In today's IT world, we're experiencing a new age of transformation for Data Centers. Companies and individuals alike are looking to utilize Cloud technologies and abilities, such as SDx, 5G, containers, automation, DevOps, mobility, versatility, and so forth. As our Data Centers evolve, the question that remains is what, exactly, will happen to the Data Centers we have today? Will they be transformed into piles of metal and rubbish?
Fortunately, we have a lot of intelligent and innovative people out there exploring the ways we can interconnect aged technology with brand new technology.
In 2001, virtualization became a reality, thanks to VMware which gave us the ability to run computer operating systems virtually, reducing the hardware layer. It is now possible to virtualize an OS, or two or three, into only one, bare metal server. At the time, it was an amazing discovery and it has since proven itself a fantastic development. As this practice continued to become commonplace and Data Center technology expanded, significant growth was seen across the industry.
These virtualization methods helped companies move towards establishing a more cost-efficient Data Center, reducing costs by saving physical space and not causing harm to the environment. Efficient deployments made all of this possible. It was a serious game changer for Data Center companies, as well as large corporations running their own Data Center.
Virtualization was the first big step taken into the new age of Data Centers. I call this time DCv2.
Technology Moves at High Speed
Nowadays, applications require more and more speed as users demand high-speed internet connections. This is pushing the market to invest in new, high-speed interfaces, such as Multigig which is used in WiFi6, 100Gb, 200Gb, and 400Gb interfaces and optics.
As we all know, time is money and everyone is looking to become more efficient in every possible way. Users don't want to waste time waiting for an application to load or update. They want it immediately. High-speed interfaces and technologies will help companies maintain the quick response users and customers want from their content providers.
When choosing new hardware, look into the interface speeds. Make sure it's possible to update to new standards when the time comes. This will support you best during your company's growth and will help you as traffic increases.
Using technologies such as IPv6, VxLAN, micro-segmentation, automation, and SDx, allows Data Center engineers to focus more on real improvements, giving it the time it deserves. Engineers are able to avoid tasks that easily lead to mistakes, often due to scripting for long periods of time.
New Data Centers also provide integration with cloud computing, massive virtualization, and the ability to receive remote access. This isn't about just the new technologies anymore. It's also about new cultures, new frameworks, and the way the world is changing, requiring new information every day.
Keeping Up With Users' Needs
Adapting an existing Data Center to utilize new technologies will accelerate the delivery of updated applications and services. It will also improve the end-to-end customer experience, achieving the well known "anytime, anywhere" on-demand access, currently enjoyed by social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
To become more competitive in the market, companies are using Platform as a Service (PaaS), such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), such as Office 365 and Dropbox. Both options will provide you flexibility and can be used on-demand. As we already know, this is what most users want and appreciate in today's culture.
Data Centers are moving from Layer-2 and Layer-3 deployments to EVPN-VXLAN deployments. They're also moving from BMS to virtualization, which accelerates the way data is accessed and then sent to different services and platforms. They continue to become more and more efficient. However, it's not an easy task. It requires a lot of technical skills and time to redesign a new, modern Data Center. There is no doubt, though, that it's worth the price.
In order to deploy better architecture, use technologies such as Virtual Extensible VLAN (VXLAN), which helps fix issues with security and scalability. This creates an encapsulation of the Ethernet Frame, stretching the Layer 2 network over the virtual Layer 3 IP network. All traffic encapsulated by VXLAN also adds a VXLAN ID, which is a 24 bits identifier. This increases the address space of the VLANs from 4,096 segments up to 16.7M IDs available. And just like that, the scalability problem is solved.
Preparing for the Future
When preparing your Data Center for the future, it's important to be aware of a few critical points before moving on.
- Stay away from vendor lock-in. It will cause a lot of trouble if you can't connect two different vendors using the same protocol.
- Prepare your Data Center to scale. Be sure you're securing the investments you're making today, ensuring that you can expand your Data Center at any time down the road.
- Avoid mixing different infrastructures. It's better to have two different environments and interconnect them, instead of having only one mixed infrastructure.
- Act on your new Data Center mindset on automation. It will save you lots of time.
- Use technologies that enable you to use all paths available, such as ECMP.
Craft a strategy that can adapt to ever-present changes in technology. Multi-cloud computing, for example, uses a mix of Private and Public clouds to ensure data and privacy are well secured and in the right place. It also provides customers with easy, fast access to your application.
Prepare for the next chapter of the Digital Future. Many network vendors are consistently providing brand new technologies in order to make the evolution of Data Centers a seamless process. Keep your eyes open for new standards. Watch what's happening in the world of Open Source. Seek out long-term solutions. This all makes the Data Center transformation easier.
In summary, focus on the five items listed above and you'll be able to redesign your old Data Center and transform it into a real beast. It will be ready for any challenge that comes short-term and enable you to provide better service to your customers.
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