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The Key to the New Data Center

The Web Tier is in big need of a serious overhaul. The promise of the New Data Center’ has been compromised by the sheer limitation of the many Layer 4-7 products that have proliferated recently. These include load balancers, compression devices, SSL devices, and cache boxes. Many started out as switching devices and evolved into “one-trick ponies,” creating a complex device environment at the most critical part of the network. The resulting complexity has fostered performance problems whilst at the same time increasing security risks.

Put simply, the Web Tier, the part of the network through which all our data passes, is simply not up to the task of supporting the ‘New Data Center.’ In its present form, it cannot support what I call the five ‘pillars’ of best practice upon which any successful data center will rest in future.

These are: performance, infrastructure scaleability, flexibility, security and finally, management and application availability. For example, performance problems could stand in the way of actually getting employees to use new systems. And without effective security, new initiatives could raise expectations whilst simply exacerbating all the old the risks.

So, as I said, the Web Tier is in need of a dramatic overhaul. If you’re not careful, you could end up with what Mark Hoover, the founder of consulting firm Acuitive, Inc., calls "brain freeze" -- the point where IT decision makers are stuck analyzing a range of complex technologies and devices. This means that until the device environment is drastically simplified, enterprises will be hesitant to embrace another new device.

The good news is that consolidation is already underway to remove some of the pain of dealing with a wide range of technologies. Leading analysts are saying that the multitude of Layer 4-7 point products which have proliferated in recent years are fast being consolidated into rich, multifunctional platforms that can address every requirement.

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