Evolution of Change in Closets and the Cloud

The cabling industry is reaching milestones in Power over Ethernet (PoE) as well as fiber, revealing new capabilities that displace one technology and move another into the closet or cloud.

Much of what we think we need related to IT will eventually either reside in the closet or the cloud -- this is as true today as it was back in 2008 when I wrote the No Jitter post, "Maybe You Should Get Your Heads in the Cloud." But cloud is no longer just a place to go to get updates for your computer, Google anything that comes to mind, or find the best deals on products and services.

Managing resources successfully is critical to the success and survival of large enterprises all the way down to mom-and-pop shops. That can be challenging for IT, especially since the proverbial cheese keeps moving.

For PoE, the new IEEE 802.3 PoE standard is a challenge, especially for the Ethernet Alliance, which works to certify compliance with the standard. We're advancing from 30 watts of PoE to 90-W PoE. This will enable endpoints such as network pan-tilt-zoom cameras, VoIP phones, access control systems, security card readers, building lighting systems, and point of sale terminals connect into closets and receive power and data. This is a substantial convergence of proprietary systems traditionally supported by dedicated infrastructure. Power consumption is reduced as well.

In addition, PoE workstations don't need point products such as standalone uninterruptible power supplies and antivirus/malware software since they're powered from the closet and can connect to the cloud-based host. Virtualization is available locally in your closet or in the cloud.

Services are shifting to the cloud, too, and managing from the cloud provides uniformity as well as unification while still being able to customize individual network locations. Software-defined WAN technology provides routing-based applications and lowers cost per megabyte for the enterprise.

While copper remains the first choice for almost anything landing in the closet, fiber plays that role for any WAN connections.

Break it up, move it around, shift a little here and there... and then do it again a couple of more times. Some may consider this too much change, but this is really about moving the cheese to somewhere where that's better suited, and more efficient, for it. What's so cool about these moves is that they do provide better, faster, cheaper, easier-to-use, and maintain options, and IT now has control over turning off the lights.

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