Higher and Higher: From Drones to Data Centers

Ricardo Diaz blogs about how playing with his new toy – a top of the line DJI Mavic Pro – reminded him of what it must be like to manage today’s data center. All the performance capabilities in the world aren’t much good if they can’t be managed effectively. Read more to figure out what drones and data centers have in common.

DroneFun personal fact: when I’m not playing a network nerd at work, I love outdoor photography. The scenic vistas where we live make for some really dramatic shots. Early morning sunrises, fog-shrouded mountaintops.

Recently, I decided to treat myself to a new piece of photo equipment: a drone. Not just any drone, but— much to my wife’s dismay— a top of the line DJI Mavic Pro. It’s got 4k video, OcuSync transmission with 7km range, GPS and GLONASS positioning—the works! That first Sunday morning with my new toy, I was like a kid on Christmas day. I unpacked it, charged the battery, opened the manual and…ah, who needs a manual? I’m a guy, I can figure this out.

Alas, as soon as it was in the air, I was out of my depth. There was a mind-numbing array of controls: camera rotation, forward speed, in-flight connectivity, obstacle sensors, altitude, subject tracking and more. It was far more complex than expected. As I watched my $1,300 toy fly toward the nearest tree, I thought, “it’s like trying to manage today’s enterprise data center.”

To be fair: keeping a single drone aloft is…well, child’s play compared to managing the thousands of links, ports, assets and switches that go into a data center – not to mention mile after mile of fragile fiber. But you get the idea.

In today’s data center, we now have the ability to support link speeds of 100Gb/s, reduce latency to a few milliseconds and replace costly customized servers with commercial-off-the-shelf models running virtualized network functions. And we need every bit of that speed and capacity because the bandwidth and low latency demands in the data center are off the charts.

The key to keeping up with the accelerating demands is in the data center’s infrastructure. It must be agile and flexible enough to shift to higher speeds and support new applications with minimal disruption. That means modular connectivity and cabling components that can easily accommodate higher fiber- and port-density with minimal redesign.

Perhaps most importantly, the future-ready data center infrastructure must have the embedded intelligence to allow you to visualize, control and optimize every part of the physical network—every connector, port, and connected device. That’s the value of an automated infrastructure management system.

And here is where we come back to my adventure in drone piloting; all the performance capabilities in the world aren’t much good if you can’t manage them effectively. A robust automated infrastructure management (AIM) solution, like CommScope’s imVision, enables you to do just that…and a lot more.

To see exactly what I mean, consider the story of John and Carol.