Bringing intelligence to the network

Cisco’s observation that the “network is the platform” might have its roots in a compelling marketing campaign, but it’s fast becoming a reality for those working in the infrastructure space. With accelerating demand for mobility, increased use of multimedia applications and Web 2.0 technologies, and the associated security and storage issues that come with them, having a top notch network that is reliable today and scalable tomorrow is critical.

This Market Guide is focused on the key networking trends of the past year and what we can expect to grace the headlines in 2009. We’ve consulted a range of networking and industry experts to talk about what customer pain points they confronted this year, and how networking infrastructure is changing to meet these demands. We’ve also asked participants to give us their predictions on the top technologies affecting the network in the New Year.

New wireless technologies, such as 802.11N, and the need to secure more mobile endpoints including laptops, PDAs and phones, are changing the face of connectivity as well as security. An influx of more IP-based applications centrally managed on the network is also driving the need for media-ready infrastructure. Experts are tipping communications as-a-service, along with more intelligent networking technologies and virtualisation, as key areas to address in the next 12 months.

But while it’s clear network upgrades are going to be a necessity for any organisation looking to take advantage of these new tools, the economic downturn is expected to cut into customer spending. Channel players are going to need to be savvy and position these types of technologies as business enablers if they’re going to get customers over the line.

Emerging delivery mechanisms, such as managed services and cloud computing, are being touted as ways to bring down capital expenditure costs.

What’s also clear is sustainability and greener practices are becoming a deal maker or breaker. Channel players who can provide some environmental measurement and reporting around IT implementations are going to have an advantage going forward.

Alongside the advice, we’ve included a case study on how one government agency’s application project plans for better front-end services triggered an overhaul of its ageing network. The integrator called in to help, MatrixCNI, was not only faced with building better redundancy into the network, but also meeting cost and environmental guidelines. By using newer technologies such as virtualisation, the integrator was able to provide resiliency and flexibility, as well as scalability to address future needs.

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