Infrastructure Strategies '06
Hardware on top
x86 servers and Gigabit Ethernet are the most popular technologies
on the hardware front. India Inc continues to earmark the biggest portion of
its IT budget for hardware. by Priya Jain
to the IS survey, investment in hardware tops the charts when it comes to spending
on IT in large and medium businesses. This finding is in tune with the previous
two surveys. Most enterprises continue to spend on hardware as they upgrade
their networks to keep pace with business expansion. It is interesting to note
that while spending in many areas has reduced this year, enterprises across
verticals continue to spend on hardware.
Demand for hardware is strongest among companies undergoing rapid expansionbanks
and financial institutions, manu-facturing/engineering and auto components,
chemical and pharma, FMCG and telcos. Hardware features among the top three
focus areas of the IT budget in the survey, with 29 percent of the respondents
plumping for it.
at the core
x86 is the preferred server platform and its adoption is highest in the manufacturing/engineering
and auto components sector and the IT/ITeS vertical. Overall 68 percent of the
respondents (304) across verticals have invested in x86 servers and 21 percent
are planning to invest in this category in the current fiscal. Only 9 percent
of enterprises are planning to invest in RISC servers during the current financial
AMD could be gaining ground in its fight with Intel although
widespread deployment remains far away. The survey reveals that only 8 percent
of enterprises are using AMD Opteron-based servers. The usage of AMD Opteron
server is relatively higher in the FMCG/consumer durables segment (13 percent).
Many companies are looking at AMD Opteron for implementations in the future
as it is perceived to be a cost-effective architecture.
I dont think that AMD is catching
up. There is still time for wide deployment of such processors. For instance,
we are using an Intel-based processor system on Microsoft OS and other software
including databases for client server operations as a global standard named
as common operating environment for 150 offices in 30 countries for our
Aker Kvaerner Powergas
I think Wi-Fi is best for specific hot spot
zones or for centralised conference rooms with access from network. However,
heavy applications still need broadband technology for wider usage.
The printing technology depends on usage. We use
centralised laser network printers on a large scale and individual inkjets
are used in combination to cater for bulk as well as confidential self
requirement functionality. We also use outsourced high-speed multi-function
device for A0 to A4 printing, scanning, copying and so on.
Among the peripherals UPS has certainly gained
momentum. For instance, we have centralised UPS for critical systems like
a server farm with redundancy backed up by DG sets. Stabilised power supply
and critical client machines are backed up by individual UPS and clean
electrical system with surge protection and isolated earthing.
In terms of networking, reliability of the network is the topmost priority.
There is a change in networking budgets in large and medium businesses. Now
when they are looking at business strategies they are looking at networking
as a strategic opportunity. The requirements of networking in large and medium
businesses depend on the segment in which they are operating and the nature
of applications used. For instance in the telecom, government and services segment
the dependability on LAN and WAN is high.
The requirement for switches is based on the number of users whereas the demand
for routers depends on the number of locations. Services companies are planning
to invest in a big way in switches and routers mainly to keep pace with their
expansion in terms of employees and locations. Large and medium businesses do
not consider cost when it comes to critical business requirements.
Feature-rich routers and switches sport integrated security and manageability
via simple network management protocol (SNMP); Gigabit Ethernet is fast becoming
a preferred option. Fast Ethernet and Ethernet are being phased out in these
organisations as they look at Gigabit Ethernet to accommodate their voice, video
and data transfer needs.
Moreover, today most of the LAN uplink is by default on Gigabit. There is hardly
any price difference between a Fast Ethernet (FE) switch and an FE switch with
a Gigabit uplink. Also prices of Gigabit Ethernet equipment have dropped to
a comparable level with that of Fast Ethernet gear.
Investment in structured cabling is the highest in the government, BFSI and
manufacturing segment. While the FMCG and government verticals are planning
to invest in it in future. In recent times though we can see the emergence of
Cat 6a in fresh implementations while Cat 7 hasnt made much headway.
- Deploy your front-end (Web tier, file
& print) mid-tier applications (app server etc) on x86 and reserve
RISC for your database or ERP server
- Routers with integrated security or VoIP etc
make sense when it comes to hooking up branch offices to your WAN
- Gigabit Ethernet and Cat 6a are the best for
a new LAN
- Wi-Fi is best suited for organisations with
a huge campus or large buildings and lots of notebook users
- Mix and match technologies to suit your needs.
DMPs are best for transaction printing while lasers work out best for
business documents with graphics
The survey correctly points out the increase
in use of x86 platforms. We prefer an x86 platform because it is much easier
to administer and set up and is cost effective. We have been using
x86 for our mail server and document management. The only drawback though
is that we need to go for continuous security updates. We plan to invest
in Windows-based x86 workgroup servers on board our ships for similar reasons.
R P Dumasia
GM, IT, The Great Eastern
As for operating systems, I believe that Windows
has its advantages. Windows is easier to maintain, therefore we use it
on ships whereas we use Linux in offices because it requires technical
help and guidance.
Wireless at Great Eastern Shipping Company is yet
to start. One of the reasons for this is because it still cannot match
the speed of copper and is not completely secure.
Its quite right to say that adoption of printers
depends on the workload. We use inkjets at desktop level, line printers
are being used for leisure printing, and dot matrix is being used for
check printing, while laser is being used for high-end printing.
Wi-Fi starts its climb
the cost of wireless infrastructure drops, adoption has risen. Growing notebook
usage is another factor; all those notebook users need wireless connections,
if they are to be mobile. Moreover, hospitals and educational institutes have
huge campus areas to be covered. The investment in wireless is the highest in
the services sector followed by the manufacturing and IT/ITeS verticals. Wi-Fi
is already nearing saturation in some segments. For instance, 71 percent of
the companies in the services sector have already invested in Wi-Fi so only
14 percent plan to invest in the future.
Choice of printing
Choice of printers still depends on the workload. The adoption
rate of laser, inkjet and dot-matrix printers is almost at par across all verticals.
Of the total respondent base of 328, 94 percent have laser printers, 88 percent
have inkjets and 84 percent have dot-matrix printers.
The services vertical leads in the adoption of laser and inkjet printers. DMPs
are used for requirements like check printing while the existing line printers
are still being used in a number of applications in the BFSI, manufacturing/engineering
and auto components and government segments. These are usually faster and less
expensive (in total cost of ownership) than laser printers. In printing box
labels, medium volume accounting and other large business applications, and
line printers remain in use.
Multi-functional devices (MFDs) are not ubiquitous yet. 40
percent of respondents have invested in MFDs. Manufacturing leads the pack with
49 percent followed by services and telecom.
The survey also points out that the usage of colour in the
organisation is increasing. Colour printers are in use at 91 percent of respondents.
As far as colour printing goes, inkjet adoption is higher when compared to laser.
MFDs for colour printing have the lowest adoption with just 18 percent having
invested in this technology.