The false promise of simplicity

The bad news is that the current IT environment is complex. The good news is that if you believe the vendor presentations that were given at the recent Interop conference, emerging technologies and shifting approaches to network design will dramatically reduce the complexity of today's environment. The problem is that, as we will explain in the next two newsletters, we believe that things will a lot more complex, at least in the short term, before they get any simpler.

Interop's hot new tech products

At the recent Interop conference, Jim moderated a session entitled "Why Networking Must Fundamentally Change". There was uniform agreement on the part of the six panelists that IT needs to change for a variety of reasons including the requirement to support the explosion in the number of intelligent end points and to support virtualization. There was also uniform agreement that networking must change because currently it is too complex and it needs to get simpler.

The problem is that at least for the next few years, the need to support the growth in the number of end points and to support virtualization are going to make networks notably more complex. As an example, look at the movement to support desktop virtualization. From all of the conversations that we have had with enterprise IT organizations, we expect to see a somewhat significant increase in the implementation of desktop virtualization this year. One of the reasons that IT organizations are interested in deploying desktop virtualization is because it makes it somewhat simple for them to control the company's data.

If you look at this topic from a hundred thousand feet, there are two fundamental approaches to implementing desktop virtualization. Those approaches are server hosted and client hosted, and they each make very different demands on the WAN. However, if you look a little closer there are sub options within each of the two fundamental approaches. Part of the complexity stems from the fact that within an enterprise there are a variety of types of users and the particular desktop solution that makes sense for one type of user may well not make sense for another type of user. The result is that IT organizations may well need to implement and manage multiple forms of desktop virtualization.

If the fact that there are myriad approaches to virtualization is not complex enough, the shifting vendor environment is making things even more complex. We will talk about that phenomena and the management challenges associated with desktop virtualization in our next newsletter.

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