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European CIOs get consolidation

Supplier diversity could suffer

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More than three-quarters of businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are looking to consolidate their existing IT infrastructure in the next 12 months, according to Brocade-commissioned research.

The research found that 76 per cent of enterprises consider IT consolidation to be one of the top three IT issues they face in the coming year, followed by both virtualisation and security.

When asked what they plan to consolidate, 70 per cent of respondents stated their existing servers, 56 per cent are considering storage and 54 per cent are focusing on databases. In addition 49 per cent stated their networks, and 47 per cent claimed their applications.

Brocade's product interest here is in converging Fibre Channel storage networking onto Ethernet via the FCoE protocol, and using Ethernet as the main networking medium within data centres.

The idea is that convergence onto a single network platform will simplify networking infrastructure complexity, reduce its acquisition and operational costs, and increase efficiency.

There is a parallel move to converge IT stacks; storage, server hardware and system software, and networking, onto an integrated set of components purchasable as an entity from a single supplier, with Cisco, HP, IBM and Dell, all making moves as server vendors to have a converged IT stack offering. The system software includes both operating system and hypervisors, and vendors talk about a virtualised data centre as being the destination of such convergence.

Brocade's research, which questioned 600 CIOs, shows that businesses this side of the Atlantic buy into IT convergence ideas, and think it will deliver a simplified infrastructure and one that is more agile, in the sense of responding faster to business requirements.

Brocade's EMEA VP, Alberto Soto, said: "The need for IT consolidation and its underlying technologies has gained widespread acceptance in recent years."

If the CIOs do what the research says they want to do then they will buy more uniform systems and applications from fewer suppliers. These suppliers really will have to have converged IT stack components that are effectively integrated or both best-of-breed and capable of slotting into converged IT stacks.

Supplier diversity could well suffer as a result. ®

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