Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

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1 + CONNECTIVITY WHITE PAPER Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

2 Introduction As companies face escalating network traffic growth from not only Internet use but also business applications, IT budgets are under siege. Decision makers must find network connectivity solutions that enhance capabilities and capacity, while reducing costs, management and maintenance complexity. To enable this seemingly incongruous blend of higher quality data network connectivity and lower costs, traditional connectivity services (such as TDM, ATM or Frame Relay) are giving way to more powerful and efficient connectivity solutions, such as Ethernet and MPLS-based Layer 3 IP/VPNs, in addition to Dark Fiber and Wavelength services. In fact, flexible, cost-effective network connectivity solutions are becoming essential to gaining a competitive edge in the midst of evolving market and technology trends. Organizations are upgrading from basic network services, consolidating networks, deploying sophisticated applications with high bandwidth requirements, integrating functions such as voice and data or simply striving for higher performance and improved quality of service to match business growth. Network connectivity solutions that can converge multiple applications onto a single connection offer: + + Higher capacity and greater scalability + + Simple and automated management and maintenance features + + Lower costs This paper, the first in our Connecting to Compete series, builds the case for upgrading your network by providing a summary on the technologies currently trending toward higher adoption (cloud services, mobility, etc.) and why those trends should be considered when determining future connectivity needs and bandwidth requirements. 1 Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

3 Driving connectivity: Trending technologies In a competitive global and mobile economy, businesses need better network connections and secure, powerful, ubiquitous services, applications and storage solutions. Market forces are dramatically driving the need for higher bandwidth and flexible connectivity, in addition to more efficient operations, simplified management and cost controls. Complicating the connectivity landscape, IT managers must administer complex, hybrid Wide Area Networks (WANs) that often incorporate multiple protocols, which challenge interoperability and create traffic and service bottlenecks. A mixture of legacy and IP networking requires an experienced staff for troubleshooting and management. Adding new services, applications and users can be time consuming and costly. Any new connectivity solution must integrate with the existing Local Area Network (LAN) or WAN. Whether extending the LAN to remote offices or a WAN or optimizing an existing WAN to converge services and applications organizations face complex choices for achieving the connectivity that can ensure high performance, interoperability, security and efficiency. Drivers for flexible connectivity: + + IT virtualization + + Data center networking + + Remote training and Video Conferencing + + High-frequency trading and other financial applications + + Medical imaging and other healthcare applications + + Native video transport + + Increased offsite storage capacity requirements Market Trends To remain competitive, organizations must plan their connectivity solutions around technology trends and customer needs, while also curtailing costs and boosting productivity. Customers and employees alike expect to exploit the latest tools and technologies to communicate, research, buy and work. Network architects must seamlessly weave these technologies into their LAN or WAN for companies to keep pace and enable continuous real-time access and connectivity. This environment is driving companies toward solutions that can converge video, voice and data onto a single IP network. Cloud computing and mobile technologies are revolutionizing network services and communications, driving the need for better connectivity solutions. In addition, the adoption of unified communications is trending upward, driven by the need for collaboration. Higher bandwidth is essential for meeting application, storage and communication demands. 2 Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

