Network managers have to do more with less

Survey: IT Staff will have to be smart to support more network traffic without a corresponding increase in resources

Many network managers in the UK will have to cope with a growing burden on their WAN without any increased investment in network bandwidth this year, according to a study published on Monday.

While tighter financial controls are forcing IT departments to keep a lid on network costs, cost-saving measures elsewhere may be putting more strain on the WAN, warned Peribit, the network optimisation company that commissioned the Global Application Performance survey.

"IT initiatives like consolidation have a knock-on effect on the network," said Steven Wastie, Peribit marketing director. "If you reduce your number of mail servers from ten to four, or serve users from a central data centre, you put users further away from the content and that means more traffic on the network."

While some users will meet this demand by buying new bandwidth, some 34 percent of network managers surveyed by Peribit don't expect to increase their WAN investment at all in 2005. Overall, the amount spent on new bandwidth will be 7 percent lower this year than 2004.

Of those surveyed, 71 percent agreed that they will be under pressure to improve applications performance and reduce IT costs.

All this is grist to Peribit's mill — the company sells optimisation systems, which make the best use of bandwidth and help applications cope with latency. "Application performance is high up the agenda," said Wastie, "and people understand that it is a latency issue, not just a bandwidth issue."

"Offshoring is a great example," he said. "A company may put a call centre in the Philippines, but it has to access a customer database in the UK. If it takes three more seconds to answer a query, because of network latency, that may result in fewer calls taken during the day."

"Disaster recovery is another example," he said. "Financial institutions have to back up incredible amounts of data, from their primary centre to a secondary site, but there are only 24 hours in a day."