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Brocade: Channel partners must get up to speed with SDN

06 Dec 13

'Data centre availability' is customers' biggest concern, and there's work ahead for some channel partners in getting up to speed with SDN, according to a global channel survey, released today.

The Channel Survey 2013 report, from Brocade, polled 350 of Brocade's resellers and systems integrators globally, including those in 'Australasia'. No New Zealand specifics were available. Westcon and Avnet were among those involved in the survey globally.

The report found that data centre availability is the primary concern – at 40% of respondents – to meet demand for vitualisation and software-defined networking. The survey also indicated that concern is limiting innovation and the adoption of next-generation applications and services.

“This poses an immediate opportunity for the channel to seize a competitive advantage by becoming strategic advisors to global enterprises and helping them understand how fabric-based data centre environments deliver tomorrow's networks today,” Brocade says.

The research found fabrics gaining recognition as the foundation for data centre evolution, with 60% of end users viewing fabrics as the future of the network, however a reactive approach to network investment is risking business growth and stability.

Almost a third of the respondents stated their customers only invested in networks to support the deployment of a specific new application or service, and more than one in 10 admitted investment was made only when the network was already failing.

Topping the list of drivers for network investment are the desire to adopt virtualisation and demand for faster access to data and applications, both at 41%. Demand for greater bandwidth (32%) rounded out the top three. The need to support increasing data volumes (25%), just beat out the need to support mobility (24%).

The survey also highlights work for the channel. While a quarter of the channel believes SDN will be a significant trend by 2020, a third admit to knowing little about it.

Meanwhile channel respondents cited 'competition from vendors' and 'lack of experienced sales people' as well as 'low awareness of services value' as the top three challenges they face in building their services revenue.

Greig Guy, Brocade ANZ country manager, says despite growing recognition that fabrics 'are the future of data centre networking' many enterprises are still relying on legacy environments which are no longer fit for purpose, especially as they look to leverage the benefits of software-defined networking. - and this presents the channel with a terrific opportunity.

“Channel partners who can help customers take the journey to fabrics will succeed in the new networking landscape,” he says.

“Our findings clearly illustrate there is an immediate need for partners to engage customers now, and help them on their journey to a fabric-based data centre infrastructure.”