The results of Brocade’s annual global channel survey show channel partners can achieve a competitive edge by devising a strategy based on software networking, virtualisation and the cloud.
Channel partners commented on challenges customers are facing, naming managing network complexity and data centre bandwidth as the most significant.
The survey found 47% of partners believe managing complexity is a top network challenge, and 41% believe dealing with data centre bandwidth and availability is a top challenge.
Gary Denman, Brocade Australia and New Zealand, senior director, says scale is a challenge when it comes to software networking.
He says it is easy to over provision a network so customers have more capacity than required. “Particularly in the case of New Zealand, many organisations may in fact be paying more than they need to,” he says.
Denman says while a network is mission critical and a commodity item, paying premiums for excess capacity needs to be avoided. Using NFV is one solution for over provisioning.
“NFV opens the opportunity to create more agile networks and provision networking on demand quickly, easily and meet the needs of a country that has always displayed a very agile approach to emerging technologies,” says Denman.
The channel partners estimated customer data centres will be mostly virtualised in the next 12 months. The report showed customers are ready to adopt new IP-ready technologies in order to transform their business in 2015.
Technology differentiation is a crucial factor when it comes to choosing a vendor, according to the report. Following this, market proven solutions and vision/strategy are also important.
Within 24 months, a significant trend for resellers will be software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV), says 60% of partners.
Furthermore, 80% of partners say their customers are deploying or evaluating SDN/NFV within the next 12 months. In the next year, customers’ data centres will be virtualised by more than 50%, say 67% of partners. Denman says the virtualisation of the application layer is ‘great news’ for the channel.
“The modern era of social, mobile, cloud, and Big Data imposes new requirements on the underlying infrastructure that legacy network architectures were not designed to support," says Jason Nolet, Brocade, vice president, switching, routing, and analytics products.
"In order for channel partners to remain relevant in this new world they must expand their networking practices to include offerings that address the requirements of the New IP," he says.
Denman says, “The next workload that needs to be delivered is software defined networking and with the inclusion of the application layer, networking just became more relevant to resellers focused on the application layer and not necessarily traditional networking."
“New Zealand has always looked at new technologies early,” he says. “Flash storage is a great example of how a country that is already mature in its approach to embracing emerging technologies, we are now seeing that move into the network space and for these channel partners an new area of value and service they can provide their customers.”
Bill Lipsin, Brocade, vice president, global channel sales and marketing, says, “In 2015, our focus is on equipping Brocade partners to lead the transformation in networking to the New IP - delivering exceptional customer experiences that leverage software networking while optimizing customers’ existing networks.”
He says Brocade is investing in cloud offerings so partners can deliver networking solutions for cloud and on-premise solutions.
"These offerings include future-proof technologies, including Brocade VDX switches with VCS Fabric technology, to natively automate the network in order to reduce complexity, network layers, and manual configuration tasks,” says Nolet.
Brocade announced the AO Cloud initiatives earlier this year and Denman says there has been a lot of interest in the new network architecture.
Denman says, “We think a great example of where the trends are heading is in line with the AO Cloud business.”
“Branded convergent cloud, it covers fast compute and storage facilities that can talk to multiple data centres in an extremely secure environment. With these models the network needs to scale with demand and be made commercially reasonable through utility based pricing constructs,” he says.