10 Gigabit Ethernet tutorial: Connecting data centers, storage, LAN and beyond

As IT teams build 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks, they'll have to choose the right 10 Gigabit Ethernet cabling and components in order to ensure data center optimization and prevent latency in the network. They''ll also need to be sure their networks are ready to grow.

There is no question that networking engineers are building 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks as they are pressed to support storage, the data center and the LAN with one solution. But IT teams have lots of choices to make when it comes to everything from basic cabling to network components in order to design and manage the data center and its connections.

 10 Gigabit Ethernet refresher

FastFacts: Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet overview

Expert answer: What are 10 Gigabit Ethernet's advantages?

Q&A: Cisco's 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Workshop: Upgrading to 10 GbE in the data center

 

In this SearchNetworking.com Guide, learn how choosing the right cabling can affect 10 Gigabit Ethernet distance, speed and overall performance. Also, see how 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks can result in data center optimization by introducing flexibility and preventing latency. Finally, learn how upcoming 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocols will address the challenge of packet loss and enable more effective traffic prioritization in the network.

This 10 Gigabit Ethernet tutorial, written by frequent contributor David Jacobs, includes the following tips:

10 Gigabit Ethernet interconnect solutions: Investigate carefully before choosing

In any 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) data center, IT teams must decide among optical fiber, copper or twisted pair to support their networking equipment. Solutions vary by maximum interconnect distance, power and heat, signal latency, reliability, and adaptability to future requirements. For each option, there are advantages and drawbacks. Making the choice often boils down to weighing the challenges of each solution against the specific needs of your network and data center. Ultimately, understanding all of the options is central to making the right decisions for your network.

 Learn about 10 Gigabit Ethernet interconnect options.

 

Data center resources
Building your data center's network infrastructure

Considerations for power and cooling in data center networks

How to monitor and manage your data center

 

Data center optimization with 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Networking and data center teams are charged with the task of creating one network that can support the LAN, server-to-server communications, and server-to-storage area networks (SANs) or network attached storage (NAS) and can connect to the wide-area network. 10 GbE has finally evolved to become a viable solution -- at least for now. Learn how 10 Gigabit networks can reduce cost and introduce flexibility in the data center and storage while taking on the processing load and preventing latency throughout the network.

 Read how 10 Gigabit Ethernet enables data center optimization.

Will new 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocols improve performance?

Price, performance and flexibility have made 10 GbE an attractive choice for the data center. While 10 GbE has made inroads, lack of features in existing Ethernet protocols limits its further penetration. The critical issue with Ethernet is that it does not guarantee that packets will not be lost when a switch or end node is momentarily overwhelmed by incoming packets.

The IEEE and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) are currently at work developing protocols that will improve network efficiency and eliminate packet loss. Their work is considered critical to ensuring the performance of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Internet SCSI (iSCSI).

 Learn about how new 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocols can improve network performance.

 

Further reading: Want to stay up-to-date on 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology? Visit or bookmark SearchNetworking.com's 10 Gigabit Ethernet topic page.

About the author:
David B. Jacobs of The Jacobs Group has more than 20 years of networking industry experience. He has managed leading-edge software development projects and consulted to Fortune 500 companies, as well as software startups.

This was first published in August 2009

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