5 Steps to Achieving Data Center Network Agility

Joerg Bonarius Senior Manager, Product Marketing Published 14 Apr 2021

Pressure is a driver of change, and as the economy continues to change at a rapid pace, enterprises must respond to shifts in the dynamics of their respective markets, including competition and the demands of customers. Agility is a primary business initiative for most organizations; digital and IT transformation, as well as the principles of DevOps, are being widely adopted. But what do all these initiatives have in common? Rethinking how businesses execute on faster time to market, competitive advantage, and better customer experiences.

Business agility extends all the way to the enterprise network, calling for network connectivity from the edge to the core. In fact, in the data center, it’s required to effectively provide connectivity and services where needed.

  • 65% of respondents to a recent survey stated that they view their network as a strategic asset that can enable new revenue sources.

Here’s what’s really needed to transform the legacy data center network into the agile network you need to succeed:

  • Greater levels of network automation to reduce time to value
  • Deeper visibility to intelligently automate changes with context
  • Network device and OS programmability  

“To transform the data center network to provide that level of agility and enable new sources of digital revenue, organizations need to implement greater levels of network automation, visibility, and device programmability.” – Five Steps to Data Center Network Agility: Create the Agile Data Center Network Your Business Requires

Why Modernizing Legacy Data Center Networks Can Be a Major Challenge

Modernizing the legacy data center network is important for business success, but it’s far easier said than done. Here’s what’s getting in the way for many enterprises in pursuit of an agile data center network:

  • Difficulties and/or delays provisioning network services and network devices
  • Inability to hire people with the right skill sets and limited knowledge of new technologies
  • Budget constraints
  • Complexity
  • Network performance
  • Resistance to change

Top Challenges Networking Teams are Facing

  • Meeting budget constraints: 36%
  • Challenges implementing security within the network: 26%
  • Difficulties and/or delays in provisioning network services for new applications, upgraded applications and/or VM mobility: 25%

To resolve these challenges, data center networks must evolve, and there’s no way around it. Building out new data center networks will have to be focused on supporting transformation efforts and meeting increasing speed and agility demands. To support the evolution of data center networks, it’s recommended that enterprises start by drawing inspiration from the cloud—understanding how CSPs are building out their networks goes a long way.

Steps to Achieving an Agile Data Center Network

Making your data center network more agile doesn’t happen overnight, but we’ve got some ideas on where you can start. Here are the first two of the five tips you can read more about in the white paper:

  1. Invest in training
    The network team has to stay up-to-date on new network technology and methods, which means dedicating adequate time, resources and budget.
  1. Adapt to new and innovative technologies
    Make sure your network leaders are helping to drive the adoption of new technologies and platforms for the sake of the networking team. This benefits engineers and analysts, as well as the business overall. Otherwise, your skills will become outdated quickly.

Want the full scoop? Get the details on all five steps to an agile data center by reading the Enterprise Strategy Group analyst white paper: Five Steps to Data Center Network Agility—Create the Agile Data Center Network Your Business Requires.

Ensuring a More Automated, Streamlined Network Environment

The age of the agile network is a time to embrace changes in technology and reimagine IT entirely. When approached with an open mind, the data center network has the potential to enable your business, rather than functioning exclusively as a necessary business component. Your tech teams will need to learn about new technologies and strive to match the efforts of CSPs, but the ultimate results will be the mastery of innovative skills and increased business value.

Want to learn about Extreme’s agile data center solutions?

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