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Notes From Interop : Planning Your Future IT Infrastructure

Aug 30, 2008
Managing Data Centers

A typical data center or room full of servers should be built correctly and build to last for at least 7 to 10 years in order to be truly effective. These servers should have the capability of accommodating a minimum of ten GB (gigabits) of data. Still, with the growing demand on bandwidth, planning technology should prepare for a need of 100 GB to run efficiently. Another common concern is the need for cooling and power in the server room. For example, the IT staff at Google spends more on electricity for cooling their rooms every year than the cost of the servers within the data centers. Think about it.

Virtualization is another popular discussion topic. This term refers to hiding the characteristics of computing resources through encapsulation. This includes the process of making an individual physical resources appear to work like multiple logical resources. It can also include making many physical resources like storage devices or severs appear as a single resource. It's important to understand how virualization can help: although it can reduce the physical amount of servers, it doesn't mean that admin time to support them is also reduced. The costs of administration can truly hinder the entire process and the overall attempt to find a cost-saving strategy.

Services & Infrastructure

As with Data Center management, Infrastructure and Services' virtualization has benefits which deserve a look. However, the experts will highlight the reality that it can also generate far more work, especially in large environments.

The solutions from appliances are returning as they create reliable, simple services which require little overhead, making them suited for an environment in which administrative support fetches a premium. A key point on this topic is that Asset Management Network Administrators must be aware while maintaining good records of each piece of equipment - not just the servers and workstations. It's important to control this information for security and administrative purposes as well as lifecycle management and optimization.

Security

Many companies showed an interest in data security and compliance issues. The recommended advice seems to be 'Defense in Depth.' Perimeter defense systems which use Web Gateways and Unified Threat Management are available from a variety of companies and were discussed by several speakers. These systems monitored and blocked Web usage while defending against complex attacks using methods of prevention and detection. Network Access Control, or NAC, was a big hit at the conference. NAC disallows unauthorized access, either through wireless access points or the Ethernet. No security plan is complete without encryption. If a system is ever hacked and the info isn't encrypted, the industry will show no tolerance for having practiced this unsafe strategy.

Collaboration & VoIP

While most everyone will agree that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Collaboration technology are significant advantages to end users, the vendors and speakers both agree that there's no real 'one solution.' The client's needs need to match the features of the solution, no matter if it's an IP PBX system, hosted solution, or a combination of the two. Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWF) was also demonstrated. Even though many office locations are wi-fi connected, there are some complexities and solution to make VoIP work on the these networks as well.

Mobility & Wireless

Many speakers and vendors discussed the access methods to gain corporate data from a mobile phone. Security methods including encryption, SSL, and others ensure that the data which flows between the wireless system and the headquarters is secure while in transit. In fact, nearly all companies are headed toward a more mobile workforce. This is not just the executive staff any longer, as there are more people telecommuters, field personnel and sales representatives who need to access information while away from the headquarters building in order to do their jobs well. The final point on Mobility and Wireless revolved around wireless access point placement architecture, particularly for campus locations. With the need for bandwidth and technological advances, there will be radical changes in the ways these networks are set up.
About the Author
Nick Pegley is VP Marketing for All Covered: Technology Services Partner for Small Business, providing local disaster recovery consulting and technology services in 20 major U.S. metro areas.
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