Automation in the Data Center Space

Automation in the Data Center Space

By: Dave Fredricks | Data Center Infrastructure Architect

Over the past several years, IT jobs have become more and more challenging due to the complexity of growing data assets, multiple management tools, increasing pressure to extract intelligence from the data, and the overall volume of data to store and protect. It’s no wonder IT professionals often feel overwhelmed!

Automation tools have been created to help effectively manage all these new and expanding technologies. Data center automation is defined as the process of managing and automating the workflow and processes of a data center facility. It enables automating the bulk of the data center operations, management, monitoring, and maintenance tasks that otherwise are performed manually by human operators.

Not just software

The focus to implement automation practices has typically come from software programs, but hardware is also an important component to successfully achieve positive results. Brocade (Broadcom) is a big proponent of using data center automation tools specifically with their latest generation 6 Fibre Channel switches. Brocade uses RESTful application program interfaces (APIs) that use HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE data to support automation.

The importance of cabling

Proper connectivity is essential to best support a new or existing Brocade storage fabric’s availability, health, and performance. For instance, the ability to monitor storage traffic in the compute cycle to pinpoint and eliminate bottlenecks is critical to have a robust network. As more demands are placed on the compute cycle, storage abilities need to keep pace.

This introduces the need for a proper structured cabling system to support current storage and network traffic speeds, and to consider the next Fibre Channel generation 7 speeds which double generation 6 speeds. The fiber optic link requires that the dB loss be under a specific number. In addition, distance limitations come into play when using multimode glass.

Designing your cabling system

Designing the structured cabling system to connect both duplex and parallel optics ensures it can work with any Fibre Channel or Ethernet optic, or even a mix of the two. Planning that the link has headroom for dB loss, and is not running at maximum allowable levels, aids in reducing traffic spikes and keeps the network running optimally. Installing patch panels that provide port replication of the Fibre Channel devices allows for simple cable management and port identification.


If your organization is looking at new Fibre Channel switching in the near future, consider a no-cost structured cabling design from CABLExpress to see how other data center operators are connecting their hardware together. Our design will work with existing cabling plants to support Ethernet, Fibre Channel or InfiniBand equipment.


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