The network must converge -- but admin roles don't have to


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Cisco's Nexus 1000V gives server and network administrators separate, familiar interfaces with which to manage their respective chunks of infrastructure

The relentless march of network convergence is transforming the data center into a leaner, more efficient animal than ever before. But convergence also presents serious challenges to traditionally siloed IT departments -- blurring the roles of server, network, and storage administrators.

The frequent result is that these three roles merge into one group of "data center administrators" who must be conversant with the entire range of skills. This may work in smaller environments, but it can be extremely difficult to maintain the level of skill necessary to support a large environment without depending too much upon a handful of individuals.

One answer is to develop converged products that present separate interfaces catering to different administrative roles. Consider, for example, Cisco's Nexus 1000V virtual switch software. Though it has been well received by just about anyone I know who has deployed it, it's often looked at as simply an extension of the Cisco Nexus switch line -- but that misses the point of what the N1000V can do. It also represents what I hope will be a continuing effort on the industry's part to allow easier separation of administrative control in converged networks without trading off capability or efficiency in the process.

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