Data Center Network Speed
Today, there is more data and larger data than anytime before in history – and it is only increasing. Larger size and volume of data means normal operations may suddenly become much slower. To meet those growing demands, data centers are striving to get faster with innovative technologies that are strategically implemented to offer faster network speeds and easy and flexible scalability as bandwidth demands shift moment by moment.
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is taking over, there are billions of connected devices, data transmissions are larger and more frequent than ever before, and we rely on it for the majority of daily life. The higher the bandwidth, the more data centers are at risk of slow network speeds or worse…downtime. The IoT is not decreasing. Rather, IoT is rapidly increasing. And thus, data centers are working to improve network speed to meet the demands of today and the future.
Has Your Data Center Began to Expand It’s Network Speed Capabilities? If Not – Start!
It is well known that data center scalability is critical. Not only must infrastructure be able to scale to meet shifting demands, but the network must be easily and rapidly scaled to meet data demands or data transmissions will begin to slow and ultimately it may overload server capacity, leading to downtime.
This is not a scare-tactic or sensationalist piece, data center networks must increase speed or be left in the dust, as Data Center Knowledge points out, “Data center networks have gone from 1 Gigabit Ethernet links out of a server rack just under a decade ago to 100GbE today and 400GbE already around the corner. ‘That’s a tremendous increase in the capacity of network, far outstripping the densification of any other component in the data center,’ he continued…At Facebook, which has been more open than other hyperscalers about its data center technologies, 100 Gigabit Ethernet in the data center is now commonplace, and the company’s engineers are already preparing for a 400GbE future. Enterprise data center networks aren’t far behind. As our contributor Mary Branscombe reported, the transition to 100GbE this year went ‘from a steady march to a jog.’ By August 2018, 100GbE port shipments were already double what they were in 2017, according to Dell’Oro Group…A lot of the network capacity progress is driven by scale, and scale drives the need to automate – another area where hyperscale platforms have been trailblazing. Some of that innovation, through vendors and open source communities, is now finding home in enterprise data centers.”
The Role of the Cloud in Data Center Network Speed
As more and more industries, including the data center industry, embrace the cloud, both public and private, data center network speeds must increase. TechTarget offers an interesting insight into the increasing bandwidth demands on the WAN and how data centers must react to these changes to maximize network speeds, “Cloud computing has a very profound impact on the wide area network. We’re moving into an era where this isn’t your father’s WAN anymore. The WAN at one time was used really just to distribute Internet traffic, a lot of things that most workers viewed as nice-to-have but not need-to-have. When we move to cloud computing, the WAN actually becomes in many ways the backplane of these virtual, cloud-based data centers. The data center, for one, is becoming much more distributed. IT assets in the data center were known as either hardware or software — so you had server storage devices, apps and OSes. These are becoming virtualized, and the concept of managing these moves away from the hardware and software aspects themselves and becomes virtual workloads, such as storage, app development, or data analysis. The workload itself is what becomes virtualized and housed in the cloud. Once those workloads become virtualized, you can put them on the move. You are able to take that workload and move it from my data center to a cloud provider to another cloud provider. You might want to do that based on business policy or time of day. So, for instance, you might want to have your billing application, which would be used in the last few days of a month to send bills out to people, move to a very high-performance cloud-based server for two days in a month — and then move away from that because then it goes unused. You can see that once we start moving these virtual workloads all around our network, it’s going to put a lot of extra demands on the WAN that weren’t there before. Companies need to understand where these demands are coming from, how to manage them and how to adapt them for cloud computing.”
How Are Data Center Networks Managing Increased Bandwidth Demands?
Robert Metcalfe created Metcalfe’s Law which states that Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. This means that as the number of users a network has the more valuable the network is to the users making it necessary for a network to be able to support a rapidly increasing bandwidth.
To meet the bandwidth demands, many data centers are upgrading their ethernet cables. Network World explains Ethernet trends in data centers networks, “IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch Tracker” said the Ethernet switch market grew 10.9 percent in 1Q18 – a strong uptick from the 3.5-percent growth recorded year-over-year between 1Q16 and 1Q17. The quarter’s growth also outpaced the full year 2017 growth of 5.5 percent. ‘There are two macro trends that contributed to growth,’ wrote Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure at IDC in the report. ‘The emergence of next-generation software-based network-intelligence platforms that add to the intrinsic value of networking, and the push by large enterprises, hyperscalers and service providers to leverage faster Ethernet switching speeds for cloud rollouts’…Hyperscalers certainly drove the market early-on but large enterprises are increasingly looking at that technology for the increased speed, price/performance it brings.”
Data Center Network Speeds are Getting Faster
One would think that, with all of this increased bandwidth demand on the data center network, that data center network speed would be diminished. Fortunately, assuming a data center is making continual efforts in optimizing technology, infrastructure and network connections, data center network speeds are increasing. Most data centers are thinking about the future and how rapidly data size and transmission is increasing but unless they are making efforts to implement the technology and strategy to manage the increase that we could be seeing 3-5 years from now, they may be behind already! By implementing those changes now, data centers are enjoying faster network speeds now with ease-of-adaptability in the future.