Network managers must look beyond simply increasing capacity, say analysts

With further growth in the UK's use of websites and online services expected in 2004, users will need more networking equipment,...

With further growth in the UK's use of websites and online services expected in 2004, users will need more networking equipment, web servers and bandwidth to cope with demand - but they should consider alternative options before they buy.

Businesses have become accustomed to adding bandwidth in response to growing pressure on their applications, but this may be a waste of money for many, Gartner analysts Mark Fabbi and Lawrence Orans have warned.

The analysts said IT managers should look beyond obvious bandwidth issues to cope with pressure on the network.

A deeper understanding of application architectures and how they run on the network, allowing network managers to identify which technologies can be combined, will improve application performance, Gartner advised.

For instance, online leisure and travel retailer Lastminute.com has moved away from the approach of simply adding capacity and has instead changed its ITinfrastructure to support its planned growth in 2004.

The company has already migrated most of its applications from four large Sun Sparc servers to 70 Intel Xeon processor-based blade servers, with a single image, running in four IBM xSeries blade centres.

"We found we kept having to increase capacity because the firm's rapid growth meant the server load was increasing by 70% to 100% each year," said Luther Garcia, manager of global e-commerce at Lastminute.com. "Rather than put more high-end servers in, we changed the architecture."

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This was last published in January 2004

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