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Data center networking efficiency

Data center networking has a number of different approaches, and is a big undertaking. Networking professionals who work in the data center know that data center networking efficiency is not an easy task.

In this video, technical editor Michael Brandenburg sits down with Doug Oathout to discuss a holistic approach to data center networking. Oathout discusses consolidation to extend the length of data center equipment, as well as strategies a networking professional can use to better utilize network capacity.

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

Data center networking efficiency

Michael Brandenburg: Hello. I am Michael Brandenburg, Technical Editor for Today we are here with Doug Oathout, Vice President of Converged Infrastructure for HP, to discuss data center networking.

You talk about holistic planning to lengthen the life of the data center. What does that mean, and what are some examples of this kind of planning?

Doug Oathout: Mike, it is very simple. When we talk about lengthening the life of a data center, what we really want to do is show customers how to use new technologies and new software to allow them to extend the life of the data center by replacing the infrastructure they got with modern infrastructure. An example would be: we can take 20 racks of server storage and networking that was built four or five years ago, we can take those racks out, we can put five or six new racks and new converged infrastructure, and do the same amount of work in the same environmental footprint, in the same power footprint. Basically, you can do a consolidation, three to one, four to one, very simply in a consolidated data center. By doing that, taking out racks and racks and consolidating them, we can extend the life of the data center from five, to seven, to ten years, depending on how much consolidation we can do. It is really about a systematic way to improve the efficiencies, remove the old stuff and put modern infrastructure in there to extend the life of the data center.

Michael Brandenburg: How does consolidation lengthen the life of the data center equipment?

Doug Oathout: Consolidation lengthens it by reducing the amount of power and cooling needed to support that particular workload. Let me give you an example: If I was to take an SAP environment, a three-tier ERP, I could take 10 or 12 servers, consolidated down to three or four; therefore, we have a three-to-one or four-to-one consolidation ratio, and I can do the same thing for storage. For the same application today, I can use a third of the equipment or a fourth of the equipment I would have needed 5 years ago, so therefore, I then get that capacity back to put new workloads in and allow the company or the business continue to grow within their current data center.

Michael Brandenburg: What strategies can you use to better utilize network capacity in the data center?

Doug Oathout: As you consolidate, you also want to virtualize a number of components: the servers, the storage, but also the I/O, which is the networking. When I virtualize the I/O and the networking, what I can do is put multiple languages across the same cable -- we call it Ethernet, Ethernet cable, we call it TCPIP, we call it Fiber Channel Over Ethernet, you call it iSCSI Over Ethernet. What you are doing is you are putting multiple languages or protocols across a single wire. Therefore, you are utilizing the network bandwidth to do multiple things at the same time, and therefore, the efficiency, instead of having multiple cables for that, you are putting four things across one wire. Therefore, the efficiency and the bandwidth of the network are required to support the application running on that server or that storage environment.

Michael Brandenburg: Thank you, Doug. I really appreciate your time today.

Doug Oathout: Mike, I am glad I could be here to help. Thank you.

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