Top 5 Data Networking Best Practices

2 minute read

Editor's Note: Sirius and Forsythe are now one company. Sirius acquired Forsythe in October 2017 and we are pleased to share their exceptional thought leadership with you. 


Many data center managers think there’s only one way to build a data networking infrastructure. However, data networking systems aren’t one-size-fits-all. Factors such as cost, performance and your data center’s physical footprint all come into play.

Here are five data networking best practices that can help you migrate to new technology:

1. Create a migration strategy. Your strategy should ensure that your cabling supports you through multiple technology refreshes. Since cabling systems have a lifespan of 10–15 years, you want them to support you through two to three refreshes.

2. Select the network cabling architecture based on your capacity and cost requirements. You can choose from a variety of architectures (e.g., centralized, end of row, top of rack, etc.). Each one has pros and cons, so you must understand which will work best in your environment.

3. Make sure your cabling systems meet the high-density requirements of today’s networking hardware. Server and networking appliances are becoming denser to optimize the physical footprint of the data center, so your cabling systems should accommodate the increased density requirements, as well as allow for flexibility in the future.

4. Be flexible and scalable. Many subsystems co-exist within the data center such as security, out-of-band management, DCIM and lighting systems. Make sure your cabling system can accommodate all of these systems efficiently by using a standards-based structured cabling system.

5. Refer to industry standards and best practices for guidance. Your choices in data networking technologies can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to learn about your options before you make a purchasing decision. Groups such as the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) provide best practices. Data networking manufacturers offer resources that can help you build the data center facility of the future. 

Another key network architecture consideration is cabinets. Your cabinets are integral to your thermal management strategy, so you should have a good assessment of the critical loads you will support in the data center on a per cabinet basis. Can you support high-density loads? How well do your cabinets accommodate cable management? Can you easily scale your cabinets as your computing needs change?

A Word on Wireless

Wireless systems tie your sensors together and allow you to better manage your systems (e.g., power, cooling, etc.). However, many data center managers think wireless systems are unreliable and don’t provide enough bandwidth. Because most data center wireless systems support sensors, you don’t necessarily need high-capacity wireless systems. Multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technologies can also increase your wireless systems’ reliability.

When you create a migration strategy, you can ensure your infrastructure supports you through multiple technology refreshes.

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