Data centre availability is top enterprise concern: report
Brocade reveals findings of Channel 2020 global survey
Data centre availability has topped the list of IT concerns that enterprises face, according to the latest Channel 2020 global survey conducted by data centre networking vendor, Brocade Communications Systems.
The survey aimed to uncover business pain points and identify areas of opportunity in the networking domain for channel organisations, Brocade said. Over 350 of the company's channel partners, including Mindware and Westcon, both of which have significant operations in the Middle East, participated in the research
Over 60% of respondents see fabric technologies as the future of data centre networks and while adoption of new data centre technologies in the Middle East has been encouraging, Khaled Kamel, territory channel manager, MENA, Brocade, feels that channel organisations need to play a key role in guiding customer investments.
"Virtualisation and cloud are hot topics in the Middle East and customers can be easily swayed into making investments in these technologies because of the perceived benefits that have so often been touted in the media," he said.
"However, channel players need to highlight the underlying concern of data centre availability and ensure that the customer's underlying infrastructure is ready to support not just today's but also future requirements."
Earlier this year, Gartner predicted that IT infrastructure spending in the MEA region would reach $4bn in 2013, with primary drivers being data centre consolidation coupled with new data centre build outs. However, a third of Brocade's channel respondents stated that customers only invest in networks to support deployment of a specific new application or service and more than one in 10 admitted that investment was only made when networks were already failing.
"These investments are short-sighted and are likely to lead to network breakdown," said Kamel.
Vendor financing could be key to addressing regional investment challenges. Some 63% of channel players saw this as "vital" or "more important" over the next few years as an almost equal number still believe that budget constraints still have a "significant impact" on customers' ability to invest in technology. Vendor support could even help address "lack of experienced sales people" and "low awareness of services value", which were cited to be among the top three challenges faced by the channel when building services portfolios.
Other key findings of the report include the five top drivers of network investment, which are the desire to adopt virtualisation (41%); demand for faster access to data and applications (41%); demand for greater bandwidth (32%); the need to support increasing data volumes (25%); and the need to support mobility (24%).
The survey also found that a quarter of the channel believe software-defined networks (SDN) will be a significant trend by 2020, but currently a third admit to knowing little about SDN. Additionally, flexibility, not cost savings, is the main reason customers adopt the cloud (cited by almost a third of respondents), followed by fast adoption of applications according to 18%.