A recent IDC research report estimates data center operators can save 34 percent annually with Unified Fabric. Historically companies have been running separate, parallel networks in their data center: an Ethernet-based LAN to connect servers, clients, and the broader Internet and a storage area network (SAN) to connect servers to the storage pool. The rise of protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) enables companies to collapse these networks down to a single common network infrastructure, thus saving capital costs by eliminating redundant switches, cables, and networking cards and adapters and saving operating costs by simplifying administration of these networks.
Cisco has taken FCoE a step further with its Unified Fabric, bringing the benefits of Ethernet everywhere to the end-to-end network and incorporating technology designed to improve agility and laying the groundwork to implement IT transformation. Unfortunately, confusion still exists in the market about the level of economic returns companies can achieve through network consolidation.
To determine the cost savings in the real world, IDC conducted an ROI study of six companies that have implemented Cisco Unified Fabric. The benefits of implementing Cisco Unified Fabric were determined to be greater than the benefits of implementing FCoE alone, partly because of the ability to deploy these products from one end of the network to the other and thus realize benefits at the core layer as well as the access layer and partly because of the greater benefits in terms of improved agility and staff efficiency. Overall, IDC found that the five-year ROI associated with a Unified Fabric deployment was 492% with a total net present value of $8.5 million (or $179, 673 per 100 users) and a payback period on the initial investment of less than 11 months. Further, implementing a fully converged, end-to-end network resulted in a 34% lower annual cost per user than collapsing the LAN/SAN access layer only. To learn more about these finding and if Unified Fabric can help you drive down data center cost download this IDC white paper.