Media conversion is a critical network function for growing data centers, but too many purchase decisions are based solely on data sheet information or worse yet, from price lists. There is a difference in media converters and a strategic way to plan and implement them. The always-increasing demand on data center networks requires constant upgrades to network size, reach and throughput levels. Trends such as virtualization, big data, cloud access and mobility are key factors behind an increase in demand for data center bandwidth. In this scenario of rapid change, media conversion is more important than ever to ensure connectivity, rapid service turn up and to maximize the cable plant investment.

This seven-part blog series will provide a glimpse beyond the speeds and feeds to other key factors data center operators need to consider when adding or expanding a media conversion system.

Today's topic: Create a Separate Network for Physical Security of Data Center

Today, I want to explore the best practice of creating a separate network for physical security of a data center.

One popular use of media converters is to extend network connections out to where a surveillance camera is located. For example, an exterior camera can be located in the ceiling or on an exterior light pole that is more than 100 meters from the network switch it connects to.

By adding a media converter, the existing copper network cabling can be left in place while a fiber cable or another copper cable links to the camera. If the media converter offers retiming, the signal can travel another 100 meters to link to the camera. This challenge is repeated throughout the data center with network-connected badge readers, door locks, and other non-IT systems. As more devices are added to the internet of things, a percentage of these will be connected to the wired network and will have the same challenges.

While it might be tempting to leverage the same chassis-based media conversion system for both data center information and physical security networks, the best practice is to keep these as separate as possible. One reason for this, is that video from surveillance cameras can consume a lot of bandwidth, slowing other data on the network.

This network separation also improves data integrity since connections to cameras are often outside of the data center’s physical security, providing a potential attack vector for hackers.

This best practice, combined with products that are designed with the right network technology, can make the correct media conversion decision a lot easier. Stay tuned for more best practices on how to build the most strategic solution.