Building the backbone

Network operating systems have undergone notable changes over the last few years. NME examines the nature of these enhancements, and how they have transformed the way enterprise networks perform.

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By  Sean Robson Published  January 10, 2009

While vendors tend to view the changes in network operating systems as features and functions added, end-users look at it in the form of operational effeciency.

"I don't think the question is as much about what has changed in terms of NOS as there are new systems constantly coming on the market, like all the Windows upgrades, which offer added value but instead about how quickly and efficiently can you update to the changes," comments GV Rao, general manager ICT, United Development Company in Qatar.

Over the last year especially, the increased adoption of virtualisation technologies, and the appearance of operating systems specifically made for these environments has been garnering increasing interest and attention from regional enterprise end-users.

Enterprises are using our network operating system for the consolidation and delivery of services and applications across distributed environments to ensure consistent accessibility and availability from anywhere at any time.

"The biggest change that I have witnessed, not just over the last year but rather the last two to three years, is a growing trend towards virtualised operating systems," says Indranil Guha, manager IT infrastructure, Dubai Roads Transport Authority.

Making their mark

With the plethora of new and evolved systems coming into the market there is little doubt that there has been an impact felt in the enterprise network space.

In addition, the latest in operating systems offer enterprise networks the ability to protect the services and applications against business risks and sophisticated threats while offering operational improvements to help reduce cost incurred by administrative and training initiatives.

"We have been running mainly on Windows Server 2003 for the past year and it has definitely given us added features and functionality together with improved security and stability," says Bassem Aboukhater, regional IT director MEA, Leo Burnett group.

Even though the average features set of operating systems have increased, many enterprise end-users continue to run multiple network operating systems on their hardware.

IT professional Rao runs three operating systems across his various servers. "We have Unix, Windows and Linux operating systems in our firm. Since we keep upgrading our systems we have new and old operating systems, but we make sure that all NOS are at least synchronised with the latest patches."

"We have definitely garnered a few benefits especially as far as Linux is concerned. It is virus-free, easy to install and maintain and I don't need to have a highly skilled staff to run it," Rao elaborated.

With multiple operating systems becoming an increasing reality, and integration becoming an issue, end-users are moving towards more open standards based architecture.

"What we are hearing is that our open infrastructure benefits enterprises as it allows them to download a free development kit such that they can develop their own ways of dealing with the network," says Baaba.

"Enterprises are using our NOS for the consolidation and delivery of services and applications across distributed environments to ensure consistent accessibility from anywhere at any time. They are also able to leverage rapid deployment and scaling of new services and applications to support evolving business demands," says Abbas.

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