December 11, 2007 - OnPATH Technologies, a provider of automated connectivity solutions that enable a virtual infrastructure layer, compiled a list of infrastructure insights that highlight common industry misconceptions about the physical layer.

The top five myths about the physical layer of data centers include:

  1. The physical layer of a data center is static and as a result, problem-free.

    Reality: The physical layer is stressed every time new equipment is introduced, old equipment is removed or existing equipment and cables are moved at a data center. Tangled and fragile cables, plugs and wiring can physically limit ability to scale and consolidate, and most are not monitored for health and usage.Up to 70 percent of network downtime can be attributed to cabling problems.
  2. Most data center infrastructure issues are easily solved in the upper network layers or through virtualization of the endpoint devices.   

    Reality: Cables, patch panels, media converters and monitoring equipment/software all reside at the physical layer. As a result, many physical layer issues cannot be efficiently managed or resolved at the network level. From a virtualization perspective, many virtualized solutions focus on the provisioning, managing and monitoring applications, servers, network equipment and storage. These solutions assume the physical layer is designed with ample connectivity, bandwidth and the necessary degree of fault tolerance.Unfortunately, as data centers grow and change, that is not the case.   

  3. The physical layer is generally secure and tighter security efforts are more necessary at the network layer.

    Reality: Human error can easily lead to a security breach - a single misplugged cable can potentially transfer highly-confidential data outside the data center's firewall.

  4. International enterprises must replicate their data centers around the globe to ensure continuous and accessible operations.

    Reality: By virtualizing the physical layer, data centers can achieve the same "follow the sun" approach, which allows IT staff in remote locations to utilize the same centralized equipment regardless of its physical location.

  5. Current server and storage growth rates and unprecedented growth in new data center construction make it impractical to strive for a green initiative for IT power reduction.

    Reality: Virtualizing the physical infrastructure layer of the data center and global network can help offset growing data center equipment demands for power.An IBM study indicates virtualization and other technology improvements can reduce energy costs at an average data center by 42 percent.

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