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Contributing Writer

Server Virtualization Skills Lacking In Networking Groups

Apr 19, 20112 mins
Cisco SystemsCitrix SystemsComputers and Peripherals

ESG poll of networking professionals reveals the need for more training

Last week, ESG held its “Ahead of the Curve” event for IT professionals here in the Boston area. During the event, I hosted a breakout session focused on server virtualization and its ramifications on networking organizations and technologies. I asked a roomful of networking professionals to respond to the following question: “With regard to server virtualization, which of the following would you characterize as your organization’s biggest organizational/process challenges?” I then presented them with some responses to choose from. Here are the results:40%: Developing server virtualization skills within the networking group30%: Establishing networking best practices for server virtualization10%: Integrating new server virtualization networking requirements with those of other functional IT groups20%: Changing the organization so that the networking team’s goals and objectives are more aligned with other IT groupsThese results were consistent with ESG Research results as well as my anecdotal observations when talking to many other networking pros outside of this event. My takeaways:1. The industry is not servicing its customers. While vendors are pushing new switching architectures, users are clamoring for help and training. In other words, technology is not the problem here.2. Things are only going to get more confusing in the future with the introduction of more advanced virtual switches, new switching technologies, and advanced storage over Ethernet innovation. 3. Networking teams are often brought into server virtualization projects when they become too big and complex for the server team. That said, the server guys have already configured a bunch of virtual switches and VLANs that won’t easily integrate into the existing network infrastructure. This puts the networking team in fire fighting rather than planning mode. Networking vendors should learn a lesson from this data. Now is the time to work with customers, assess their needs, provide them with training, and help guide them to the next level. Yes, this may mean easing up on product sales in the short-term, but smart vendors will build stronger bonds with customers today and reap the rewards with new network infrastructure sales in the future.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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