Feeds

IP - it's complex, but it's here to stay

Businesses get real about network convergence

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Comment Fifteen years ago a plethora of different network communications protocols were being used for computer communications. Getting computers to talk to each other was a complex business and vendors like Novell made a good living enabling them to do so.

Things are different today – there is but one network protocol used for the vast majority of computer communications: the Internet Protocol or IP. This was the first round of "network convergence" that allowed any computer anywhere to easily communicate with another. Arguably, IP has been the most successful open computing standard ever.

But for the last 10 years or so, network convergence has come to mean something quite different. Vendors like Cisco who helped drive, and benefited from, the first round of network convergence saw an even greater opportunity. That was to take over an even larger network, the global network for voice communications. This second round is well underway and businesses are now using their single powerful IP network for far more than computer communications: voice calls, video communications, storage, networking, and so on. This has created a vast network of IP enabled devices that extends from our pockets to outer space.

A single standard on every device - all using a common language - sounds utopian and, compared to what might have been, it is pretty good. But businesses are left with some problems. First, having a single network for all communications means failure of that network can mean total communications failure. Fortunately, IP networks are resilient and such events are becoming rare. But a second problem is harder to mitigate – that is successfully managing the IP network to make sure it provides adequate performance at all times and that the right priority is given to different applications.

It is not surprising then, that in a recent survey by Quocirca, in which 473 senior IT and network managers from European and Middle Eastern enterprises were interviewed, they placed monitoring availability and performance as more important than user access when managing their IT networks. After all, access to a poorly performing network is not much use.

Quocirca's research also showed that there were gaps in the capability to manage IP networks over the importance placed on them. Respondents worried that their ability to integrate network management with other activities was lacking and that they had relatively poor access to information about and tools to proactively fix their networks.

Interestingly, small enterprises felt they had better IP management capabilities than larger ones. This may well be because the political issues around network convergence lessen in small organisations where there is more likely to be one group managing both the computer and voice communications requirement.

But the survey also showed that senior IT management is more bullish about their organisation's ability to overcome such concerns than those who report to them – a good thing if network convergence is to continue moving forward apace – the arguments need to be won at board level.

The complexity of managing a single IP network for so many different business critical applications is daunting, so many are turning to third parties for help. They majority of respondents were already working with managed service providers for most aspects of network management. In particularly sensitive areas like network security the number was as high as 90 per cent.

The message is clear, IP is here – big time – and seems to be here to stay; at the moment it is unrivalled as the emergent technology standard for all types of communications. Businesses accept this, but do face challenges in monitoring and managing their networks – they need third party help.

Quocirca's report - Managing 21st Century Networks is free to Reg readers. ®

Bob Tarzey is a service director at Quocirca focused on the route to market for IT products and services in Europe. Quocirca is a UK based perceptional research and analysis firm with expertise in the European and global IT markets.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.