Although the ramifications of the dour economic climate have yet to be fully felt, networking market observers are already forecasting significant changes in 2009. Many predict organisations will look to reduce travel expenses and implement cost-effective mechanisms such as unified communications and video conferencing, increasing demand on the network. Meanwhile, virtualisation, which has had a strong hold in the storage and server space, will gain prominence as a network trend.
Additionally, going green and a move towards network services gained pace this year and will continue to play a role in how organisations think about their carbon footprint in the months ahead. In this feature, we take a look at the top-of-mind networking issues from this year and what customers will be demanding in 2009.
Looking back at 2008: Greeen Awareness
Measuring a vendor’s green credentials and their effectiveness poses a challenge for organisations. Many vendors are boasting their products are ‘green’ or environmentally friendly because they use less power than another branded competitor and in turn, result in cost savings.
Juniper Networks chief technology officer, Matt Kolon, said proving the green effectiveness of a networking solution was a problem it had run into for the past year.
“We’ve seen a lot of competitive vendors wanting to jump on this bandwagon who have started saying ‘we’re green’ and it’s not actually something quantifiable that either the channel, customer or regulator can evaluate,” he said. “We know this is a big issue.
“Without some type of metric, it’s all smoke and mirrors.”
In October, Juniper Networks established a joint venture with IP performance testing organisation, Ixia, to form an Energy Consumption Rating (ECR) initiative. It acts as a framework for measuring energy efficiency of network and telecom devices by looking at how many watts it takes to transmit 1Gbps.
“We’re trying to make an industry standard out of it that everyone can participate in,” Kolon said. “That cuts across all different sorts of equipment. There’s a draft specification on how to do it, but that will continue to develop and we’ll have customers saying this is that vendor’s ECR and this is what another vendor’s ECR is.”
Kolon said there was an opportunity for the channel to differentiate themselves by providing consultative information, education and integration services.
“Never mind that they can do their own validation and testing of these types of devices and provide an ECR metric to their customers, it’s a way to prove the customer is executing on their green plans,” he said.