T&D World Magazine

More Than 70% of Large Enterprises Surveyed Cite Need for Automated, Network Fault Diagnosis, Recovery Tools

Uplogix has announced the results of an independent research survey of IT executives from large enterprises. An overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) said they face unique challenges in trying to manage, support and secure networks at remote locations. A need to automate network management tasks that are currently performed manually and prone to errors was the most common challenge cited by respondents, closely followed by a lack of visibility and control over network service levels at remote locations. Improving network security and compliance, reducing remote network support costs and minimizing network downtime were all cited as major drivers toward automating network management, support and recovery.

More than 300 individuals completed the phone-based survey. Respondents were selected from large enterprises with $500 million or more in annual revenues from the following industries: financial services, utilities, retail, manufacturing and healthcare. All respondents were IT executives with a network, telecom or LAN/WAN management background or job responsibility. On average, respondents came from companies having more than 100 distributed offices, with 25% of surveyed enterprises having more than 500 remote locations.

The collected responses demonstrate the need for automation with regards to managing and supporting widespread corporate data networks. Only 7% of those surveyed said that they did not need, nor would they consider, network automation tools. Conversely, more than 60% of respondents said that they needed automation solutions with regards to managing their networks in one or more of the following areas: remote network access, network configuration, routine network maintenance, fault diagnosis and recovery. More than 35 percent stated that they needed automation across all five of these areas. The two areas, where respondents cited having the greatest need for an improved level of automation, were remote fault diagnosis (72%) and recovery (69%).

"This survey further demonstrates that the majority of enterprises want some level of automation when it comes to managing and supporting their far-flung networks," said Barry Cox, chief executive officer, Uplogix. "It's become too costly, too time-consuming and too unreliable to send out repair techs to remote offices whenever there is a network disruption as this data shows."

Interestingly, more than 60% of surveyed enterprises have either undertaken, or are planning, an out-of-band approach to improve the management of the network at distributed locations, revealing that traditional network monitoring tools have not addressed the challenges of managing the network at the edge where service interruptions are more frequent and more costly to repair.

"More businesses should investigate the benefits of out-of-band management," says Dennis Drogseth, vice president, Enterprise Management Associates. "The technology can provide better control over remote devices and reduce remote support costs for branch office networks that are becoming increasingly more complex and more demanding to support."

The phone-based survey was conducted by ReachForce, a research firm based in Austin, Texas. Respondents were selected from the subscriber list of Network World magazine, a provider of network IT news and information since 1986. The objective of the survey, commissioned by Uplogix, was to understand the challenges that large companies face in managing their distributed networks.

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