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Avoiding the Campus Crunch

As their appetite for mobility, video, unified communications and virtual desktop solutions grow, customers increasingly will look to the channel to fix the weak link in deploying these technologies – the campus network. The campus network is the entry point and the main communications/information conduit for most organizations. Massive increases in access demand for increasingly diverse and demanding applications (such as video and data), is stretching legacy campus networks to breaking point.

This is giving senior IT staff a serious headache, but add in the transition to hosted cloud-enabled services and things start getting ugly. Poor reception on calls or videoconferences, loss of connectivity, holes in network security and a lack of adequate bandwidth — reducing application response to a crawl — is impacting business productivity and reducing businesses’ ability to compete at a time when efficiency gains and maximizing IT assets are critical to combating a negative economic environment.

A lack of innovation and investment into campus technologies has left businesses with limited choices in addressing the impending crunch-point. Trying to shift the problem out to a cloud-service won’t work when the problem resides in the campus — indeed, any organization looking to invest in, and transition to, cloud-enabled services should ensure their own campus networks can support such changes to get any value from their contracts.

For too long, value and cost have been at opposing ends of customers’ financial-reality/business-need seesaw when it comes to campus. This is one of the reasons why the campus remains a critical bottleneck in adopting innovation that can drive real business change and growth. Campus environments have become extremely complex to manage, or remain basic and unable to reliably carry the volume and types of data common to most business IT environments today.

A new approach is needed -- one that recognizes the inherent value of the campus to the business and balances that with the financial realities of IT investment. With new innovations and a new approach to campus design, this is more than possible.

Adding switches to an environment just adds cost and complexity for minimal increase in value or effectiveness. Businesses need to look beyond this kind of strategy and reconsider their campus approach. Only by investing in innovative solutions that deliver real immediate improvements, enabling simplicity of management to ensure new applications and updates can be deployed quickly and with ease, while offering investment protection and longevity over an ongoing "box add" model, will businesses really be able to leverage the business value of their campus networks.

It’s something we call ‘Effortless Networking.’ To maintain or gain competitive advantage — and deliver the efficiency and productivity gains all organizations are seeking — value and price cannot remain at opposite ends of the campus spectrum.

The increases in video, virtual desktop integration and unified communications — not to mention cloud and mobility — consumption will only continue, with the corresponding increases in data volumes. Channel partners need to be ready to act and help customers address their campus issues before they hit that crunch point. When innovation means cost is no longer a key consideration, IT and business no longer need collide.

Raelyn Kritzer is Brocade’s Director of Global Channel Marketing and a regular contributor to Brocade’s Guest Blog on The VAR Guy. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. To read all of Brocade's guest blogs, click here.

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