Is Data Center Networking Discontinuity Driving Increased Network Budgets and Network Headcount?

As organizations continue to consolidate data centers and increase their use of server virtualization technology, IT departments are forced to respond by building out massively scalable data center network environments. However, are data center networks evolving fast enough to survive (in current form) in a rapidly changing world? Jon Oltsik called this problem data-center-networking-discontinuity/index.html">Data Center Network Discontinuity and data from the forthcoming ESG's 2012 IT Spending Intentions survey (which I've gotten a preview of) indicates that we may be starting to see the first signs of this occurring.

Although most overall IT budgets are edging up slightly, network budget growth is much more robust. Almost 60% of respondents (58%) report that they will be increasing their network budgets in 2012. The larger the organization(enterprises with 1,000 or more employees), the greater the increase. In fact, 21% of enterprises expect to increase spend by 8% or more.

Where will this money be spent? According to our research it will be spent on:

  • Network security. As the network environments scale, organizations will require their security services to scale with them and be more tightly integrated with the network. For more on security spending see Jon Oltsik's security blog.
  • Network management. The key to managing more with less will be better network management tools. However, with only so many span ports to connect to, organizations will need to find solutions to help them scale their network management/monitoring coverage for the whole environment. This could bode well for companies like Anue, Gigamon, Netoptics, and VSS that will be instrumental in providing visibility across massively scalable networks. Especially for those 10 GbE networks. This management at scale may also open the door for SDN/OpenFlow vendors to highlight the virtues of their solutions.
  • WAN optimization. It's not just for the troublesome remote office anymore. As organizations continue to consolidate data centers, connect to cloud and SaaS providers, and try to deliver a solid user experience for remote workers, we expect more organizations will be taking an enterprise wide approach to optimizing their connections. Especially as latency sensitive applications like video, desktop virtualization and VoIP (see next bullet) continue to proliferate in the data center. Established WAN optimization vendors like Blue Coat, Cisco, Citrix, Riverbed, SilverPeak, and others have already started to adapt their solutions to meet these emerging needs.
  • VoIP. One third of the respondents indicated that they would make investments in VoIP solutions. With a rapidly changing and increasingly remote workforce, VoIP solutions provide greater flexibility options. As networks continue to converge, we expect this will also include video and even desktop virtualization as well. So organizations would do well to look for both solutions.
  • Headcount. ESG found that 36% of organizations plan to hire additional network staff - fortunately, most believe there are plenty to be found. The only area that showed a higher increase in adding more people was security.

You can read Bob's other blog entries at Data Center Continuum.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking