Network Agility, Increased Productivity Driving Need for IT Consolidation: Report

A survey of businesses across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from Brocade finds a majority of companies view IT consolidation as critical to future success.

In a bid to increase network performance, simplify management and enhance business efficiency, more than three-quarters of enterprises across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are looking to consolidate their existing IT infrastructure in the next 12 months, according to a report commissioned by IT research firm Brocade. The research found that 76 percent of enterprises consider IT consolidation to be one of the top three IT issues they face in the coming year, followed by both virtualization and security.
The 600 EMEA CIOs questioned in the study said they expect tomorrow's corporate networks to fulfill a wide range of sometimes-conflicting demands. They wanted unprecedented scalability but reduced management complexity (61 percent) and demanded seamless mobility and increased agility (38 percent). Nearly half wanted emerging networking technologies to complement the investments they are making today, instead of forcing them to refresh the entire environment in a wholesale "rip-and-replace" exercise, while reducing the total cost of ownership.
"Tomorrow's networking environment will consolidate user application traffic and storage data traffic onto a single, high-performance, highly available network that has the built-in intelligence to identify different traffic types and handle them appropriately, according to predefined rules," said Alberto Soto, Brocade vice president for the EMEA market. "The benefits of a unified network are clear in terms of increasing performance and enabling business productivity, not to mention reducing complexity."
The report found network performance is a critical business driver, with over half of respondents citing reduced productivity (resulting from legacy systems) as having a significant effect on business success. As testament to this, 40 percent of IT departments are now spending between 10 to 30 percent of their time reacting to network downtime instead of investing in business development.
According to Brocade's research, 73 percent of organizations in the U.K. said the biggest driver for consolidation is IT simplification, while in Germany the biggest driver is increased agility. In France 21 percent of organizations are not even considering consolidation. In the U.K., 46 percent of organizations are looking to reduce overall operating costs by consolidating IT systems; in France, the figure drops to 30 percent.
However, according to the research, the drive to consolidate does have its barriers. A third of European respondents face resistance from within their organization, while application diversity (49 percent) and platform diversity (42 percent) are also seen as major hurdles to overcome. Perceived business benefits include improved resource utilization (39 percent), lower overall complexity (36 percent), process and operational standardization (34 percent), and cost reduction (31 percent).
"As our research illustrates, the need for IT consolidation and its underlying technologies has gained widespread acceptance in recent years. The issue isn't whether or not companies will consolidate-the issue is the approach. Brocade has paved the way for consolidation by combining the best characteristics of existing and emerging technologies into a new network strategy that is purpose-designed for virtualized data centers," Soto said. "Through these innovations, Brocade is delivering a new level of operational simplicity and seamless elasticity to help our customers more efficiently manage and grow their data centers."