Data Center Networking – A brief Introduction

Data Center Networking - A brief Introduction

Data centers are key to the virtualization of business functionalities and data applications. In this post we’ll learn how modern data center networking works.

Data centers are physical entities that house the necessary resources to perform data center networking. Data Center Networking is the process of integrating network resources – switches, routers, load balancers, to facilitate data processing and storage for servers and applications. 

Data centers have been around for more than three decades and the basic components of data center networking have remained pretty much the same. The major change that took place was that a lot of the components were virtualized gradually. Today we’re in the era of Software Led Infrastructure where software controls the allocation of network resources to different apps and devices, the physical components, even the cooling facilities across data centers.

Why is data center networking important?

Imagine using an application like Amazon. You have your own account, the app records your personal information, payment details, etc. It lets you record your preferences and keep carts. 

As an individual user, you are responsible for creating a fair amount of data that the app has to store remotely. We know that it stores the data in the cloud and thanks to edge to cloud technology it can pull the data almost instantaneously whenever required. But where does the cloud store its data? Surely not in the atmosphere?

Clouds are built by pooling data center resources both virtual and physical. This pool of resources is responsible for the functioning of applications and all data-related processes.

Also Read – What is UPnP and Why You Should Keep Away from It Even in 2023

Facilities found in a modern data center networking platform

Data centers have come a long way since the nineties when the capacity of a data center was strictly confined by the physical space on which the data center was built. Now, things are different. Check out the cool capabilities provided by modern data center networking platforms.


Data centers nowadays can automate the provisioning and allocation of networking resources to devices and applications. Automating this process ensures that the allocation is done in an efficient manner.


Policies regarding acceptable use, disaster recovery, back up, and archiving are set and maintained consistently to ensure smooth and secure operation.

Centralized control

Data centers ensure that the connected resources both on premises and in the cloud are visible and controllable from a single console. It creates visibility and eases up troubleshooting.


Security is a crucial part of data center networking. With micro segmentation of workloads data center networking platforms achieve granular security.

The data incoming and outgoing of a data center as well as the data at rest has to be encrypted and secured to prevent storage. The data center has to be equipped with incident detection and response systems to deal with security threats.

Moreover it requires optimum management of physical resources like hardware and coolers to prevent fires, or damage due to overheating, dirt accumulation, or contact to fluids.

How does a data center handle applications?

As mentioned earlier, data centers have automated provisioning capabilities. That means it can allocate resources to a specific application so that the app can run all its operations virtually. When an app wants to use a hybrid environment where it distributes its data between on premise and virtual storages, the data center networking platform ensures the smooth functionality and integration of such a setup.

When an app is decommissioned or taken out of production the data center is programmed with deprovisioning policies for such apps. 

The future of data center networking

A question that is often asked is if data centers will ever be completely virtualized. It seems practically impossible. Although the use of physical resources have been consistently diminished, they are still an indispensable part of data center networking. 

The future lies in software led control. We have already mentioned Software Led Infrastructure or SLI. A truly dynamic data center requires the combination of software defined networks (SDN) and software defined storage (SDS). These are new technologies, still very much infant, but they have shown what’s possible in the future. SLI, SDN, and SDS will definitely have a firm place in the final vision of a data center that is fully automatic and dynamic.

Wrapping up

The world’s largest data center is located in Beijing, China. It is called the China Telecom Data Center and it occupies 10 million square feet of space. The data center has a network of 400 data centers spread across the world.

This gives you an idea of how large an endeavor a data center is and the sheer amount of physical expansion demanded by a large scale data operation.

Data center networking is an ever evolving parcel of technology that functions underneath all the blessings of computational evolution we enjoy. If this piece has made you interested in the subject, you can follow it up with books like “Cloud Native Data Center Networking” by Dinesh G. Dutt.

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