Jan 27 2015

Want to Manage Growth? Then Upgrade Your Networks

Corporate IT managers say new network infrastructure helps them keep pace with increasing technology demands.

Seeking to appeal to startup companies that can’t afford network infrastructure or don’t want to maintain it, San Francisco-based RocketSpace is offering “office as a service” to new companies in the area. Alumni include Pocket Gems, Podio, Uber and Zappos.

Chief Technology Officer Mike Bowie says RocketSpace’s technology campus offers office space, Internet access, phone service, mail service, and reception and conference rooms. “People come in and they are up and running with an Internet connection, phone and office services in less than half an hour,” he says.

That kind of capability takes some serious network infrastructure, which is why, in 2013, RocketSpace upgraded to a 40 Gigabit Ethernet network, in one location. An older facility offers a multiple Gig-E backbone with a mix of Brocade FCX 648S-HPOE and Brocade CES 2048C NetIron switches, while a newer facility houses a pair of Brocade ICX 6650 routers and 14 Brocade ICX 6610 switches.

Bowie aggregates the switches over four 10 Gig-E multimode fiber links to the routers, creating the 40 Gig-E backbone. The network has enabled RocketSpace to double its membership to more than 700 companies in the past 18 months.

Brad Casemore, research director for data center networks for IDC, says enhancing the network was a major step forward for RocketSpace. “IT organizations have reached a point where they realize that traditional network architectures and operational models are inefficient and will not scale,” he says. “Today, network upgrades are not just about more bandwidth but also about gaining operational agility and efficiency.”


The percentage of enterprise organizations reporting that their network and architecture teams primarily influence or control decisions about network infrastructure purchases

SOURCE: IDC, “SDN Survey: Big Changes for Datacenter Networking Operations and Personnel,” June 2014

Keeping Pace with Technology

Matthew McEwen, vice president of enterprise operations for Stephens Support Services in Little Rock, Ark., says the company plans to upgrade to a 40 Gig-E backbone this year. “There’s really no particular driving force,” McEwen says. “We just want to keep ahead of the bandwidth demand.”

Stephens Support Services performs tech support for its parent company, which manages more than $4.1 billion in financial assets. The company will deploy a series of eight Extreme Networks S-Series S180 switches in its main data center and five in a redundant disaster recovery facility. The new equipment will be used as a mix of core and distribution switches, which will support the company’s VMware ESX hosts in the data center and another series of ESX hosts at the DR facility.

Along with the data center upgrade, Stephens Support Services will also deploy Extreme S-Series S150 switches in wiring closets across corporate headquarters. The S150 switches all run on 10 Gig-E, so this will be a substantial upgrade from the Gig-E switches the company previously used.

“We want to have the infrastructure in place so that we can continue to run current applications and be ready for emerging applications as the various departments and businesses need them,” McEwen adds.

Ryan McVay/ThinkStock

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