Data center network convergence? Not yet, but worth the conversation

At the Interop New York 2010 conference, data center network convergence strategies will be discussed, but users aren't yet ready to invest or even choose which data center network convergence strategy they believe in.

At the Interop New York 2010 conference, data center network convergence strategies will be discussed.

Converged storage and data center networks may be all the rage … in conversation. But many network managers will wait out making this costly move.

"You say it's cheaper to do one network. That makes sense to somebody in marketing, but does it really save money? A lot of times, new technologies are so pricey that in the first year or two, there's no real savings," says networking industry analyst Jim Metzler, chair of the Interop New York networking conference track.

What's more, while vendors tout Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) wares, data center and networking pros are still considering other tactics, including sticking to iSCSI and even trying Infiniband over Ethernet.

So when will data center managers be forced to make the data center network convergence move?

"If you start to virtualize your server environment, then it forces you start thinking about connectivity and I/O, and then disk and memory," said Forrester Research analyst Doug Washburn, chair of the Interop data center track. "That is probably the best way to start framing your progression toward a converged infrastructure"

At this point, while 99% of companies will say they are doing some sort of virtualization, most have yet to move into the kind of aggressive virtualization and private cloud deployment that will demand convergence.

NEXT: If it takes investing in the cloud to push the network convergence issue, then …

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This was first published in October 2010

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