Data Center Networking

Data centers are physical facilities that provide computing and storage resources to businesses or enterprises. It is used to house critical applications and data that help deliver seamless services to end-users. There are different types of data centers available for modern business requirements such as enterprise data centers, MSP data centers, cloud data centers, etc.

What is data center networking?

Data center networking is the provision of network, storage and computing resources to execute a broad-range of workloads for business/ enterprise data center tenants. These workloads require diverse hardware or high-end network components to compute, store, retrieve, and transmit data from the workloads across local and wide area networks.

The Core Pillars of a Data Center - Network, Server and Storage Infrastructure

In data center networking, there are three fundamental components that form the core of a data center — network, server and storage infrastructure. It is essential that these components fit and work together in order to deliver faster and reliable services.

In order to ensure high performance and assure service delivery in accordance to the service level agreements (SLA), an integral part of data center operations is a comprehensive data center infrastructure monitoring solution (DCIM). This helps a NOC technician/ data center technician to track, monitor, diagnose and troubleshoot network devices, physical and virtual servers, and storage devices.

Data Center Networking | Monitoring Data Center Network Infrastructure

A data center network (DCN)  infrastructure is a complex arrangement of network devices such as routers, switches, interfaces, etc., that inter-connects the various computing and storage units in a data center's resource pool to ensure a high-level of performance.

In addition, increased network usage and migration of businesses towards datacenter services presents a unique challenge where it is important to deploy a DCIM software such as ManageEngine OpManager for effective data center network management. This allows you to manage, upgrade and monitor DCNs for optimal service delivery with complete visibility into the individual DCN components and dependencies.

Some of the important areas that need to be monitored on a regular basis include the following:

i) Real-time availability:

ManageEngine OpManager provides comprehensive network health and availability monitoring to ensure peak performance round-the-clock in your data centers.

It provides complete visibility into all of your network devices and associated interfaces/ ports and WAN links using Cisco IP SLA. It has in-built data center network monitoring capabilities that provides real-time dashboards and a multi-level threshold based alerting system to instantly identify and resolve network issues based on early indications before it causes a network outage.

ii) Bandwidth monitoring:

In data center networking, it is also essential to analyze bandwidth usage patterns, track application growth and number of connections, and control excess bandwidth consumption. This helps identify and allocate optimal bandwidth to avoid wasting it or causing a traffic congestion that hinders network performance.

ManageEngine OpManager allows you to monitor over 230 different interface types out-of-the-box to track interface performance using metrics such as traffic speed, errors, discards, packet loss, etc., with advanced bandwidth and flow analysis. You can also use the in-built Netflow module to get further insights and actions on capacity planning, anomaly detection, traffic shaping using ACLs, etc.

iii) Network configuration management:

Network configuration management is a process that is carried out throughout the entire life cycle of an asset in the data center network (DCN) and a simple misconfiguration due to human error can cause outage, loss of revenue and failure to meet service level agreements (SLA) might incur legal repercussions.

ManageEngine OpManager along with its in-built network configuration module provides comprehensive network device life-cycle and configuration management. It handles initial configuration during device additions, change management with authorization and configuration backups, bulk or complex operations via configlets with scheduling and enables you to meet various compliance requirements such as PCI DSS, Sox, HIPAA, etc.

Data Center Networking | Monitoring Computing Resources such as Servers and Virtualizations

At the heart of all data center operations, is a platform of computing resources that serve as a backbone for various mission-critical enterprise or business applications and services. This includes a variety of servers such as database servers, core application servers, caching servers, web servers, and virtualization such as VMware, Hyper V and Xen environments.

Data Center Networking Solutions | Data Center Server Monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager provides hardware agnostic real-time server monitoring to track server health and availability, server system resources (CPU, memory, disk usage, I/O, processes, etc.), data loss, server responsiveness, server capacity and user load. It also helps prevent server issues proactively with the help of multi-level thresholds and instant notifications via email or SMS.

Explore more of OpManager's data center server monitoring capabilities:

In addition to these, you can also explore individual monitoring capabilities for virtualizations such as VMware, Hyper V and Xen or Hyperconverged Infrastructures (HCI).

Data Center Networking | Monitoring Data Center Storage Components

The world is producing much more data than it was just a decade ago. This has forced data center storage architecture to develop at a rapid rate to accommodate the massive in-flow of data from data-intensive applications such as analytics or data processing tools. It also emphasizes the need to monitor and manage the storage infrastructure in your data centers with dedicated data center network storage solutions. This ensures that the applications or services that are hosted by businesses or enterprises function without interruptions due to storage failure.

ManageEngine OpManager provides in-depth network storage monitoring for Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAIDs), Tape Libraries in Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Fiber Channel (FC) or Storage Area Network (SAN) switches with topological storage visualization and storage capacity forecasting based on machine learning algorithms.

Monitoring your storage devices with OpManager provides increased visibility into your storage environment and avoids downtime related to storage issues. It is also a comprehensive solution to monitor your entire IT infrastructure saving costs on any independent storage solutions. This is unlike other networking data center solutions that miss out on key features for effective data center infrastructure management (DCIM). 

Looking for a storage monitoring solution? Explore more of OpManager's storage monitoring capabilities.

Data Center Networking | Data Center Visualization

In data center networking, visualizing your data center's network, server and storage infrastructure plays a key role in identifying network issues and performance bottlenecks. It provides a holistic view of the your entire DCN allowing you to approach network troubleshooting or capacity additions fully informed of all dependencies.

ManageEngine OpManager enables you to visualize all the components in your data center to pinpoint network issues or outages and locate performance degradation at-a-glance. You can quickly drill-down to the root-cause of a network issue and troubleshoot it with in-built workflow automation and network troubleshooting tools.

Some of the features it offers include business views, map views, 3D rack and floor views and layer 2 maps.

Business Views: This view allows visualization of a network devices, servers and storage that belong to a particular business. It shows the health and availability of these devices with the interface state.

Map Views: The view allows visualization of network devices, servers or DB clusters and storage devices on Google/ Zoho maps. It also displays the status of the device with quick drill down options.

3D Rack and Floor Views: This allows you to recreate your server room and view the racks and servers in a 3D form factor. It shows you the status of servers and ports, and allows for quick identification and easy troubleshooting. In other words, you view a live representation of your server room from the network operations center (NOC).

Layer 2 Maps: This view provides a detailed representation of all the nodes, interconnected layers and port-to-port connectivity of your network devices from a seed/core router.

CCTV Views: This view allows you to project your dashboards to a larger screen for NOC monitoring purposes. It gives you complete visibility into your data center's network performance from the NOC room.

To learn more about OpManager and its data center networking software capabilities, take a free personalized demo.

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