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How to select the right data center switch

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With the development of cloud data centers and the emergence of virtualization and new applications, new types of data center switches are entering the market, such as white box switches and bare metal switches, whose operating systems are open.

Hardware and software

With the development of cloud data centers and the emergence of virtualization and new applications, new types of data center switches are entering the market, such as white box switches and bare metal switches, whose operating systems are open. For data centers that need to handle large amounts of traffic at any time, white box switches or bare metal switches are another option for network engineers beyond branded switches, providing both flexibility and reducing costs. At the same time, for the upgrade of the data center switches, it is important to clarify the brand of the switch and the operating system currently used on the network.


"Data center architecture and configuration"


Modern data centers use the spin-leaf architecture, and switches at each layer have their own requirements. In general, the spine switch should handle more traffic than the leaf switch, with higher capacity and better performance. For more suggestions on the purchase of data center leaf switches, please refer to "How to purchase data center leaf switches?"


Whether to use ToR or EoR configuration determines which type of data center switch you need. If the end-of-line network cabling is already available, it is better to use the existing cabling and deploy a large-capacity data center EoR switch. If you plan to build a new data center or new cabling, it is a better idea to use ToR data center switches for ToR networks, because they will provide greater flexibility in the physical port coverage of the entire data center.


Switch suppliers


After considering all these important factors, you will know what you should remember. However, please remember that the performance, price and support services of data center switches vary from vendor to vendor, so please check your vendor list and ensure good cooperation with the selected vendor.


Find a person with good reputation through user recommendations and comments. Evaluate their services, namely software progress and configuration, hardware spare parts and replacement, and troubleshooting support. With the rise of SDN, you can consider purchasing switches from different vendors. However, unless you use a truly open SDN platform, it is a wise choice to purchase from a single supplier because it is future-oriented. We should choose a data center switch supplier that provides the best quality functions and services at the most competitive price.


Cooling and air flow


Before purchasing the switch, you should know that the way you install and connect the switch will affect the quality of air flow and cooling. If the cable blocks the airflow, this may mean that the service life is shortened due to overheating, which may lead to premature failure.


Similarly, the airflow direction of the switch will also affect the cooling effect of the data center. For example, if the connection is on the front of the server, you should choose to cool from front to back. However, if the connection is behind the server, you should use front and rear cooling.


Small disruptions of several hours or days may not cause serious damage to the data center. However, a design problem that has been neglected for months or even years may mean frequent downtime, even expensive maintenance and upgrading.


Select the right data center switch


Now that you know what factors to consider when selecting data center switches, you should narrow the selection range and find the type you want. When selecting data center switches from the flooded market, the rule of thumb is to seek professional advice, that is, if you are not an expert in this field. If possible, have one of your IT staff around. Professionals will better understand some technical terms, such as buffer size, latency and even port speed, to help you avoid confusion and select the right product.

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