Sunday, March 15, 2009

Unified Infrastructure is worth a look

Enterprises need to start planning for life after this recession (whenever that is). Part of that plan should focus on an in-depth assessment of the physical architecture of their data center. Virtualization has created a problem: Data center architects need more connectivity into virtualized servers because they're used for multiple purposes. A non-virtualized environment has each server running one or just a few applications, which results in limited and static connectivity needs.

Today the problem is manageable through bursts of intense effort. This will not be a successful strategy when data centers begin to grow again. A Unified Infrastructure strategy will help IT professionals begin to simplify their data centers, at least at the physical level. The goal of a Unified Infrastructure is to run storage and IP traffic through a unified network interface and a single cable. (see graphic) It's easy to see the benefits just in terms of reducing the amount of cabling required to provision a data center of any size. Of course, a non-trivial investment is required in order to migrate to this new infrastructure. Therefore, I don't recommend making this move just yet. But I strongly recommend that IT organizations begin researching this technology over the next six months. The physical simplification is just the beginning, and it will help firms leverage their technology assets more effectively than is currently possible.

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