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5 Signs Your Network Switches Need Upgrading

Posted by Liam Pickard

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30-Jul-2015 11:00:00

"25 Billion Connected "Things" in use by 2020"

Gartner Report

Switches are the glue that binds your network together and allows all the different components of your business class network to communicate to each other. Once a simple task network only needed to communicate to a only a few fixed end points, now though (in case you hadn't noticed) things have changed. Just on my desk alone I have a desktop, mobile phone, IP phone and a fancy smart watch on my wrist. All these devices connected to my network and all putting my switches under pressure! You can clearly see that to keep up with just the growth of devices on your network your network will need to change.

The well documented growth in devices is just 1 reason to upgrade your network switching, today though I am going to look at 5 other signs that it is time to upgrade.

Upgrade-available

1. All about the APPS

Applications have been changing and evolving alongside the changes in networks. Where as applications used to be kept on your servers and it was easy to monitor and control usage and quality of service (QoS), just like many aspects of the enterprise IT structure these tools are moving out towards the edge. The rise of devices and mobility has empowered the end user and the business to wonderful effect. This has come at the expense of an easy life for the Network Manager though as this dispersed application deployment and sudden increase in complexity has made managing the application across the network harder and more time consuming. An integrated approach to your network, through solutions such as Cisco's One platform is enabling IT teams to get a simpler view and provides and easy to use single view management platform. Your switches though will need to be able to cope with the changes and older platforms simply were not designed with this fundamental change in delivery. If your applications are moving perhaps it is time for those old switches to move out the way too!

2.  Converging Wired and Wireless

Not that long ago your wired network was the mainstay of your network and the wireless side was a luxury reserved for the top brass, or specific departments. Now however the two are seen by the end user as all part of the same network, and really we need to be managing the two as one. Not only does this offer practical advantages by giving you just one network to manage, converging the two propels your end user forward and reduces support tickets "because I can't connect when i unplug".  The difficulties with this come from, you've guessed it, your old switches which were not designed for this kind of work. Getting the right platform and access rights setup across a wide network are difficult at the best of time, with your current solution the chances are your doubling the work load as you are unable to truly combine the flow of traffic and user rights. Unified Access solutions that are built into your switching enable a much simpler management view and easier movement from the wired to wireless infrastructure for the end user. 

3. Faster than a speeding packet! 

That's right the world is not slowing down it is just getting faster. Not only has investment in the backbone infrastructure from governments allowed for better speeds, the advancements in networking driven by service level and competitive requirements means we now can go super fast. We already have the 1 Gb network and right around the corner is the next wave of 10Gb solutions. These super fast networks are designed to cope with the growth in devices and the surge of data that we are experiencing. According to research conducted by IDC " four years from now, the Interned of Things will need 750 percent more data center capacity" and with that tsunami coming in you will need to ready or get swept aside by your faster than light competitors.

4. Growing Pains

If your business is experiencing growth then your network simply might not be able to cope. Increased demands on the switch can lead to system failures and dramatic losses in service quality. Growth is well documented as technically difficult time for business. Grow to quickly and you can't keep up and the growth will stall and suffer shrinkage! A key area of any business growth is the technology that it uses to get there. Identifying switching that can support your current needs but allows you to scale as you need will mitigate the risk involved. Take for example the Cisco Nexus range from technology giants Cisco. The ability to grow and scale as you require is part of the DNA of the product, the fabric based solutions allows you to manage growth in a simple and cost effective method. 

5. Take advantage of the manufacturers

If your solutions are over 3 years old then a refresh is probably not that far on the horizon, you may be thinking about giving it a year or two before making the changes to meet the challenges I have mentioned above. However right now is a great time to be a network buyer. There are any number of trade in and refresh programs available to help make the move from last generation to next generation. Trade-in offers will not last forever though so to take advantage of the discounts, up to 18% in some cases, the time to refresh is now. Seeing how IT has never been under such financial pressure to justify it's costs these are the times to make a bold statement about where your company is going to be technolgicaly for the future.

CONCLUSION

It is an exciting time to work in IT, specifically networking. Not only are we able to effect real change in our business we can be the difference between being a competitive leader or an also ran. Personally though the big gain for me is the simplification of what has become a massively complex beast. The canny CIO is already addressing these trends and developments at a strategic level, but he needs the support of the teams who are delivering on that vision. 

Still not sure if the time is right to upgrade? Watch this video from Cisco to learn more. 

Watch Video

If you are interested ion finding out more about how your next network switch will take you to the next level DTE are here to help. Not only doe we have experts within the business who carry any number of certifications in network design and management, we can give you access direct to the manufacturers to help you identify the right solution. 

Topics: Enterprise Networks, Network Management, IT infrastructure, switching

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