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May 04, 2009

Global Study: State of the Network

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Network Instruments (News - Alert), a provider of innovative analysis solutions for in-depth network intelligence and continuous availability, has announced today the release of its third annual State of the Network Global Study.

According to study findings, three-quarters of companies will have invested in virtualization and unified communications by the end of the year, despite the worst economic downturn since World War II. The biggest drivers behind this projection are the perceived cost savings and quick return on investments.
While this news is positive for this industry, the study also determined that some companies are not adequately prepared. In fact, 75 percent of the organizations that are rushing to roll out new network technologies do not have the tools and visibility necessary to monitor and troubleshoot performance problems.

This comprehensive study included nearly 450 CIOs, network engineers and IT managers throughout the world. It also explored the economy’s impact on virtualization and unified communications in addition to primary challenges in managing these technologies.

Key findings from the study highlight that more than half of all applications will run on virtual machines by 2011; companies deploying video conferencing solutions will double by 2010; 65 percent of network teams have not experienced layoffs and do not expect to in the near future; more than half of the surveyed companies lacked the appropriate tools or visibility into virtual environments; 80 percent struggle with identifying the problem source as their primary troubleshooting challenge; and 45 percent view virtualization as the greatest emerging monitoring challenge.

"While organizations have the right idea investing in technologies that reduce corporate expenses and improve productivity, they're failing to invest in appropriate monitoring tools," said Charles Thompson, product manager of Network Instruments, in a Monday statement. "This will actually create larger problems that can halt business processes and cause network teams to waste countless hours troubleshooting."

As 75 percent of organizations have virtual network environments, the majority are running less than 25 percent of applications on virtual machines. This is expected to rapidly increase over the next two years. Yet as the majority of companies still cite monitoring in such an environment as a critical challenge, vendors will need to address this challenge and turn it into a market opportunity.

The study also found that the majority of companies will implement some form of unified communications within the next 12 months. More than half will have deployed video conferencing and unified messaging by 2010.

VoIP adoption also continues to enjoy strong growth as 78 percent of companies have deployed in 2009, a 12 percent increase over 2008. VoIP quality is also gaining attention as 40 percent of companies are now monitoring call quality compared to 30 percent in 2007.

Application delivery and performance is considered to be the biggest challenge for 37 percent of network professionals. This indicates a shift of duties from the network to application management.

This study highlights that changes are taking place rapidly within the enterprise as innovative technologies are demonstrating their worth and their ability to cut operation costs.

As companies continue to struggle with a shaky economy, staying viable will rely on cost structures and virtualization and unified communications technologies offer innovative solutions that also save considerable costs. Such a platform will help to continue to drive adoption even in the economic recovery.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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