Deep buffers can support data center networking

A fixed rack shelf equipped with top-of-rack network equipment may not be much help if the network infrastructure is not designed to handle usage spikes that sometimes occur.

A recent Network World report explained that virtualization makes servers denser, filling hardware with more applications and processes than they would normally handle. Therefore, top-of-rack switches and other network equipment are often overwhelmed by the bandwidth needs of the various applications.

While establishing infrastructure to handle the amount of traffic generated is not too difficult, the report said, most top-of-rack switches will still struggle to handle traffic spikes. This is especially true because traditional servers rarely experience network spikes. These non-virtual servers are usually underutilized, the report said.

To address this concern, the report said, new top-of-rack switching solutions are emerging that use deep buffers to allocate resources to specific ports and avoid allowing the network buffer to spike in such a way that it creates a major problem.

Deep buffers are not the only network infrastructure changes emerging in the data center. A recent TechTarget report identified unified fabric technologies as a key tool to replace outdated infrastructure with networking systems capable of handling virtualized servers.