Building Advanced Enterprise LAN, SAN

By | September 6, 2005

The amount of data in today’s business environment is growing at a rapid pace. Companies, universities, and government agencies are running more bandwidth-intensive applications and every day need to store, manage and protect greater amounts of data – most of which is mission-critical to their long-term economic success.

Ethernet dominates local area network (LAN) traffic and Metro Ethernet ports are forecasted to grow more than 400% to 5.8 million by 2007 (CAGR 52%).

Enterprise IT network managers are challenged with managing growing networks and heightened user requirements, minimizing network downtime, and maximizing existing data resources and budgets. When addressing these evolving LAN and storage area network (SAN) requirements, they look to new optical networking technologies like Coarse and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM, DWDM) to provide the enhanced performance and features at a low total cost of ownership.

Key enterprise benefits

A high-performance network using CWDM/DWDM technology enables enterprises to make all network resources equally accessible to all employees in the metro area. By extending LAN performance across a metropolitan area network (MAN), enterprises have more options in strategic deployment of staff and equipment among central and outlying areas.

Distributing information assets across a metro area is the most meaningful approach to addressing today’s data availability and survivability requirements. CWDM and DWDM technology enables enterprises to deploy sophisticated SAN solutions like disaster recovery, business continuity, and server consolidation and sending data to remote locations.

Different technologies for different size networks

These applications are well within the capabilities of DWDM, a technology that enables enterprises and carriers to accommodate up to 512 applications of any protocol over a single fibre pair. For smaller projects, however, DWDM´s tremendous capacity can be a disadvantage, as it provides more bandwidth and channels required.

One of the big draws of CWDM is that it is capable of delivering over 50 times the bandwidth over metropolitan fibre infrastructures at significantly lower prices. CWDM is also protocol-transparent. Applications run natively, and the absence of protocol conversion improves performance and saves further costs. CWDM is ideally suited for small and medium-sized LAN and SAN applications along point-to-point links of up to 75 kilometres.

Deploying CWDM and DWDM wisely

The cost benefits of CWDM mean it is getting considerable attention among enterprise IT managers, equipment vendors and industry observers. Best-of-breed optical networking solutions using CWDM typically deliver capital savings of between 30% and 50% compared to DWDM systems of the same channel count and system functionality. Today, enterprises choose CWDM for cost or DWDM for capacity. Or, with the emerging class of hybrid CWDM/DWDM platforms, enterprises bridge the gap — deploying only a few channels today, at an installation cost that is a fraction of that for a full DWDM platform, and affordably adding channels as demand strengthens.

Enterprise networking is not a one-size-fits-all world, but more and more companies share a need for high-performance LANs and SANs. The advancements in optical networking technologies like CWDM and DWDM are making the transformation of LANs and SANs an affordable possibility.

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