How To Prepare for Deploying 100GigE In 6 Steps

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As network traffic grows and demand continues to climb, IT solution providers are increasingly called on to deploy 100GigE ports early in 2012. Following, Wheeler, vice president, Global IP Network Business Unit of NTT America, offers six tips to deploying the technology for customers.— Jennifer Bosavage, editor

As Internet traffic volumes have continued to explode on a global level, most operators have tried to create efficiency by “bundling” multiple 10GigE ports. However, that approach is simply a stop-gap measure to bide time until 100GigE can be deployed in a cost effective manner. Given the realities of traffic growth and sheer end-user demand, customers are looking to deploy 100GigE ports early in 2012.

Following are six steps to guide your “if and when” process for deploying 100GigE.

Step 1: Review Your Business Goals:
The first step to knowing if a technology investment is right for your business is to take the time to understand your business goals and objectives before committing. By understanding your historical data utilization and factoring your projected usage requirements in the future, you can gain insight into what opportunities exist to revamp your current infrastructure.

Step 2: Evaluate Infrastructure Cost vs. Revenue:
A single 100GigE port investment is worthwhile if its profit comes near or exceeds 10x your current 10GigE ports. There are many factors that surround the determination to migrate to 100GigE ports, such as your current hardware platform, next generation hardware requirements, timing of a platform replacement cycle and your overall cost of capital. Your resulting definitive capital expenditure (CAPEX) cost profile should be a key component of your 100GigE deployment timing.

Step 3: Assess Network Management Costs vs. Revenue:
Even if your infrastructure CAPEX cost profile is not entirely beneficial, you will still cut down on staff time and effort in operations by reducing the actual number of interconnections to manage. The cost benefit of reducing the operational load is incremental and ongoing as the network continues to scale and you reproduce these operational efficiencies throughout an entire network. Make sure to include operational expenditures in you 100GigE decisions and plans.

Step 4: Compare Providers:
Evaluate your existing provider as well as other provider options. The best provider is one that can scale quickly to meet your needs and offer the flexibility to adapt to the demands of your customer and overall business requirements. Below is a quick check-list of qualities to consider in your vendor:
• Does the vendor’s network have capacity limitations? What about IP address limitations? (Look for IPv6 and Dual Stack capabilities.)
• What implementation processes does the vendor have for integrating new infrastructure?
• When did the vendor deploy its last major technology platform refresh?
• Is the vendor’s customer service of a high enough quality to meet your future needs?
• Is the vendor’s network scalable? Will it be reliable to meet your projected future requirements?

Step 5: Analyze Hardware and Software Vendor Options:
It’s worth your time to dig deeply into the available and planned hardware and software platforms that you may use to deploy 100GigE ports. You should evaluate these, preferably in a controlled lab environment where interoperability and full testing can occur. The actual functionality of the hardware is one aspect of this evaluation, but you should also assess your financial considerations during this stage.

Step 6: Implement your 100GigE plans:
After considering all of the conclusions of these steps, as well as any other factors pertinent to your business, you should be in a good position to make a determination about the “if and when” of your 100GigE deployment. To maintain a smooth transition, evaluate your industry partners, network performance, operations and financial considerations on a regular basis.

Based on the current and estimated near-term cost elements for 100GigE early adopters are anticipated to begin deploying these ports in the first half of this year. If you subscribe to the notion that 10GigE was in a mass deployment stage late in 2008 then you may agree with my prediction that 100GigE will reach a level of critical mass by mid-2015.

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