October 13, 2010, 1:23 PM — DALLAS - For many of the IT professionals attending Storage Networking World here, combining communications, server and storage networks is an appealing prospect. Some companies are already in the middle of converging on an IP network and others see it in their future.
Still, there were a large percentage of users who plan to stay with a three-tiered network architecture.
When polled through wireless devices, an audience of several hundred SNW attendees was split on the issue. Twenty-six percent indicated they plan to move to converged networks that use the Fibre Channel over Ethernet protocol on their IP network; 13% responded they're going to an all IP network made up of NAS and iSCSI storage protocols as well as storage through the public cloud ; 25% indicated they plan to keep their network infrastructure as is for the foreseeable future. However, 33% of respondents indicated they are "still sorting out the hype" and trying to determine the cost of recabling. SNW sponsored by Computerworld.
Omer Siddiqui, deputy CIO of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, which serves 150,000 customers in the Washington area, said his agency is in the midst of deploying a "flat network" (consolidated Ethernet network) driven by a need to reduce complexity.
"It was a wakeup call when one time we had to implement a simple fix or patch for our networks and it brought everything to its knees," he said. "We came to the realization that we had a very complex set of switches and routers."
Siddiqui said organizations should perform an annual assessment of their networks in order to get a picture of where and how many bottlenecks exist in order to determine if there are areas for improvement or even a complete overhaul.
"We went through the evaluation. There are networks out there that have too many moving parts and manageability becomes a nightmare," he said.
As DC Water and Sewer build out its network of the future it is keeping in mind the need for scalability, and minimizing I/O latency. For example, can the network be used to quickly deploy new organizational network policies, Siddiqui said. "All these factors contributed to making our decision," he said.
The agency has completed the network design and is now in the implementation phase. As the water authority implements a single IP network to handle all of its data, it is also expanding the reach of its network from five offices to nearly 200 mobile trucks, which extends the network for the first time outside of the company's firewall, so security is a major concern.