March 11, 2008 -- OnPATH Technologies, a provider of automated Layer 1 connectivity solutions for enabling companies to virtualize their physical infrastructure layers, has issued a response to studies forecasting an upcoming data center construction boom. According to OnPATH, surveys from organizations such as Campos Research have indicated that up to 50% of respondents plan to either expand or build entirely new data centers over the next two years; the company contends that "all of this construction could be in vain if proper consideration is not given to the physical layer."
"It's a problem we continually see. Data centers reach the capacity limit of their physical network infrastructure, which is then further exacerbated by planned and unplanned moves, adds, and changes of cables and equipment," says Peter Dougherty, president and CEO of OnPATH Technologies. "Over time, a rat's nest of optical and copper networks is inevitably created and companies face the reality of building a new data center or investing even more resources into a bigger version of the same model. Both are done without considering the root issue -- and it all can be avoided if the physical layer network infrastructure is properly addressed in the planning stages."
Dougherty notes that cost and ROI are always issues that are top-of-mind with executives, and one thing to consider is that network infrastructure and data center expansion involves more than just the direct costs of new buildings and equipment. "Time to deployment, time to market, cost of downtime, migration time, re-testing, and the impact on worker productivity needs to be accounted for," he continues. "It's obvious that the price of power and real estate is going to continue to increase, so the longer a data center can be efficiently operated, the greater return on investment companies will see."
According to OnPATH, lack of space, power inefficiencies, and increasing disaster recovery needs comprise the main reasons for this building boom, as cited by survey respondents. The company believes that better planning and attention to the virtualization of the physical infrastructure layer can extend the lifecycle of data centers to help reduce power, cooling and space needs, while improving network automation, asset management, time to market, system testing and disaster recovery.
"So much emphasis has been placed on the virtualization of applications, servers, storage, etc., but companies often don't consider that they will hit the wall in terms of the physical network connectivity needed to keep all that virtualized equipment running efficiently," adds Dougherty. "Unstructured optical and copper cabling is unreliable, and connector and wiring failures will drive up operating costs by physically limiting the ability to scale and consolidate. Unfortunately, what most people do not realize is that studies have shown that a majority of network downtime is due to cabling problems."
OnPATH concludes that by virtualizing the physical network layer, data centers achieve end-to-end virtualization that will ultimately pave the way for next generation networks, which helps to reduce operation costs, provide an agile and real-time infrastructure, and support green initiatives. The company contends that "as this wave of data center construction continues, companies must consider integrating a virtualized physical layer as part of the groundwork for a longer data center lifecycle, otherwise they will be never fully achieve the benefits from their investments."
Further says the company, despite potential economic conditions, the pressure for expansion plans and the need to handle more data -- efficiently and securely -- will not be going away. "Over the last decade, the pace of IT advancement moved so quickly that the focus was on deploying equipment and applications," Dougherty notes. "Today, it has turned to saving money, increasing efficiency and agility, and extending the life of the infrastructure. Every C-level executive and network operations professional should understand how significantly the physical layer of their network impacts overall operations, and how smart planning and implementation of a virtualized network infrastructure can benefit them through multiple generations of technology investments."