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Data-center survey: IT seeks faster switches, intelligent computing

The growth in data use and consumption means the needs of IT managers are changing, and a survey from Omdia (formerly IHS Markit) found data-center operators are looking for intelligence of all sorts, not just the artificial kind.

Omdia analysts recently surveyed IT leaders from 140 North American enterprises with at least 101 employees working in North American offices and data centers and asked them what features they wanted the most in their networking technology.

The results say respondents expect to more than double their average number of data-center sites between 2019 and 2021, and the average number of servers deployed in data centers is expected to double over the same timeline.

“The on-premises enterprise data center continues to flourish,” the authors wrote in the report. “We are seeing a continuation of the enterprise DC growth phase signaled by the 2018 respondents and confirmed by the respondents of this study. The transformation of the on-premises DC to a cloud architecture continues, and the enterprise DC will be considered a first-class citizen as enterprises build their multi-clouds and shift compute to the edge.”

But the emphasis appears to be on networking and not necessarily server gear. From 2019 to 2021, more than 60% of respondents expect to increase their investments in Ethernet switches, Fibre Channel switches, network analytics, and network automation. The installed base of data-center Ethernet-switch ports will grow 27% between 2019 and 2021 with higher speeds (100/200/400GE) making up a larger portion of the deployed base.

High speeds (65% of respondents), openness and interoperability (65%), and application-awareness (65%) are the top features respondents seek when making data-center Ethernet-switching purchases. Increased port speeds are an obvious upgrade decision, and it remains top-of-mind for enterprises.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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