Op-Ed: Making intelligent data centres smarter for business

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Ravin Naidu | Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

As with most other technologies, data centres have to keep on evolving through the addition of new features and updates to meet increased user needs, ever-increasing capabilities of mobile devices and apps.

Moreover, this rapid pace of innovation has to keep on ticking while data centres have to become more efficient in terms of power, the office real estate that they consume, cooling and in terms of the value that they offer.

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For this to happen, corporate data centre infrastructures must evolve. Mobility, real-time applications and virtualisation have created new demands that outdated data centre architectures are simply not equipped to handle.

Automate your network

The next critical phase in network evolution is automation of the data centre network. Server virtualisation has enabled rapid application deployment and increased movement of applications between virtualised servers or data centres.

Traditional networks are not designed to handle this, causing poor application performance and latency as networks and administrators adapt to virtualised internal changes. Automation at the network control layer eliminates latency and optimises application delivery.

Data centre networks must be intelligent

Application Fluent Networks automatically react to the dynamic requirements of virtualised workloads, such as following virtual machine movement. Furthermore, quality of service (QoS) is automatically adjusted for application flows within the data centre and across the network, as a result of these data centres being application aware. Application Fluent Networking is basically the first stage of software defined networking (SDN).

SDN makes networks adaptable to applications, providing automation at the network level that parallels the automation and flexibility at the server level. SDN bridges the gap between application control and network control elements, optimising application delivery and performance across the entire data centre network and the converged campus LAN.

The smartest data centre solutions for organisations of all sizes

For larger enterprises, application fluency enables the corporate data centre to become a multi-site private cloud, by extending layer-2 connectivity between multiple data centre sites. Hybrid cloud models are also supported, so public cloud-based services can be seamlessly delivered on the corporate network.

Conversely, advanced mesh architecture allows top-of-rack switches to be directly connected together. This means small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from a full-featured fabric with built-in automated virtual machine mobility. The mesh is less complex, highly scalable and delivers unmatched performance at a fraction of the cost.

Once companies have an intelligent data centre in place, users will be able to access rich-media applications anytime, anywhere from smartphones, tablets as well as other devices. In addition, they will be empowered to be more productive and enabled to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers from anywhere, anytime, using the device type and platform of their choosing.

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