Taxonomy of the Data Center: There is no “one size fits all” data center product line
Nov 9, 2010
Juniper has been designing and enabling many of the
world’s data centers for quite awhile now, and we have learned some interesting
things. First and foremost, there is no
one single type of data center. Likewise,
there is no “one size fits all” data center product line. The architecture of a data center varies
considerably depending on the applications it is designed to support. In order
to best serve all the different kinds of data centers, we have created a
taxonomy to define the various types of data centers and what they need to be
To start, data centers can be divided into two major
categories—cost centers and profit centers.
Center data centers are traditional IT departments. They contain a company’s IT assets—payroll,
email, MRP, finance, internal web, development.
They are responsible for the continuity of legacy applications as well
as all new applications for internal use.
IT data center managers are very concerned about operational efficiency
and costs, and they are judged on their ability to cut costs while maintaining
or increasing services to company personnel.
They prefer to purchase the same switching, routing and security
products for each part of their network.
Cost management, operational efficiency and consistency and stability
are the keys for network purchase and deployment in this type of data center. IT
data centers are evolved as new technology becomes required.
Center data centers, also called Production data centers, exist
to make money. They provide services
which directly produce revenue. Their goal is to grow and evolve as quickly as
possible to provide the most competitive offerings for their companies. Production data center managers focus on
performance and scaling. They take risks
and deploy new technologies if they have the potential to increase revenue. Production data center managers are judged on
their ability to identify and deploy the most competitive solutions. Scaling with speed and performance with
growth are the keys for network purchase and deployment. Production networks are commissioned based
upon current best solutions and run until a significantly better option can be
The differentiation among data centers does not stop
there. There are further subdivisions of
IT and production data centers.
data centers are related to campus and branch networks.
Services and communications supported by the central IT location need to extend
to the campus and branch. IT data center personnel frequently manage the campus
and branch as well as the IT data centers. They prefer one comprehensive set of
switching, routing and security devices, all managed under the same umbrella. When they upgrade, all related devices must
be upgraded at the same time. Version
control is very important when the same device is deployed in many locations.
There are differences between large IT data centers
(which support multiple sites and multiple geographies), medium IT data centers
(which support a single geography) and small IT data centers (generally located
in a single site).
data centers have five different variations:
content – provides content over the top of service provider networks
provider content – provides content over their own networks
Production data centers vary based on transaction or
computation speed, scale and
distribution of content, management of last mile of network (or not), formal
service-level agreements, and level of platform management.
Check back here in the coming weeks as I provide
some real-world examples of each type of data center and the networking
equipment these companies choose to suit their specific needs.