Need for increased network bandwidth is IT's biggest datacentre pain-point

A majority of IT executives have said that a growing demand for increased network bandwidth is one of the most critical issues facing their datacentres

A majority of IT executives have said that a growing demand for increased network bandwidth is one of the most critical issues facing their datacentres, with more than half looking to deploy 100Gb ethernet by 2016 to improve input/output (I/O) performance in the datacentre.

The study of 1,529 IT executives in Europe and North America, by Emulex, found that server virtualisation, cloud computing, big data and the convergence of storage and data networks were the key factors adding unprecedented demand for network bandwidth in their datacentres.

A large majority (81%) of respondents admitted that growing demand for increased network bandwidth is their biggest datacentre worry.

About 76% of IT execs said that network I/O is the most critical bottleneck in the datacentre and about the same number of executives said that improving I/O performance in the datacentre was a high priority.

More than half of the respondents (52%) said that their need for network I/O increases by 60% or more annually, and an equal number of respondents said their datacentre networks will operate at 100Gbps in the next four years.

One of the surprising findings of the study is the rate at which the demand for bandwidth is increasing. “Today, 40% have already deployed 10Gb ethernet and, in another four years, the majority of those networks will be operating at 100Gbe. It’s truly unprecedented,” said Shaun Walsh, senior vice-president of marketing and corporate development at Emulex.

Virtualisation, cloud, big data and convergence affecting datacentre networks

Among the four key factors driving the unprecedented demand for network bandwidth in the data centre, 85% of IT executives said network I/O was a significant gating factor in limiting how many virtual machines they could run on a single physical server.

As for the impact of cloud computing, 40% of respondents said that the bandwidth expansion required to support migration to the cloud was 25% or more.

A large majority (63%) of IT executives said that big data applications will cause the amount of storage connected to datacentre networks to increase by at least 50% over the next two years. IT professionals also anticipated that big data will increase their organisation’s need for network bandwidth in the datacentre by more than 50% in the same timeframe.

With regards to convergence, 78% of IT pros said that data and storage networks would inevitably converge into a single, consolidated network. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of IT organisations have either already moved to a single, converged network for data and storage, or have plans to do so in the near future.

CIOs and IT executives are genuinely concerned about how to keep pace with the demand for increased through-put on datacentre networks and are taking measures such as deploying 100Gb ethernet to overcome the challenges.

Read more on Datacentre capacity planning

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