RealTime IT News

Network Managers Delaying VoIP Rollouts

More than a third of network managers in a survey released this week say they are holding off deployment of next-generation datacenter applications because of concern over performance and other issues.

Their concerns were based primarily on three types of applications: Voice Over IP (VoIP), unified communications and video delivery applications, according to Apparent Networks, which conducted the survey with 1,500 network managers in May and early June.

Of the 36 percent who said they delayed deployment because of network concerns, 61 percent said issues outside their own networks were the biggest obstacle.

"We're definitely seeing a drive to adoption of these new technologies, and the benefits, but some of these rich-media applications, like VoIP and real-time video, require bandwidth and highly managed latency," Jim Melvin, president and chief marketing officer at Apparent Networks, told InternetNews.com.

"Traditionally, with things like e-mail, messaging and transaction applications, a little latency didn't matter, you could lose a second here and there. But with VoIP you need persistent, reliable performance; the phones have to always work. As folks try to deploy over carrier networks they don't own, you can't take connectivity for granted anymore with these rich-media applications."

While the survey results might be considered a good selling tool for Apparent Networks, a developer of a network analysis and performance monitoring application called PathView, analyst Michael Dortch said it reflects what he's seeing in the field.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the number of people holding off on some of these deployments is even greater than that survey shows," Dortch, principal analyst of DortchOnIT, told InternetNews.com.

"This isn't about just IT anymore -- these applications, like VoIP and unified communications, run the whole damn business," he said. "Performance concern is code for 'I don't know what's going on,' and the only way network managers sleep at night is if the infrastructure is something they can see and act on."

The challenge of VoIP

Of those respondents who said they'd delayed a deployment, VoIP topped the list of next-generation technologies put on hold. VoIP also was listed by 73 percent of respondents as the application that put the most stress on their networks.

Another potential area of concern is service-level agreements. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents said they do not have the capability to validate service-level agreements, and only 42 percent said they "regularly validate" those agreements.