Region ‘leads’ the pack with highest percentage of ageing and obsolete equipment
Not necessarily causing longer downtime, only 16% of incidents hardware-related
TODAY, more than half of organisations’ IT networks are ageing and obsolete as they continue to delay their network refresh decisions.
“In the past, the typical refresh cycle was three years. Today, we notice clients using their equipment longer,” Dimension Data (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Chong Hoi Ming told Digital News Asia in Petaling Jaya recently.
He was referring to Dimension Data’s recently published Network Barometer Report 2014, which highlighted that 40% of networking equipment in the world is ‘ageing’ (between three and five years) and 11% is ‘obsolete’ (five years or more).
The report categorises ‘ageing’ devices as those past their end-of-sale, but have yet to pass their end-of-support cycle, while obsolete devices are those that have passed the end-of-support point.
Chong attributes this refresh cycle delay trend to a few factors.
“Firstly, it confirms that economic issues are influencing companies to prolong the equipment lifespan or to delay their refresh decision,” he said.
The Barometer report revealed that Asia Pacific ‘leads’ the pack as the region with the highest percentage of ageing and obsolete equipment at 54%. In contrast, the Americas has a 44% rate, Australia has 51%, Europe has 52% while Middle East and Africa are at 53%.
“Network spend is often related to regional economic conditions. It slows down during sluggish times, and it picks up during times of growth,” said Chong.
“Also, the growing uptake of ‘as-a-service’ ICT consumption models is somewhat reducing the need for organisations to invest in their own IT infrastructure,” he added.
The Network Barometer Report, which was released recently, comprise data gathered from 288 technology assessments, 74,000 devices, 32 countries and 11 industries.
It also includes support services data gathered from Dimension Data’s four global service centres in Boston, Frankfurt, Bangalore and Johannesburg, involving 91,000 service incidents.
Old equipment = more downtime?
With 51% of IT network equipment fall under the ‘ageing’ and ‘obsolete’ categories, does it mean organisations are now at higher risk of experiencing downtime?
“I believe many companies have heard from their vendors that older equipment causes longer downtime,” said Chong (pic).
“However, in our report, we found out that it isn’t true. In fact, we noticed that with most clients that have aging or obsolete equipment, the number of calls is very minimal because the equipment is still very reliable.
“In fact, only 16% of the service incidents are hardware related,” he added.
Chong also said that the report does not suggest that companies are stopping their refresh decisions entirely. However, these refreshments are being done at a more selective, smaller scale.
A look at enterprises’ networks showed that 45% of access switch ports in 2014 support gigabit Ethernet (2013: 33%), while 23% of access switches support 10-gigabit uplinks (2013: 11%).
“I think the improvement is being driven by the increase in the number of mobile devices used in the workplace, rather than the result of a proactive strategy to prepare for enterprise mobility and the cloud,” said Chong.
“Another key driver is the increasing demand for video content, which can create congestion on the network,” he added.
While most IT vendors may suggest that ageing and obsolete equipment need to be replaced to avoid future complications, Chong has a different view on the matter.
“Given the financial and operational benefits of older devices, such as lower failure rates and shorter time to repair, organisations can choose to swear on their equipment for as long as possible.
“I think one of the main factors an organisation should consider is governance. If it’s a governance issue, then you need to change; if it’s not, then you may want to sweat it out,” said Chong.
“The key thing for an organisation is that you need to know what IT assets you have today. From there, only then can you decide where and how you want to head to the next destination,” he added.
Double the business over next 5yrs
Over the next five years, South Africa-based Dimension Data aims to double its revenue to US$12 billion. This will be driven by both acquisitions and organic growth.
Chong said growth for the ICT services provider will be mainly driven by two factors: The increasing trend of mobility, and the increasing demand for next-generation data centres.
“Mobility is one of the hot topics today. Once you start providing the mobility option to a client, infrastructure enhancement and transformation may take place too.
“With increasing demand for next-generation data centres, service providers will be looking at ways to ensure that the data centre is optimised,” he said.
Dimension Data itself does not own any data centres, but focuses on areas like systems integration, cloud services and managed services. However, its parent company NTT Corp has a host of data centres.
Chong said that the company will also be introducing more cloud services into the market. Currently, it is offering infrastructure-as-a-service, email-as-a-service and others.
“Over the near term, you will see us introducing more cloud services. I think that offering cloud services is inevitable. We need to respond to market needs or we can’t survive,” he said.
“Among cloud services we are looking to introduce over the next 12 months is backup-as-a-service, disaster-recovery-as-a-service and others. It’s all in our roadmap,” he added.
INTI, one very happy Dimension Data customer
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