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Blade.org Advises Blade Platforms Are Ready for Network Convergence in Next-Generation Data Centers
Data centers are in for sweeping changes in the next five years, especially as the multitude of networks that compose the modern business begin to converge into a single digital thoroughfare. This according to a whitepaper released today by Blade.org, the industry consortium driving innovation in blade-based solutions.

The paper, titled "Blade Platforms and Network Convergence," explains the relevance and benefits of network convergence in blade computing environments, and advises enterprise data centers on how best to converge networking and storage fabrics using blade platforms equipped with advanced "single-wire" technologies, such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI -- as well as InfiniBand for specialized high performance computing (HPC) environments.

The full paper can be downloaded at: http://www.blade.org/tech_network_convergence.cfm

"Through Blade.org, the vendor community has come together to advise enterprise data centers that network convergence using advanced technologies such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE is ready in 2009 for serious evaluation and deployment across a single-wire network in 2010," said Brent Mosbrook, Senior Product Manager for Emulex Corporation and member of Blade.org's Solutions Architecture Committee. "Blade computing platforms provide numerous advantages because of their modular design, simplified management and greater integration of storage and data networking components. Now, organizations can achieve a higher level of consolidation by converging their networking and storage fabrics. A converged network can simplify the network infrastructure and lower the operational costs by reducing the number of ports and adapters within the blade chassis -- thus furthering the consolidation initiated by blades."

Contributions for Blade.org's vendor-neutral technology paper were provided by Blade.org members including Astute Networks, BLADE Network Technologies, Brocade Communications, Emulex, Fulcrum Microsytems, IBM, Mellanox Technologies, NetApp and NetXen. Blade.org's collaborative guidance to enterprises that are evaluating network convergence includes:

  • Blade platforms optimize network connectivity by aggregating network ports thus significantly reducing the number of cables for network connectivity.
  • Use of multiple networks for different traffic types increases number of adapters, switch ports per blade chassis and decreases operational efficiency.
  • Ethernet, the predominant networking technology in the enterprise, provides the ideal foundation for wide-scale network convergence. 
  • Powered by recent enhancements, convergence over 10 Gigabit Ethernet provides several advantages including simplified infrastructure, reduced TCO, improved efficiency and business agility.
  • Though the technologies target different market segments, storage access using FCoE and iSCSI form the basis for wide-scale deployment of network convergence over Ethernet.
  • In high performance computing (HPC) environments, InfiniBand is well positioned to meet the segment's requirements and will continue to be a leading option for network convergence in edge-networks.
  • Network convergence fully complements the consolidation benefits achieved by blade deployments and facilitates data centers to support dynamic allocation of end-to-end resources.
       

At the Blade.org Technology Symposium in June, Blade.org introduced the key "Mega-Trend" innovations its members believe will influence how organizations transform their data centers in the future. These mega-trends include converged networks. For example, IBM and other Blade.org members are working with the IEEE organization to develop Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) standards that will provide a platform for companies to converge multiple networks into one and enable the delivery of standard-compliant products to the industry beginning in 2009.

Published Thursday, December 18, 2008 6:23 AM by David Marshall
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