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Interop Preview: Networking Rules The Dynamic Data Center

Networking is about to become the darling of the data center, and there are plenty of reasons why. IT initiatives such as cloud computing, data center consolidation, green computing, virtualization, and unified communications all rely on a network that delivers smart, reliable, and agile services.

Your network in a few years won't be the static infrastructure it is today. This year's Interop will showcase a number of conference sessions to get you up to speed on new strategies in networking, data center design, and operations. Vendors will be announcing and demonstrating the latest products for network management, orchestration, and connectivity.

Propelled by virtualization and cloud computing, IT should be less concerned with running the network as a service and more concerned with delivering applications to end users and customers. John McAdams, CEO of F5 Networks and Wednesday's keynote speaker said, "Done right, IT drives your business' competitive advantage. IT infrastructure should allow you to instigate disruptive changes in your markets by affecting the speed, the cost, and the scale of innovation itself."

Tuesday's "A Comparison Of WAN Optimization Controllers" session and Wednesday's "How Networks Can Assist Application Delivery" should provide insights into how you can turn these technologies and strategies into disruptive changes for your business.

Some of the biggest networking challenges over the next two to three years will manifest in the data center. Data center consolidation and virtualization are radically altering the data center because more computing power is being squeezed into less space.

Dave Stevens, CTO of Brocade, summed it up: "Data center consolidation has a cascading effect into higher-density racks which will require a higher concentration of faster network ports -- 1-GB switch ports will be replaced by 10-GB switch ports."

The increased port density is leading to a wave of top-of-rack and end-of-row switches that will be announced at Interop. These switches offer a high volume of 1-Gb and 10-Gb ports and high-bandwidth uplinks to the end-of-row or central switch. Many of the new switches have features built in to support virtualization such as integration with VMWare's management server.

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