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Net infrastructure geared for upgrade

Posted: 01 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:systimax solutions? network manager?

A global research study on network connectivity reveals that IT decision-makers are more receptive to adopting new and better technologies to ensure bandwidth. They also consider physical network infrastructure as an investment rather than a cost.

In a survey report titled "Meeting the Network Connectivity Challenge" by Systimax Solutions, majority of the 2,165 IT and network managers across 48 nations said they were willing to shift to new technologies for physical infrastructure of their network systems.

"IT managers always have an eye on the future. They look at cabling and connectivity as investments, not costs," said Ispran Kandasamy, VP and managing director of Asia-Pacific operations at Systimax.

Kandasamy noted that, traditionally, people saw cabling as a commodity so they settled for the lowest cost possible, only to realize that the wrong kind of cabling lessens productivity. "If you can't handle future applications, your business will not be as efficient at it should be."

Questions in the survey about wireless networking showed that 78 percent of the respondents are either using wireless technology or intend to use it in new installations. Eighty-one percent of the respondents see wireless technology as an overlay or extension to their existing cabling infrastructures.

Kandasamy clarified that, traditionally, people see wireless technology as a threat to cabling. Survey results reverse this notion. "Only 14 percent see wireless technology as a replacement for cabling. Most of the respondents see wireless working in tandem with cabling," he said.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents said that they would use category 6 copper cabling (1Gbps) for new installations of network physical infrastructure. Meanwhile, 16 percent would opt for augmented category 6 copper cabling (10Gbps), a relatively new technology with fairly low market awareness.

The survey also revealed that data centers are expected to be the first movers to 10GbE. Respondents would pick multimode fiber (47 percent) or laser optimized multimode fiber, or OM3 (32 percent), when installing fiber cable, showing that data centers lean on adopting cost-effective 10Gbps OM3 fiber.

Furthermore, 45 percent of respondents anticipate 10GbE implementation in their data center server connections in two years time, while 10 percent have already installed it in their system backbone and 54 percent is expected to do the same in two years.

Intelligent infrastructure

Kandasamy said that even if network engineers have a clear understanding of the need for high-performance connectivity, one thing they do lack is knowledge of intelligent infrastructure management solutions.

"We know we have a lot to do in education. It is clear that you can have the most sophisticated technology from an infrastructure perspective, but if you don't have a robust process methodology to document all of those changes in your network, you will end up with problems down the line," Kandasamy said.

The importance of effective cable and patch cord management is rated as high priority by 87 percent of the respondents, thus underlining the need for efficient management of the cabinets and racks housing the physical network infrastructure. Forty-nine percent of the respondents have yet to consider an intelligent patching system to aid their infrastructure management. Only 19 percent currently use a patching system partially or wholly in their system and 26 percent plan to use it in new installations.

Systimax offers the InstaPatch Plus, a plug-and-play solution from a fiber perspective for data centers. It automates the traditionally manual work of splicing or joining cables, which is important for data centers that have space and deployment constraints for fiber solutions that connect servers and switches. It reduces on-site installation time and offers data centers a smooth migration from serial to parallel optical transmission technologies as they are added later.

Vibrant market

"Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region for Systimax," said Kandasamy. "We are excited about our opportunities here, particularly in China and India," adding that China has the largest business for Systimax outside of the United States.

"India is a smaller country in terms of accessible market. However, it has the fastest growing connectivity business in the world," Kandasamy said.

He also noted that countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are promising in the field of connectivity infrastructure business. "Indonesia is a small country with relatively small infrastructure, so there is a great opportunity there for anyone who is in the infrastructure business," said Kandasamy.

He said that each country has it unique setting point, noting that large multinational companies based in Singapore would always want the best network infrastructure solutions they could get hold of.

"The most significant finding was the fact that the IT managers worldwide are very willing to adopt the latest or newest cabling technology," said Kandasamy. "IT managers now recognize that cabling is very important to them, because when they choose the right cable, they will safeguard and future-proof their network capability to manage future high bandwidth application."

"We know that the IEEE standard for 10GbE over copper will be ratified in 2006. As soon as it comes out, these countries will follow the standard. This will enable them to be aware of the latest technologies and the impact on their businesses," he said.

Kandasamy expects decision-makers around the world to benefit from their study. "Like all investments, you've got to choose carefully and wisely so you can reap the rewards in the future," he said.

- Reden Mateo

Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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