Going Green (with Envy) at the New Campus with a High-Performance Brocade Network

by Tim.Graumann on ‎05-25-2010 07:20 AM (581 Views)

There’s an old saying: People may doubt what you say, but they’ll believe what you do. I was reminded of that the other day during a walk-through at our new San Jose campus.

We said we would design and deliver a next-generation network platform capable of supporting the company’s business needs now and into the future. We also said we’d use the project as our opportunity to retire outdated legacy systems, consolidate network platforms and introduce technology solutions that were both eco-friendly and people-friendly. As we near the completion of this 24-month project, I can say without reservation that we’ve achieved all of that and more.

The same Brocade IP network technology that’s been helping us to limit downtime during our data migrations to the new campus will now provide secure, uninterrupted, high-speed connectivity across the campus. So what might we do with 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) to the desktop, 10 GbE in the data center core and 1 GbE to the WAN and Internet?


From day one, this high-performance network will help us ensure rich multimedia content delivery by supporting a variety of bandwidth-hungry applications and services. That includes voice communications based on VoIP and videoconferencing using traditional H.320 and Web services.


As we look ahead, the core and edge network infrastructure will deliver the bandwidth Brocade needs for future applications like Fixed Mobile Convergence and Unified Communications, including video to the desktop using Microsoft Office Communicator and high-definition Webcams such as Microsoft LifeCam Cinema.


When it’s completed next month, the next-generation wireless LAN we’ve designed will turn the entire facility into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Because of “always-on” access to business applications, our employees will be able to maximize their productivity, regardless of their location on campus. They will be connected whether they’re working at their desks, hosting multi-site video conferences, or simply moving between buildings.


Another example of how we intend to use our high-bandwidth Brocade IP network to enhance operations is the new fleet of Sharp multi-function peripherals (MFPs), which can print, scan, fax and copy documents. These state-of-the-art peripherals replace myriad workgroup and desktop devices that used too much energy and were expensive to maintain.


The new MFPs enable users to print to a single queue held on a central server in the data center (no more printer selection!), and then walk up to any MFP within the three building campus, swipe their employee badge and release their print job. The multi-10 GbE core-to-intermediate distribution frame (IDF) uplinks enable the fast routing of the print job from the server to the MFP where the user is located.


This means that documents are physically printed only when an employee is at the MFP. As a result, there will be no more waste caused by unclaimed printouts left at the print stations, and persons who previously needed desktop printers due to security concerns can now use the same MFPs as everyone else. Best of all, while this new approach improves the employee experience, it also improves productivity, reduces waste and lowers operating costs. It’s another great example of how doing the right thing from a business perspective is also the right thing to do from a people and environmental perspective.


Individually, these changes may not seem like much, but taken together they will give us the tools to work smarter and more efficiently. As always, thank you for your continued interest in my blog and in IT’s contributions at the new Bay Area campus. We haven’t crossed the finish line, but we’re definitely in the home stretch.