Making the most of the network budget

Everyone splurges once in a while. Maybe it’s for an extra round of golf after a particularly tough week at the office, or perhaps it’s for a long-coveted video game. Regardless of what it’s used to buy, a little extra money spent doesn’t cause any harm.

In the case of networking technology though, IT managers are spending a lot more than “a little extra” on technology they don’t need, according to Gartner Group analysts. In fact they’re splurging to the tune of US$10 billion over two years.

The biggest waste of networking dollars, say Mark Fabbi and Bob Hafner, is money spent on unnecessary bandwidth — whether it be Gigabit Ethernet on the LAN, or larger-than-required pipes on the WAN. Network managers are often future-proofing their networks, preparing for an onslaught of traffic driven by new applications such as IP video or voice. But the odds are good, Fabbi and Hafner assert, that network managers won’t need all the extra bandwidth they’re purchasing — at least not any time soon.

Instead of adding bandwidth that’s never going to be used, Hafner and Fabbi believe network managers should be burning their dollars on management technologies, like WAN accelerators, that let them control their network traffic .

While Fabbi and Hafner make a good point in arguing for more control, rather than more bandwidth, many IT managers probably aren’t eager to shave a lot off their budgets. After all, budget money not spent is usually money that disappears. And if upper management sees a network manager getting by on a lower IT budget one year, the odds are good that lower budget figure will be the budget for the year after.

Instead of using Gartner’s guidance to reduce IT budgets, network managers can use the advice to lower their network build budgets and apply the money saved to projects that benefit the user community, such as increased mobility.

By spending the IT budget more wisely and making users happier, network managers might even earn a bonus that can go towards that extra round of golf or that latest hot

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