Research by Brocade has found that "data centre availability" is the biggest concern for 40% of respondents, but a lack of willingness to invest in data centre networks is limiting innovation and adoption of next-generation applications and services.
The study looked at 350 global resellers and systems integrators with the support of Avnet, TD Azlan, TechData, Arrow ES, edsLAN, immix group, Mindware and Westcon. It found that 60% of end users view fabrics as the future of networks.
However, the key stumbling block is the lack of willingness to invest in data centre networks, which doesn't allow companies to deploy on-demand and flexible infrastructures they need. Almost a third of the channel stated that their customers only invested in networks to support the deployment of a specific new application or service, and more than one in 10 admitted that investment was made only when the network was already failing.
Jason Nolet, vice president Data Centre Solutions at Brocade said: "There is a growing recognition that fabrics are the future of data centre networking. However, many enterprises are still relying on legacy environments that are no longer fit for purpose, especially as they look to leverage the benefits of software-defined networking - and this presents the channel with a terrific opportunity. Channel partners that can help customers take the journey to fabrics will succeed in the new networking landscape."
Key findings from the study include that the top five drivers of network investments are the desire to adopt virtualisation, a demand for faster access to data and applications, a demand for greater bandwidth, and the need to support mobility and increasing data volumes. According to the research, more than 60% of the channel believes it will be 'standard' or 'very common' for fabric networks to be deployed in data centres by 2020.
62% of respondents believe that the budget constraints are having a "significant impact" on their customers' ability to invest in technology, with 63% seeing vendor financing as 'vital' or 'more important' over the next few years.
Bill Lipsin, vice president of Global Channel Sales and Marketing at Brocade commented on the findings: "Our findings clearly illustrate that there is an immediate need for partners to engage customers now, and help them on their journey to a fabric-based data centre infrastructure. In addition to a world-class solutions portfolio, the Brocade Alliance Partner Program and Capital Solutions offerings are uniquely positioned to help our partners stand out in what is a highly competitive market, and deliver customers a strategically differentiated offering."