This year, we saw the emergence of virtual appliances from many networking vendors and, in 2011, we will see architects leverage the flexibility of this new category of products in their data centre designs. This dynamic data centre design will also be the first step for many enterprises in unlocking their workloads from single locations to enable workload distribution across multiple data centres internally, as well as in moving towards infrastructure-as-a-service cloud-based offerings.
D-Link marketing director, Maurice Famularo 1. Storage Storage has always been an important technology area and, with increases in disk capacities and advances in networked storage technology and cloud storage, I think it will continue to grow in strength in 2011.
The trend to store more information and content on ever increasing hard disk volumes is nothing new. But whereas a few years ago we would have seen most of these drives directly attached to computers, now we are seeing them going into network storage units or in the cloud.
Just as important as the volume of information is the accessibility to digital media and this is true for both the home and the small to medium business market. Consumers and businesses are asking; can you access digital media whenever you want it, or from wherever you happen to be at the time? And is the information still there when something goes wrong? Hard drives are mechanical devices and they can still fail. You may have stored information on a network drive, but if it is not backed up properly then you may as well have stored data on a local drive. Sometimes, you only find out how good your backup is after it’s too late.
So there are a whole lot of value-adds around storage which are ultimately more important than just storage volumes. As a technology manufacturer, that means supporting networked and cloud storage technologies that provide the infrastructure to get data wherever it has to go, whether it’s across the network or the Internet. And for resellers, that means cutting through the complexities of storage, accessibility and backup issues to provide the right solutions for individual consumers and businesses. I think that is a huge growth area.
2. IPv6 With the number of Internet addresses constantly being whittled away, fewer than 5 per cent of IPv4 addresses in the world are now available and they reckon that by the middle of 2011 they will be all gone. That’s not surprising when you consider that IPv4 only supports a bit over 4 billion addresses, less than there are people on the planet. IPv6, the next version of the Internet protocol, on the other hand, supports trillions of trillions of trillions of addresses so, theoretically, we should never run out of IP addresses ever again. Because of this, I think that this area will be something that is going to start to gain some momentum in 2011.
From a D-Link perspective, we have been making router products that have been IPv6 compatible for quite some time now. More and more customers have been asking about our support for IPv6 and seeing it as a significant value add. That is good for our resellers, not only to help them win more business, but also in being seen as trusted advisors about future networking technologies.
3. Green IT Despite falling off the main agenda in terms of customer decision-making and news reporting in 2010, I think Green IT is going to make some type of resurrection next year.
At D-Link we have always made sure our products have complied with Green standards. All our power supplies meet industry energy efficiency standards. In many key areas our products are way ahead of minimum standards, particularly with the Green technology built into so many of our switches and routers. At the same time, we have been making sure that our products are produced with the effective removal of hazardous materials. And our initiatives around the proper disposal and recycling of equipment all continue to happen.
At the moment, we are not winning business deals because of these green initiatives; we are winning deals because we produce good solutions that people need. Green technology is not the number one decision item within the decision making process. People are not saying, “if it is not Green, we are not buying it.” But Green technology is still seen as a bonus and I see it moving up the decision-making agenda in 2011 to become more and more important.
Jabra managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Mike Powrie The developments in networking technology are moving the global business community forward, primarily through the emergence and uptake of flexible technologies such as unified communications (UC). Until now, technologies which provide the widespread benefits that UC offers, have mainly been a benefit to bigger organisations.
In 2011 and beyond, we anticipate an increased adoption of UC across small to mid-size businesses, as the technologies and tools become more mainstream and businesses recognise the true benefits it offers. This will be even more of a reality when the National Broadband Network (NBN) or its equivalent becomes available.
Bigger businesses that started trialling UC over the past couple of years will mature in their use of UC and it will become more broadly deployed, expanding the business benefits across the spectrum. With the promise of game-changing national infrastructure on the agenda, we expect increasing numbers of Australian employees will begin to push for a more flexible working environment. This will encourage businesses to seek and implement solutions which enable greater workforce flexibility and mobility, such as headset and telephony solutions. Both unified communications and UC-compatible headset solutions give employees the freedom to work from home, the office, and on the road more seamlessly using softphones and improved data speeds (e.g. Telstra 3.5G).
As well as improving mobility and connectivity, the implementation of a national infrastructure that improves unified communications will result in a more sustainable workforce. More employees working from home will result in less traffic and less travel, both locally and interstate. This has benefits for work/life balance as well as positives for the environment.
Headsets will become a much more critical part of the UC solution with wideband support and noise cancelling as mandatory features, especially for workers moving from one environment to another as part of their work day. Headsets will need to keep pace with these changes with longer talk times before recharge, improved audio conferencing devices, state of the art noise cancelling, smallest form factor, and increased talk time to ensure employees are able to work and stay connected anywhere in Australia.
To match the needs of the SMEs entering the UC space, lower cost, multi-featured UC headsets will become available in 2011 that are more suited to smaller businesses. In the longer term, the NBN will drive networking improvements and UC adoption in Australia. It promises faster connections, more network stability and improved download speeds. Combine this with faster mobile data speeds and seamless access across a variety of devices, and Australian employees will be transformed into a more mobile, connected, flexible workforce.