Balancing Your Migration Plan Budget (Part 2)

Data center with rows of network servers, bright white illuminationIn Part 1 of this series, we looked at the different types of budgets that must be considered when planning your next data center upgrade. Namely, the financial budget (which is a balancing act in and of itself) and the power budget, which can be significantly improved by taking advantage of engineered links.

Next, we will look at different ways to determine a migration plan that balances these oft competing budgets. How can you effectively balance your budget with your desired network performance objectives?

One approach is to go minimally compliant…at your own risk.  You’ll save quite a bit of money when the data center is initially being built, but when the time comes to upgrade the IT hardware, chances are the cabling will also have to be replaced. Decisions made with the desired intent to save money, often force you to spend more in order to keep it working.

Another approach often discussed is to install single-mode…but at what cost?  This medium has significant bandwidth availability to allow for several generations of growth, or what is sometimes perceived as being “future-proof”.  However, connectivity and optics costs are considerably higher. It’s also important to remember that, with new varieties of transceivers arriving on a regular basis, you still need a plan to deal with changing connector styles and data rates.

There is another option: the engineered link. At the beginning of 2016, Berk-Tek introduced a program called “Own the Link.”  The main concept behind this program is that the cabling and transceivers are inextricably linked, so you can’t alter the specification of the one without having an impact on the other. Using expertise gained from years of network performance testing, the engineers in the TEK Center at Berk-Tek have created a Power Budget Calculator, a powerful link performance tool that tells you, with confidence, if the cabling design will support a future network protocol.

OK, so it will work. But what about balancing cost vs. performance?

A holistic tool is needed that can examine all the variables and arrive at the most cost-effective solution.  What are the physical constraints of my design?  What data rates are needed today and in the near future?  What are the limitations of the various fiber options?  What do they cost?

Berk-Tek’s Own the Link Cost Calculator is a holistic tool that takes into account the complete cabling system and transceivers, to arrive at a cost model that helps answer the fundamental question, “What is the best migration plan?”

This easy-to-use calculator tool works by first asking you a couple of simple questions. Then it uses that information to calculate the amount of bandwidth insertion loss encountered by TIA-compliant cabling links vs. an engineered link option. It also establishes a budgetary financial cost for each option, and automatically presents you with the lowest cost working solution.

The cost savings of an engineered link versus a standard link can be astounding. Seeing these options side-by-side provides you with critical information to inform your migration path decision.

Click here to use the Own the Link Cost Calculator to help plan your next data center upgrade.

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