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The Panel & The Cloud

The second edition turned out to be as good as the first. I am referring of course, to the CNS industry panel, which now that it's in print with a video edition pending, is officially a bi-annual even...


January 1, 2010  


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The second edition turned out to be as good as the first. I am referring of course, to the CNS industry panel, which now that it’s in print with a video edition pending, is officially a bi-annual event.

When we meet again in two years time, it will be interesting to see what impact cloud computing is having in the networking, structured cabling and telecom sectors. Todd Lemay, director of professional services at Bell Canada, talked about it at length at the well attended DatacenterDynamics conference in Toronto recently (see story p. 6). The bottom line? Both cloud and virtualization are becoming essential tools for addressing the biggest business demands of IT, particularly in the data centre space.

All roads lead to the data centre in one way or another. During the recent CNS panel, Eaton Power’s Joe Oreskovic remarked that data centre builds and power and cooling and infrastructure upgrades are on the rise despite the economy.

The upgrades, which certainly should kick-start the entire IT sector, will ultimately help to embellish the cloud phenomena. Panelist Bob Kostash, sales director, CommScope Solutions Canada Inc., defines cloud computing as a means for an organization to not having to make its own investment in either infrastructure, software or development platforms. Ultimately, what it will mean, he added, is more data centres, bigger data centres and faster data centres.

“There’s just so much going on in the data centre right now,” he said. “We’ve recently seen the ratification of the OM4 fiber standard, which is going to drive 40 Gig and potentially 100 Gig in both server connectivity and backbone connectivity inside the data centre over the coming years. In general, there will be much more fiber intensive architectures coming in future years with pre-terminated MPO-style assemblies and trunks that have not only the benefit of fiber bandwidth, but also the benefit of smaller footprint in terms of disrupting airflow and cooling in the data centre.”

All this activity, said Steve Lennox, managing director of Panduit Canada, will push the network to the limit.

In a research note released in late December, Camille Mendler, vice president of the Yankee Group’s Anywhere Enterprise research group, offered up a series of predictions for 2010, among them, “Ethernet will be everywhere” and the cloud’s hot air will expand.” .

“Ethernet is in the LAN, it’s in the WAN, it’s transforming mobile backhaul economics and it’s converging the data centre,” she wrote. “Fiber remains best, but clever vendors are delivering copper-bonded Ethernet in the first mile

“Resilient, liquid (and probably Ethernet-based) connectivity is going to save the outage-prone cloud.”

The cloud contracts are already starting to roll in. In December, Royal Philips Electronics, a world leader in the healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, and T-Systems, a subsidiary of Duetsche Telecom, signed a contract that revolved around global data centre and SAP infrastructure services.

T-Systems will provide services for Philips via a private cloud, the two stated in a release, which they define as a separate and secure network.

As of Jan. 1, Philips will receive “all the data centre services it requires -and only those services it requires– via the network and from T-Systems global data centres.

“This way, we can draw on resources dynamically, as necessary, while paying only for the computer and storage resources we actually use,” noted Maarten de Vries, chief information officer of Philips. “That will enhance our flexibility and lower our costs.”

Finally, in December, IBM Corp. announced that it has successfully built Korea’s first cloud computing environment for SK Telecom, the country’s largest telecommunications provider.