In today's environment, businesses are looking to create innovative business models that leverage service collaboration across company and global boundaries. Enterprises are investing in an information technology (IT) infrastructure that allows the rapid creation of business processes that are composed from a combination of existing and new services. This approach to aligning IT with business objectives is known as "Services Oriented Architecture" (SOA). An SOA lets customers build, deploy, and integrate services independent of applications and the computing platforms on which they run.
Customers want the ability to execute SOA-based business processes instead of tracking low level, operational elements. In other words, simplification requires seamless links between the management of business processes and the management of the underlying system, storage and network resources used to run those processes.
However, as shown in Figure 1, several studies over the past few years have found that enterprises are spending too much to manage the operational aspects of the complex environments they have deployed over time.
1. IT Spending Outlook.
As shown in Figure 2, customers want to reduce IT costs through a combination of increased management automation and infrastructure simplification based on industry standard components.
2. Top IT Requirements.
This article describes how a new industry initiative, Convergence Enhanced Ethernet (CEE, pronounced "see"), enables new data center simplification options. These new options will be compared with existing fabric convergence approaches, including management automation implications. From this comparison, we will conclude with our view of how these convergence approaches will play in various market segments.
Fabric Convergence Levels
As shown in Figure 3, there are several fabric convergence levels that customers can pursue: none, converged fabric (management), and converged links.
3. Fabric Convergence Levels
The "no convergence" level uses dedicated fabrics to meet storage, LAN, and inter-process communication (IPC) requirements. The type of fabric, such as Fibre Channel (FC), Ethernet or InfiniBand (IB), is typically chosen based on the degree to which it meets the requirements of a specific fabric type. For example, the IPC fabric may be chosen based on its low latency and high bandwidth attributes. "No convergence" requires each fabric to use its own set of components, adapters, cables, switches and fabric management. That is, it requires up to 3 (4 if a dedicated server management fabric is used) times the number of components and up to 3 different fabric management solutions.