As all the ways organizations use data change, so do technical requirements of the data center networks.
Besides sheer capacity demands, modern networks consist of diverse sets of equipment and software; are more distributed, increasingly reaching to edge locations; and, as a result of the above and the growth of machine learning applications, (both enabled by the networks and used to manage those networks) are more complex.
Omdia analysts recently surveyed IT leaders from 140 North American enterprises, each one with at least 101 employees working in North American offices and data centers today, about the features they most want in their data center networking technology today. Based on the responses, they compiled a customer wish list of sorts.
At the top of the list, predictably, was port speed, followed by interoperability, application awareness and VM movement tracking, and support for AI:
- Increased port speeds—a no-brainer upgrade decision that is vital for enterprises evolving their networks to remain competitive and current.
- Interoperability—using more open, standards-based equipment is becoming increasingly crucial for users as their networks become more diverse; this trend aligns with the increased adoption of Open Compute Project (OCP)-certified products, a phenomenon that Omdia has examined in its Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker - Q4 2019 report.
- Application awareness and automated tracking of virtual machine (VM) movements —these elements are important as more data center traffic gets routed from central DCs to edge locations, and networking users need to monitor their data across compute and storage, independent of the physical DC location.
- Support for AI—respondents are keen on the benefits AI promises, and have high aspirations for the technology to improve the way their networks handle increasing amounts of resource-intense traffic from machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) applications.
Here are the top 12 data center network features enterprises want today, according to the Omdia Data Center Network Strategies & Leadership North American Survey - 2019: