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Moving Toward SAN-LAN Convergence

san lanData center convergence has been a hot-button issue for IT for some time now. Today’s end-users demand faster speeds, more storage space, and you need to provide it all under budget and ahead of schedule. Convergence and related technologies – such as virtualization and cloud computing – have helped IT keep pace with user demands.

One area that’s often been overlooked in this area has to do with SAN and LAN convergence. If you’d done any recent upgrades to switches on either side, chances are pretty good you’ve got built-in convergence functionality that you may not have even known you had.

An easy boon

SAN-LAN convergence gives you an immediate boon: lower switch cost. If you can cut your switch count by a third – which isn’t unreasonable at all, with many organizations seeing much more sizable reductions – you reduce your maintenance, power, cooling, and management costs all in one fell swoop.

On top of that, SAN-LAN convergence reduces cable count. A typical server can have as many as a dozen cables running out of the back of it, accounting for LANs, SANs, redundancies, and more. You can cut the cable count and thereby reduce some of the time and headache involved in data center cable management.

Overcoming obstacles

To make truly effective use of a SAN-LAN convergence plan, you need to have a realistic picture of where you’re at. More than that, however, you need to have some idea about your data center’s needs over the next five years. Any convergence solution should last at least that long, or it’s typically not going to be worth it. If you don’t plan ahead for growth or other obstacles, you can wind up rebuying gear when you could have just had the right gear in the first place.

Key strategies

Beyond that, however, there are some key strategies you’ll want to keep in mind:

•    Stakeholder buy-in is key. This is true in both SAN-LAN convergence as well as IT in general.

•    Make use of internal resources. If you’re already doing virtualization for servers, bring the virtualization team in on this project.

•    Consider a phased approach. By implementing in phases, you can make the most effective use of resources.

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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.