N+I: Users re-evaluate merits of best-of-breed

IT professionals at this week's NetWorld+Interop conference in Las Vegas left a clear message to network equipment vendors. New...

IT professionals at this week's NetWorld+Interop conference in Las Vegas left a clear message to network equipment vendors. New development efforts are fine, but functionality and performance are top of the priority lists.

Tight budgets are forcing many users to re-evaluate investments they made over the past few years in network equipment and software and remake that package into a coherent management architecture, according to Paul Bugala, research analyst at market research group IDC.

This drive is leading customers to turn their attention away from smaller niche network management vendors to established, larger framework providers, he said.

"The appeal of best-of-breed products is fading. The idea of having an integrated product [with] a little less functionality and the ability to deal with less vendors is more appealing [to customers]," Bugala said.

Users, he added, are going back to the larger vendors to expand on products they already have. Solving issues such as capacity planning, applications and systems management under one umbrella are now paramount.

Bugala pointed out that many users might not ready to deploy complex applications such as Internet Protocol services, but they would like to know tools exist from their vendors to manage those products in the future.

That, in turn, is fuelling research and development initiatives by large and forward-thinking vendors to discern customers' eventual needs in handling complex network issues such as SAN management, VoIP and mobile IP, he added.

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