Data center networks and topologies are evolving every day, as our world competes in a never-ending race for higher speed and immediate access to data and video across an increasing array of devices: tablets, phones, etc. This makes data center management increasingly challenging. Even just two years ago, the technology landscape looked vastly different than it does today. So just imagine what we’ll face in 2018, 2020, and beyond.

The speed of technology evolution makes it difficult to truly predict where your data center needs will be in just five years, let alone in 10 or 15 years. The industry often begins to shift before you’re ready, and you may be faced with the difficult, time-consuming and costly reality of replacing much of your data center infrastructure long before you planned to.

Given technology’s unpredictability, is there a way to protect data center infrastructure against becoming outdated and irrelevant too quickly?

There is: working with products that share the same form factor (physical size and shape). By basing your data center infrastructure on a versatile platform that can keep up with evolving trends, you’ll be able to increase density, include mixed media and accommodate different topologies – all within the same form factor. Products can easily be substituted or swapped out, enabling fast and simple upgrades.

7 Steps to Reduce Data Center ComplexityHere are a few examples of how patch panels, shelves, cassettes and frames with the same form factor  simplify data center management by allowing your data center to evolve and grow more easily.

Example No. 1: Patch Panels

With traditional patch panels, migration from a Base-12 to a Base-8 topology could mean a new patch panel infrastructure. But when manufacturers develop modular Base-8 components using their established form factor, they can accommodate either topology within a broad range of density configurations. Patch panel infrastructure doesn’t have to be replaced when it’s time to migrate – you can keep the patch panels you have, saving money and time. When they share the same form factor, Base-12 cassettes can be replaced with Base-8 cassettes through a simple swap.

Example No. 2: Mixed Media Requirements

In most of today’s data centers, copper cabling is used throughout. Copper can offer significant benefits in terms of cost savings, performance and reliability. But we’re seeing that fiber is likely to play a larger role in future high-speed protocols in order to address the need for increasing bandwidth, lower power usage and longer reach. When you’re ready to migrate to fiber from copper, you don’t want to be rushed – and you don’t want to make the move before you’re ready. When copper frames can easily be swapped out for fiber frames within the same patch panel, thanks to the same form factor, you can upgrade from copper to fiber on a timeline you’re comfortable with.

Form Factor Benefits Beyond Data Center Management

Belden offers its FX UHD solution, which allows you to standardize form factors across your entire enterprise – not just in your data center.

The FiberExpress UHD solution allows you to standardize form factors across your entire enterprise.

This versatile platform offers several benefits that are unique and hard to find from other manufacturers:

  • Accommodates both fiber and copper
  • Patch panels accommodate Base-8 and Base-12 topologies, within a broad range of density configurations up to 144 ports per RU (288 fibers)
  • Cassettes and frames carry the same form factor (both copper and fiber)
  • Optimizer cassettes allow migration from Base-12 to Base-8 with existing Base-12 trunks
  • Supports LAN applications (like passive optical LAN) with splitter cassettes based on the same form factor

Learn more about the Belden solutions that allow you to increase density and standardize form factors across your entire enterprise.

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