As a player in the ever-expanding IT business sphere, the “10 Gigabit network” buzzword must be ringing in your ears from quite some time. If you wish to make the most of this promising technological development, you will be faced with a series of commonly posed questions whether or not your enterprise needs such a high-speed network and whether your company can afford it at this point in time.
So here is a question-answer format that will throw light on the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises to tread the technological path laid out by the 10 Gigabit Ethernet network.
- Is A 10G Network Essential For My Business?
- What Is The Budget That I Need to Set Aside for a 10 GBE Network Upgrade?
- What is the 10G Network Upgrade All About?
- What Are The Best Means To Ensure a Smooth Transition?
First and foremost, the fundamental question that comes to anyone’s mind when it concerns a major technological development has its roots linked to its basic need and the pain points it will address.
Why do I need a 10 G network?
This is the question that needs to be answered. And if you are looking for a befitting response, here it comes!
Gone are the days when brick-and-mortar stores were the prime means to conduct business. Now, with the proliferation of the internet into every facet of human life, most of the businesses are treading the digital path. Every operation, right from marketing and sales to support and service is carried out through a swift and reliable digitized network.
With the growing patronage to technologies like server virtualization, 802.11ac, IP convergence, Cloud and the Internet of Things (IOT), all these innovations are poised to improve productivity. On the flipside, they can lead to a major drain of your network’s speed.
It is also the thing of the past to rely on a network that simply works. Now is the time when you need more from your network to keep pace with the emerging trends in the digital space. It is in this context that small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from a 10 Gbps network core by substantially avoiding network loads during peak times.
By choosing this network, you as an IT manager can improve the productivity of your employees. Another benefit comes draped in the form of shortened customer response times. All in all, this network speed can help you tread the path of organizational growth through the introduction of new products which can be marketed at rocket speed.
Answering the fundamental question concerning the need for a 10 Gbps network cleared the air of its necessity. Now, you need to look into the financial constraints of investing in the 10 GBE network.
To upgrade to a 10G network, you need to spend on 3 essential components; 10G core switches, 10G network interface cards for storage devices and servers and lastly on access switches that promise you 10G uplinks.
Speaking of the cost of 10G switches, go back a decade in time and you had to shell down $4,000 for a single 10G switch port. Now, you can purchase a single port for $150. You can check out the Cisco 350X and 550X switches that are tailor-made for the requirements of small and mid-sized businesses. You can also bank on the vast assembly o 12, 16, 24 and 48 10G ports which start off with a meager $1,500 market price.
Moving on to the 2nd component of a 10G network upgrade, you will have to invest a meager amount for different brands which cost between $200 and $300 to source a 10G network interface card (NIC). This card can be used to link servers and storage devices.
You have an affordable option for access switches with 10G uplinks. You can check out the Cisco 500X series which offer 24 and 48 gigabit ports with 4 10G uplinks. You may ask, at what cost? You don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to purchase these access switches with 10G uplinks. These come with an affordable price tag of $1,000 as their market price.
It is pretty simple!
When you are working with a 10GBase-T which is supported by the Cisco 550X and 350X series switches, you will have to employ the conventional RJ45 network cable. This cable helps you connect the 10G switch with your storage, servers and all other switches. The next step is to move up 100 meters just as in the Gigabit network. However, this comes with a caveat. You need to ensure that you choose a Cat6A grade RJ45 network cable which can be easily sourced from IT hardware stores.
A point to be noted here is that the affordability and ease-of-use are the two positives in favor of the rising popularity of 10GBase-T, connected to servers and network switches. So, the first move that you should make if you do not have any 10G devices is to invest in the 10GBase-T ports.
Moving on the 10G switches, you should be informed that Cisco 550X and 350X series of switches are compatible with 10G SFP+. If you have an existing device that supports 10G SFP+, you can use these ports. However, you will need a 10G connection to interface with other switches that are farther than 100 meters.
Concerning servers and storage devices that support a 10G SFP+ port, you can cut down on the cost by picking a 10G Direct Attach Cable. Typically made of copper, these cables come with SFP+ connectors on either side with measured and pre-cut lengths of 1 meter, 3 meters and 5 meters.
What if you have switches that are more than 100 meters away?
Fret no more!
For this situation, you will need a pair of SFP+ modules which come with a matching fiber cable between them. If you have to cover a distance of 400 meters, then you can employ a multi-mode SFP+ and fiber. However, a single mode SFP+ and fiber can help you reach out to 10 km.
Migrating to a 10G network can be simple since it does not call for a one-time upgrade of your entire network. You can phase out the upgrade operations. You can start off with the core switches that will be used to connect with all your access switches. You can focus on them so that you can connect with your servers and storage devices. If redundancy is a matter of concern to you, it is best for you to come up with the number of ports you actually need. A simple trick can be to stack up two core switches which promise you extra performance while laying the foundation for a robust network.
With your switches upgraded to 10G, you then have to move on to upgrade your key access switches and servers and connect them to your new switches. This is when you will notice an immediate performance surge coming from the most significant and crucial parts of your network. You can leave the rest of the network as it is since you can rely on the 10GBase-T ports which can work in reverse order with Gigabit links. An important piece of information is that the 10G SFP+ cage is also compatible with 1G SFP modules.
This way, you can follow a piece-meal approach to upgrade your entire network to 10G.
With so much information now in your hands, it is hardly any obstacle between you and your dream 10G network. Small and mid-sized enterprises which can easily source Cisco 550 X and 350X switches series can make the most of the budget-friendly means to upgrade their networks. This way, all such enterprises who have upgraded to a 10G network will walk in good stead, matching the galloping pace of technological innovations that are influencing network speeds.