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What is data center networking?

Data center networking is the integration of a constellation of networking resources — switching, routing, load balancing, analytics, etc. — to facilitate the storage and processing of applications and data.

Modern data center networking architectures leverage full-stack networking and security virtualization platforms that support a rich set of data services connecting everything from VMs, containers, and bare metal applications  while enabling centralized management and granular security controls.


This model of data center networking represents a significant shift from the standard networking model in data centers not long ago. From on-premises physical servers, to virtualized infrastructure, to an integrated edge-to-cloud model of networking and security that is present wherever apps and data live, data center networking has evolved greatly in a short time.

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Why data center networking?

The most advanced data center networking platforms connect and protect everything in an organization’s environment, adjusting dynamically to the evolving needs of users and applications. They deliver critical services for apps and data, including automation, consistent operations, and granular security via micro-segmentation.

Let’s look at some of the requirements for a modern data center networking platform:

Automation. Achieving speed and agility in modern data centers depends greatly on automated provisioning of networking services for applications. Far faster and more reliable than a human administrator, modern networking platforms not only find the most efficient way to program a network, balance workloads, and automate time-consuming tasks, they also respond dynamically to changes in usage.

Consistent policies. With modern data center networking responsible for integrating resources from edge to cloud, consistent application of policies is essential.

Single pane of glass. Typically connecting resources located both on-premises, in the cloud, and at the edge, modern data center networking platforms offer centralized management from a single console.

Granular security. Today’s data center networking platforms often feature integrated security controls that can include micro-segmentation and IDS/IPS.

Global visibility. Most data center networking platforms can display a visual representation of the network and its interconnections, which makes troubleshooting network issues much easier.



How does data center networking work?

A modern data center networking platform runs all network services required to support traditional enterprise applications entirely in software, enabling the automation of what were previously manual and error-prone provisioning tasks. It also makes possible capacity planning, security policy planning, and network troubleshooting. When applications are decommissioned, the networking platform handles de-provisioning policies associated with that application, which prevents the sprawl of stale policies that would otherwise degrade manageability, security, connectivity, and compliance.


Related Topics
Network Virtualization
Network Security
Network Automation
Intent-based Networking

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