On Building a Data Center Network

This is not about the technical details of building a data center network, but the non-technical parts. A very interesting read from Ethereal Mind. Some points worth taking home:

  • SFPs and cables form a significant chunk of network infrastructure costs. And most network vendors seem to cash in on that.
  • Most network vendors can’t read the requirements document carefully, but are mostly busy with their marketing gimmicks.
  • Most vendors cannot understand the power usage of their boxes over a period of time (in terms of dollars that may need to get spent)
  • Cheap networking gear has two positive side-effects: it allows one to buy generously and keep back up, just in case, RoI will be less, and a direct consequence of a low RoI means networking gear can be upgraded frequently
  • The switch you choose decides the oversubscription ratio that can be achieved (or possible). The number of 10G ports/40G ports it has will decide that – assuming one is going to use all the ports with no spares left
  • When the infrastructure cost is low, it allows us to buy some more experimentation
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