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5 Ways to Prime the Data Center Network for Virtualization

Virtualization isn’t something you can just jump into, guns blazing; here are some steps you need to take

Virtualization isn’t just an option anymore for the data center: it’s a necessity. There just isn’t enough rack space, enough cooling power or enough money in the electricity budget to push a new server into production every time a business unit decides it needs additional functionality. Perhaps most importantly, there just isn’t enough network infrastructure to support that kind of ad hoc addition.

Yet, virtualization isn’t something you can just jump into, guns blazing. This is perhaps even more true for the data center network than it is for applications and servers. You need to rethink the data center network from an architectural perspective.

Here are some steps you need to take in order to make your data center network ready for virtualization:

1.    Limit the number of physical networks in the data center. Ideally, that number will be just one. Converge your Ethernet networks into a single physical network, and utilize technologies like Data Center Bridging and VLANs to prioritize and separate your traffic. If you are implementing 10 Gigabit Ethernet, converge your storage traffic on the Ethernet network, as well.

2.    Flatten it out. You don’t need three layers of switching anymore. You can greatly reduce the number of network pieces to manage, reduce complexity, and improve performance all at once.

3.    Move away from tree architecture to fabric architecture. Treat your separate physical network elements like a single distributed switch. This lets you manage the way they interact with dynamic resource pools.

4.    Work toward a single management point. Move toward an architecture that manages both virtual and physical networks as a single task from the automation perspective.

5.    Get ready for Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregation. The 802.1 Qbg standard is on its way to a data center near you. This standard will enhance the way that the network interacts with virtual servers. The virtual switch actually becomes a pass-through device, reducing the management overhead.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.

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