Mar 17 2014

What’s on Your Network Infrastructure Wish List?

CDW asks IT leaders about what network upgrades they'd wish for if given the chance.

Budget is a common barrier, but IT leaders want networks that can improve the way their organizations do business, according to research conducted by CDW.

In its Surveying Your Network report, an August 2013 study of network initiatives planned by IT decision-makers from the CDW Advisory Board (CAB), CDW asked IT leaders to name the network upgrades they’d make. Among the items on their wish lists were technologies for improving network speed, reliability and security.

Build a Faster Network 

To make their networks faster — and to improve connectivity, throughput and application performance for remote offices — many IT leaders said they’d install fiber cabling, migrate to 10 Gig-E backbones and optimize WANs and LANs.

“If money were no object, we would install several miles of fiber cabling and add the associated hardware to support the infrastructure,” said an IT manager working at a medium-sized financial services institution. Another respondent, an IT manager at a midsized transportation company, echoed the need for speed: “If budget weren’t an issue, WAN optimizers would be on my list, because I’ve never heard a user complain that the WAN was too fast.”

Improve Infrastructure Reliability

For improved reliability, wish lists included upgrading the core infrastructure through improvements to routers and switches, firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs); developing better backup and recovery processes; and deploying high-performance storage area networks (SANs).

Make Management Matter-of-Fact

Also on IT lists are automated tools and proactive endpoint devices to simplify network management. Ways to ease complexity include deploying network management systems that centralize management; automated monitoring; virtualizing networks, servers and desktops; and migrating to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud environment.

An IT manager from a large manufacturing company noted, “We have an extensive network that spans many sites throughout the globe. We should have network monitoring tools or probes in place to help us better manage our network, but we don’t.”

“From a maintenance, security and backup perspective, it makes sense to move the network infrastructure to the cloud,” said the IT director of an SMB in the computers/ electronics industry.

Increase Network Visibility

With no spending ceiling, CAB members said they’d improve traffic management and security by deploying central controllers for managing switch configuration, traffic flow, and access points (APs), as well as smarter switches and firewall devices.

I see our network broadening and users hungering for data and accessibility,” said a network engineer at a large company in the distribution/warehousing industry. “I’d like to increase visibility into what’s going on with our network, and secure and manage it."

Want to learn more? Check out CDW’s Top Network Optimization Projects for 2014 white paper.

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