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GCN : May 2014
Sponsored Report Experts often say that cloud and virtualization technology are two of the big contributors to the complexity of the enterprise. As it turns out, however, they also might be part of the solution. A recent survey of government IT professionals found that agen- cies are increasingly interested in leveraging cloud- and virtualiza- tion-based solutions as a way to manage network resources more ef ciently. One emerging option is the soft- ware-de ned or virtual network. In this approach, the control plane, which determines which path data will travel, is moved from the hardware and into software. This makes it possible to manage various network devices from a centralized software controller, giving IT managers much more exibility in how they allocate and reallocate those resources. SDN is still a relatively new technology, but the survey, con- ducted by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, found that interest in it is growing. Only 18 percent of respondents said their agen- cies had fully adopted SDN, but 48 percent said their agencies are in the process of adopting it, and another 26 percent said their agencies are investigating it. However, while SDN is promis- ing, it does take some prepara- tion, wrote Andre Kindness, an infrastructure and operations analyst with Forrester Research, a market research and consulting rm, in a recent blog post. Kindness said organizations should "industrialize" operations by standardizing their operational processes and skillsets around the Information Technology Infrastruc- ture Library of concepts and best practices. Additionally, organiza- tions should invest in good net- work monitoring tools, so that they have better infrastructure visibility. The survey also found that agencies were adopting network management applications tailored to the cloud-based environment. All told, 43 percent of respon- dents said their agencies had adopted cloud-speci c network management applications, with another 39 percent planning to do so within the year. But there is an even more promising prospect on the horizon: Cloud-based network manage- ment tools for managing the whole environment. These tools are designed to allow organizations to manage various networks from a central location, possibly through a Software-as-a-Service application. In the early going, many large organizations have not adopted cloud-based network manage- ment tools, saying they lack high-end management options, according to the Aberdeen Group, a market research and consult- ing rm. However, that is quickly beginning to change. In a recent study, the Aberdeen Group found that organizations using cloud-based tools were more likely to adopt the kind of good network management dis- ciplines associated with "strong enterprise-class network imple- mentations." • FULL REPORT ONLINE, Go to GCN.com/NetworkingandStorage Agencies invest in infrastructure upgrades Network complexity poses performance challenge Storage managers face big jump in data storage Storage plans to mix new and old solutions Other Network and Storage Research Report Articles BEST PRACTICES IN NETWORKING AND STORAGE EFFICIENCY Virtualization looms large in network planning Virtualization on the rise % of respondents characterizing the state of software-de ned networking at their agencies NOT INTERESTED Source: 1105 Public Sector Media Group study 48% 8% 18% 26% FULLY ADOPTED INVESTIGATING IN PROCESS OF ADOPTING