptime.
There are two relevant points regarding the flat network and the cloud: First, for the cloud provider, what’s important is spinning more virtual servers (agility), while remaining cost effective. For the cloud consumer, what’s key is the potential for integration.
While vendors add greater intelligence to the network, this intelligence opens the door for dynamic cloud provisioning of resources – as required by the enterprise data center. But having the proper network in place to ensure provisioning and sustainability puts a strain on the flat network. This means vendors like Brocade will continue to improve dynamic provisioning capabilities.
When discussing network demand with BYOD, there are three important elements. First is the use of Network Access Control. It’s a natural starting point for every IT organization when confronted with the onslaught of mobile devices. Of course, each vendor has its own NAC capabilities, but for every installation, there’s an immediate opportunity to build an intelligent and robust BYOD environment that goes beyond shutting out devices. It also provides base-level intelligence to encourage the productivity reaped by embracing BYOD.
Second is Mobile Device Management. At first look, the demands from MDM are greater at the campus or edge network than the data center. But as organizations deploy new MDM management apps, this puts more demand on sessions and data access as well, thus more demands at the core and SAN.
Last is the acceleration of virtual desktops. As organizations roll-out desktop virtualization, demands on the flat network are significant. The Storage Area Network is now the focus, as it could potentially act as a bottleneck if architected incorrectly. Hundreds or even thousands of virtual desktops hitting the SAN at the same time require detailed Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) analysis. That may require close coordination with vendor partners such as Brocade to ensure configurations won’t choke each morning.
Of course there’s much more to discuss, which we might explore in a future post. Such things as Big Data and its demands on the flat network. But first let’s see the true business value of Big Data as it becomes more commonplace and understood. Then it may be appropriate to align Big Data and network demand.
The bottom line is that while Moore’s Law is certainly relevant…there is still so much more to discuss: Such as Virtualization, Cloud and BYOD. Perhaps these business drivers will become more important than Moore. You will have to be the judge on that as it impacts your organization."