Tuesday, October 17, 2017

UK businesses are doing their data centre network investments all wrong

Organisations warned they may struggle to cope with greater data volumes being transferred in and out of the network, as well as within it.

UK enterprises are missing out on new technological advances by holding on to old networking infrastructure which is hindering business.

According to an independent study commissioned by Ciena (NYSE: CIEN), 20% of UK businesses are  using equipment that is more than three years old, compared with 8% of businesses in Germany, for example.

The study, which has looked into enterprise IT investment strategies of 500 large British and German organisations, has also revealed significant investment disparity between these two major European markets, with the UK spending less annually and demonstrating a general focus on longer-term amortisation of network assets in the front office environment and data centre.

However, outside of the data centre, infrastructure is increasingly run for much longer in both markets, “which means that renew cycles are not keeping pace with the rest of IT in the business,” according to Ciena.

The company has pointed out that advances in Wi-Fi technology, faster Ethernet protocols and support for new broadband and fiber standards are not being fully exploited, meaning organisations may struggle to cope with greater data volumes being transferred in and out of the network, as well as within it.

In terms of spending, Ciena has calculated the mean average spent annually on data centre network infrastructure to be £161,000 in the UK, with a further £86,000 spent on WAN and interconnects.

However, in Germany, companies are spending an average of €326,000 annually on data centre network infrastructure and €140,000 on WAN and other interconnects.

From a market sector standpoint, the study concluded that the services sector is the most likely to invest in data centre infrastructure, with 94% having invested in key data centre network hardware (fiber, cabling, switches, routers, firewalls etc.) in the last three years.

This compares to 92% in the healthcare sector, 89% in the financial services sector and 87% in the retail sector. In addition, roughly 50% of healthcare respondents had done this investment within the last year.

Keri Gilder, Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Ciena, said: “As traffic volumes in both the data centre and in the office environment continue to surge, businesses are looking to extract maximum value from their infrastructure investments.

As the study shows, investment in external WAN bandwidth and interconnects is critical, but if it’s being connected to legacy equipment, the potential benefits of better and fluid bandwidth won’t be realized.”

Mervyn Kelly, EMEA Director, Ciena, said: “If there’s one key take away from this research, it is that a two-tier strategy for technology renewal cycles will always result in missed opportunities.

“New client and server hardware unlocks many benefits for users and the wider business. It makes little sense to curtail these by using obsolete network infrastructure that becomes a bottleneck for new IT investments instead of an enabler”