Outages equal losses


Network outages and downtime can cost UAE enterprises millions of dirhams in losses,’ says expert


It is indeed strange that in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while it is apparent that organizations are all eager to deploy the very best technologies to streamline business processes, increase agility, create new revenue streams and deliver new services, many are overlooking the most basic and fundamental element of their IT infrastructures in doing so. In a world where commercial viability equals reliable connectivity, some people still don’t seem to understand why the network matters.

Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager MEMA at Brocade Communications, says that the financial implications of network outage can be monumental, especially for organizations where the 24/7 availability of online services is essential to conducting business - such as in the country’s booming banking and financial industry. Such organizations should be well aware of the consequences of network failure. A prime example of this was the RBS/Natwest technical outage that blighted the bank and its customers and cost the firm £125mn (UAE Dirhams 750mn) according to the company's financial reports.

The network is also paramount to the rapidly growing online retail industry in the country. B2C e-commerce sales in MENA are expected to reach $15 billion (UAE Dirhams 55 billion) in 2015 and availability and reliability is vital to this. The growing B2C e-commerce trend holds true in UAE as well. E-commerce giant Amazon.com suffers losses of about $5 million (UAE Dirhams 18.3mn) for every hour it is not up and running. In 2009, Paypal suffered a 4-hour service outage, with an estimated loss of $28 million (UAE Dirhams 102mn) in commerce.

Clearly, network downtime impacts profitability. Yet global research commissioned by Brocade, shows that despite this commercial reality, many organizations still depend on antiquated data center infrastructures, with a third of respondents admitting that their organizations experience multiple network failures each week.

Furthermore 61 percent of data center personnel confided that their corporate networks are not fit for the intended purpose, with almost half (41 percent) admitting that network downtime has caused their business financial hardship. 91 percent of IT decision-makers stated that their current IT infrastructures still require substantial upgrades to meet the networking requirements created by virtualization and cloud computing.

Many of the data centers that exist today are based on 20-year old technologies, and the simple fact is that they can no longer keep up with demand.

Businesses may be concerned that they ‘can’t afford’ the necessary investment into the network, but they can’t afford not to respond to the changes that are impacting their data centers. Virtualization and cloud models can provide much better utilization of current assets, and more cost effective connection to services and applications.  But they also require greater network agility and performance.  Software-defined networking promises significant improvements to how the network can be managed and become more responsive to changing business needs, but it requires a more automated, efficient and flatter network topology than legacy three-tier architectures can provide.

The answer is to take a different approach to network design- that of Fabrics.  Ethernet fabrics meet both immediate and future data center requirements, so services and applications can be deployed and accessed “on-demand”.  Highly interoperable technologies combined with open standards, and flexible financing solutions are making it much easier and cost-effective to transition the data center into the 21st century.

This helps UAE organizations move from the traditional networking model to the more desirable and more practical 'on-demand' approach which represents a major evolution in networking toward a highly virtualized, open and flexible network infrastructure. The result is a purpose-built network infrastructure for highly virtualized and cloud computing environments, and relegating downtime to where it belongs - firmly in the past.


About: Sufian Dwiek is the MEMA Regional Manager at Brocade Communications. Brocade provides innovative network solutions that help the world’s leading organizations transition smoothly to a virtualized world where applications and information can reside anywhere. These solutions deliver the unique capabilities for a more flexible IT infrastructure with unmatched simplicity, non-stop networking, application optimization, and investment protection.


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