4 Cloud Services Cloud services and mobile technologies are redefining business, spawning secure off-site storage, virtual desktops, cloud-based applications, online data backups and other IT services, all at a lower cost than that of premise-based solutions. Services are delivered via the Internet or dedicated Internet connections to the provider s facility, eliminating the need for on-site network hardware and IT resources, saving on upfront capitalized equipment investments, as well as on training, staffing, management and maintenance. The growth of cloud computing requires reliable, higher bandwidth connectivity solutions, especially in the data center. Many organizations combine cloud technology with their legacy infrastructure to create a hybrid network. Becoming increasingly popular in a challenging economy, hosted cloud solutions can offer high-bandwidth, scalable, flexible connectivity solutions, while reducing equipment investments, management costs and complexity. Mobile Technologies The mobility phenomenon, accompanied by the massive proliferation of devices, technologies and applications, is transforming the workplace, consumer behavior and buying habits. Mobile device sales are projected to surpass $1 billion in By 2016, 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile 1 and two-thirds of mobile workers will carry smartphones. The rapid adoption of mobility will likely eliminate the desktop phone over the coming decades, opening up a new paradigm of communications and services. Supporting this prediction, Infonetics reports that smartphones and tablets will surpass desktop computer and telephone usage in Rapid growth in cloud deployments is fueling growth in social media and customer experience applications and driving investments in network infrastructure and security. 3 Examples of cloud-based applications include: + + Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems + + Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems + + Marketing systems The bandwidth required to enable ubiquitous mobile access to the network is fueling demand for high-quality, secure and scalable connectivity solutions that can enable remote and mobile workers with the same user experience as their on-site counterparts. 1 Gartner Says 821 Million Smart Devices Will Be Purchased Worldwide in 2012; Sales to Rise to 1.2 Billion in UC Deployment Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey. October Big Data, Analytics, and Cloud Drive Enterprise Software Growth in 2012, According to IDC. Accessed July Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

5 Unified Communications Unified Communications, or UC, allows organizations to cultivate productivity, customer satisfaction and retention, leading to higher profits and improving their competitive edge. An estimated one-third of Fortune 500 companies having already deployed some level of UC technologies 4, and ABI Research projects that UC will generate more than $2 billion in worldwide revenues by UC can drastically cut communications costs through Voice over IP (VoIP), messaging, lower longdistance costs, higher efficiency and productivity, and collaboration. However, any connectivity solution deployed must smoothly integrate with a company s existing LAN or WAN infrastructure. As a result, complexity 5 is the number one hindrance to widespread adoption of UC. Companies are finding cost efficiencies by combining multiple applications across the same bandwidth, and leveraging sophisticated connectivity solutions to prioritize and manage traffic. Migrating from a company s current network and ensuring interoperability between equipment, devices and network elements is challenging. The network must ensure performance across multiple locations. Bandwidth demands for video, voice and data will ebb and flow, according to traffic peaks and valleys. For this reason, capacity planning is essential, and the selection of the right connectivity solution is critical to ensure sufficient bandwidth is available and flexibly allocated. If bandwidth needs are not met, both communications and application performance across the network will suffer. 4 Report: Unified communications market up 16 percent in first quarter of Accessed June UC Deployment Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey. Accessed June Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

6 Traffic growth versus IT budgets: The challenge to connectivity IT budgets are lagging behind network traffic growth, requiring innovative solutions, including extending existing network infrastructure. To illustrate, in 2014, enterprise traffic is expected to grow by nearly 5 percent, while IT budgets are expected to grow by only 3 percent. Despite IT budget constraints, organizations must resourcefully evolve to support this forecasted traffic growth by converging multiple services onto a single connection. Enterprise Traffic Growth Versus IT Budget Growth 6 5% The benefits of converged connectivity: + + Higher capacity and scalability + + Simpler and more automated network operation, maintenance and management + + Lower cost of service 4% 3% 2% 1% Enterprise Traffic IT Budget Growth 6 Why Smart Companies Invest in Next Generation Ethernet, Integra Ethernet webinar with Ciena. Accessed July Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

7 Conclusion Market trends and economic realities are driving the need for higher bandwidth and reliable connectivity solutions to support more powerful services, applications and storage. Companies seeking network upgrade solutions must thoroughly assess capacity requirements and carefully evaluate available options. To help you select the right solution and service provider, please refer to part 2 of this series, Connecting to Compete: Evaluating Network Connectivity Solutions, for options to enhance your network. For more information, contact an Integra sales representative at or visit About Integra: Integra is one of the largest facilities-based providers of communication and networking services in the western United States. We connect businesses of all sizes with advanced technology solutions in 35 metropolitan markets. Integra owns and operates an enterprise-class network consisting of a 5,000-mile long-haul fiber-optic network, over 3,000 miles of metropolitan fiber and a nationwide IP/MPLS network. SHARE Integra, Inc. All rights reserved. 6 Connecting to Compete: The Case for Upgrading Your Network

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