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How should you redesign your data center LAN?

Wide Area Networking Alert By Jim Metzler and Steve Taylor, Network World
May 04, 2011 12:01 AM ET
Jim Metzler
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Insightful analysis by consultants Steve Taylor and Jim Metzler, plus links to the latest WAN news headlines

The last few newsletters have discussed LAN design in general and data center LAN design in particular. This newsletter will discuss an RFI for data center LAN switching.

The RFI was created nine months ago in conjunction with Mike Fratto. It was based on Boston Scientific's current environment, constraints and goals. A copy of the RFI, referred to as Data Center LAN Switching Prototype/ Mock RFI is available at no charge.

Virtualization, cloud computing dominate Interop

Quiz: Can you identify the misfires, milestones and high jinks from Interops past?

The RFI was distributed to every major provider of data center LAN switching and most, but certainly not all, elected to respond. That RFI is going to be the basis of one of Jim's eleven sessions at the forthcoming Interop conference. The session is entitled How Should You Redesign Your Data Center LAN? and it will be held May 10 at 10:15 a.m. The panelists are from Juniper, Arista, Force10, HP and Extreme Networks.

Co-moderating the panel with me will be John Repucci. John is the infrastructure network architect at Boston Scientific. We will start by briefly reviewing the RFI so that the audience understands what information the vendors were given and what was asked of them. The rest of the session will be John and I asking the vendors about their responses. For example, how many layers were in the network they proposed and why? Did they recommend over-subscription of LAN links. If they did, what over-subscription ratio do they recommend? If they didn't, how do they justify the appearance of extra cost?

In addition to questions about the basic design, we are going to ask about specific technologies. This includes FCoE, lossless Ethernet and TRILL. John and I are looking to identify both where the industry currently stands and where it is likely to go in the near term. With that in mind, our questions will have three parts to them: what did you recommend nine months ago? How would that change if you were asked the same questions today? How would your answer likely change if you were asked the question a year from now?

If you are going to attend the Interop conference, this is definitely a "can't miss" session.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. Jim Metzler is vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates.

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