Inside Track: Spotting structure between network noise

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13 October 2015 | 0

“All businesses want to drive costs down to help maximise profits.” The statement, from Robin Hugo, networking product business manager for Dell’s EMEA Enterprise Centre of Competency, will hardly come as a surprise, but he added too that in order to achieve that at enterprise level, a quality network infrastructure management solution has now become an “essential”.

“Network management software that allows customers to plan the network for their current volumes of data and allows expansion (and contraction) of the number of network elements are essential especially as networks move more away from the traditional hardware base into software-defined networks and virtualised networks,” Hugo told TechPro.

Steve Coakley product manager BT Ireland_web

For some Irish organisations management tools can be an afterthought and for others network infrastructure management tools will be the key factor in determining their final purchasing decision, Steve Coakley, BT Ireland

This approach isn’t one that all businesses adhere to however, as Steve Coakley product manager with BT Ireland said. “For some Irish organisations management tools can be an afterthought and for others network infrastructure management tools will be the key factor in determining their final purchasing decision.”

Adrian Sadlier, Kedington solutions sales manager said the dividing line Coakley mentioned between different businesses will generally be rooted in “the particular customer and the mix of skills they have in-house.” Sadlier said that traditionally network infrastructure management hasn’t been high on the list for IT spend but now there’s “substantial growth” in this regard, “particularly in customers who have created lager consolidated data centre infrastructures.”

Chief technology officer with Datapac David Kinsella added that in the past, network administrators would “use a wide range of disparate tools” to perform different network management functions. Now, however, he and his colleagues are seeing a move to integrated network management tools which provide “single pane of glass” network management. “This allows for ease of management of the network and consolidation of different tools, which has significant efficiency and cost savings benefits too,” said Kinsella.

While elsewhere, other industry figures such as Donal Byrne, technical architect with Triangle and Agile Networks managing director Darragh Richardson weighed in on the present market, with the former telling TechPro: “What seems to be a growing requirement to ensure there is some unification of the management of network infrastructure and function.” This is occurring he said, either through an upper level management and monitoring platform or through a unified management approach “such as network hypervisors”. In many cases, he noted, “both are desirable”.

Adrian Sadlier, solutions division sales manager, Kedington

There has been a significant move in network infrastructure security towards a unified approach to authentication and access control, independent of the method of accessing the network. This has posed challenges for a number of incumbents in this space and seen the emergence of some very innovative solutions, Adrian Sadlier, Kedington

Richardson meanwhile commented that at present he’s “certainly” seeing clients who want greater visibility of the network and with a desire to know exactly how applications are performing on that network. “As soon as an end user complains of any problem the automatic assumption is ‘the network is down’. That means you are guilty until proven innocent — so IT needs the right tools to correctly and quickly diagnose and isolate the problem,” Richardson added.

Alongside network infrastructure management solutions, there’s been plenty of spend spread among different elements of the network by Irish businesses over the past 12. Trilogy Technologies’ professional services manager Simon Grant said that for some enterprises spending was necessary as they may have neglected “the foundation of the networking model which would be the physical layer and data-link layer.”

He continued, “All other network components sit on this layer, if this foundation is not solid the problems travels up to the other layers. Investment is key in this.”




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