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Federal Insights

Overwhelming Use of Shared IP Storage Networks for Mission- and Business- Critical Workloads Revealed by Survey

by swallo ‎03-15-2016 10:09 AM - edited ‎03-15-2016 01:46 PM (12,393 Views)

Is your agency using the right type of network for its mission and business critical workloads?


According to a recent survey, there is a high likelihood it is not. Market Connections polled 200 IT decision makers across 57 federal agencies and found more than a third of business-critical workloads and nearly half of mission-critical workloads are being accessed through shared IP storage networks. Perceived as inexpensive and easy to manage, IP storage solutions are becoming increasingly popular, but are not appropriate for all agency workloads as they introduce challenges with security, data loss and response time.




Business-critical workloads, defined as those necessary to perform a function important to business operations, should always be accessed through dedicated IP storage networks. As agencies increase usage of IP storage – according to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents expect this capacity to grow by at least ten percent in the next year – determining appropriate use of dedicated or shared IP storage networks is increasingly important. The survey identified increases in server virtualization, unstructured data and converged system deployments – areas set to continue expanding in years to come - as driving this growth.


Big data, mobile and the Internet of Things are placing additional pressure on shared storage networks while global IP data center traffic is growing by 23 percent annually. As a result, reliable access to business-critical workloads is threatened if they are not accessed through dedicated networks. If video, social and other non-essential, yet bandwidth intensive, workloads travel over the same networks as those necessary for an agency’s success, they have the potential to overload the network and compromise an agency network’s ability to access information critical to decision making.


Additionally, security was listed as both the top pain point of using a shared IP storage network for survey respondents, as well as the most frequently referenced benefit of dedicated IP storage networks. With security currently top of mind for government agencies, providing the right network for a given workload should be a first step to maintaining a secure IT environment and moving business critical workloads to a dedicated IP storage network should be a natural choice.


Even more alarming than the treatment of business-critical workloads is the usage of shared IP storage networks to access 44 percent of mission-critical workloads, which are defined as those essential to the survival of an agency. Mission-critical workloads should only be accessed through Fibre Channel, which can provide robust security, reliability and performance. Luckily, Fibre Channel networks are becoming significantly more efficient with the introduction of Gen 6. First brought to market by Brocade, Gen 6 Fibre Channel is designed to support virtualization, rapid data growth and flash-based storage.


Market Connections’ survey brings to light critical opportunities to improve the way agency workloads are accessed. The type of network an agency uses for a given workload makes a real impact on information availability and security. There should be no question – shared IP storage networks should only be used for non-critical workloads. Where reliability and security are important, Fibre Channel must always be the first choice.


For more information on the Brocade Federal IP Storage Survey, visit: