Stephen Foskett

Network Computing Blogger

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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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How Will Thunderbolt Affect Enterprise Storage?

Last week, Intel and Apple dropped a bombshell on the consumer computer peripheral market. The new Thunderbolt port, a 10G bps interconnect found on Apple's latest MacBook Pro laptop computers, combines DisplayPort video and PCI Express and is opening a new world of expansion options. But how will this technology, formerly known as Light Peak, impact enterprise storage?

Essentially, Thunderbolt multiplexes two full-duplex PCI Express channels with DisplayPort video to expand the I/O capabilities of a computer. But Thunderbolt has some major points against it when it comes to enterprise storage use: It is fundamentally a personal computer interconnect, intended for docking stations, not data centers.

Although prototypes and future versions use compact fiber optic connectors (thus the "Light Peak" name), the production version of Thunderbolt uses electrical signals over a copper wire. That wire was a surprise: It rides along on Apple's Mini DisplayPort cabling spec, duplexing PCI Express data with digital video. Thunderbolt includes two full-duplex PCI Express channels, for a total of 40G bps of bi-directional throughput over a thin cable up to 3 meters in length.

Thunderbolt extends the host computer's PCI Express bus outside the physical chassis, allowing external devices to appear as though they are inside the case. Each peripheral will thus need its own Intel Thunderbolt de-multiplexer and PCI controller. Since Thunderbolt can flexibly manage the two included PCI Express channels, Intel promises high performance regardless of the other workloads sharing the connection.

In the future, we will likely see Thunderbolt hubs, optical repeaters and docking stations appear to increase the range and flexibility of this new I/O network.

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