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//46 TEST RIGHT Fluke Networks discusses how to make cable testing accurate //21 COLUMN CommScope explains how to reduce your carbon footprint



Al Futtaim technologies reveals its goals for 2013 and beyond //50


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Volume 19 Issue 9

September 2013

Gartner says that it will be at least another five to ten years before SSDs are feasible in the enterprise network.


I believe that 10GBase-T will change the discussion about ToR vs EoR.” Martin Rossbac, director of product marketing, new market development, Nexans Cabling solutions

21//Column> REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT CommScope says that data centres need to be future proof and that companies must look at building data centres that can evolve with their needs, while keeping cooling and power costs down

34//Infrastructure> TAMING THE BEAST Network management software is becoming essential, as the enterprise network grows and evolves to become more than the average IT network manager can handle, writes Piers Ford.

43//Cable Debate> CABLING IN THE DATA CENTRE Switch manufacturers are puching for customers to take up top of rack type cable deployment architecture, when end of ow is actually far more beneficial, global cabling experts explain.

38//Products> SSD’S; WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW SSDs are a tempting proposition, with their faster speeds and greater reliability, but low capacity and very high costs are preventing companies from implementing them currently.






The SSD question



//Regulars> 04// INFOGRAPHIC


IP traffic is booming across the globe, but the Middle East region is growing particularly fast.

The Oman Ministry of Manpower has implemented a unified communications system by Huawei for increased productivity.

07// REGIONAL UPDATE WAN optimisation vendors are focussing on the mobile space as bring your own device charges headlong into Middle East enterprise organisations.

16// SECURITY WATCH Cyber crime is growing in the Middle East with 45% of regional companies experiencing a security incident, says GBM.

48// PRODUCTS Aviat STR 600 redefines the trunk radio architecture.

50// VENDOR PROFILE Al Futtaim Technologies reveals its regional goals and successes.

53// TRAINING NEWS An in-depth look at the CompTIA Network+ certification and what it entails for students.

18// COMMENT HID Global says companies must ‘trust but verify’, using multi-factor authentication and identity management.

56// LAST WORD Tarek Helmy from Nexans reveals his hobbies and his passion for the LAN.


Vendors seem to be pushing for enterprises to implement SSDs in their data centres, but there is currently little evidence that it is the right move at this stage. Gartner says that it will not be feasible to replace HDD with SSDs for at least the next five to ten years, which is a very large window and gives companies plenty of time to assess their needs and wait for the next generation of higher capacity SSDs to come to market. Currently the only sensible application for SSDs is in the consumer space, where the lack of terabyte capacity is not a problem and where the SSDs’ shock proof capabilities and super fast start-up time are more relevant. If company management is dead set on implementing SSDs, they need to carefully assess their data centre and look at exactly where in the data centre the bottlenecks are occurring, it may not be a storage problem. They should also consider utilising a hybrid SSD/HDD system, with the SSDs handling

the heavy workloads and enterprise grade HDDs, which offer a more attractive price point offering the performance, reliability and storage scalability that is necessary in the enterprise data centre. Having spoken to a range of SSD experts and vendors, my conclusion is that until SSDs come in higher storage capacities and the costs of purchase come down, enterprises are far better sticking to the traditional hard disk drive, or implementing a hybrid system, which gives the enterprise the best of both worlds. Georgina Enzer Editor georgina.enzer



IP traffic 83% boom


Consumer and enterprise IT traffic has surged over the last 12 months, and broadband speed has increased


etworks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile IP networking trends are being driven largely by a combination of video, social networking and advanced collaboration applications, which are termed visual networking. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the company’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyse the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2012-2017), projects that global internet protocol (IP) traffic will grow three-fold between 2012 and 2017. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) will continue to be the fastest growing IP traffic region from 2012-2017 (five-fold growth, 38% compound annual growth rate over the forecast period); MEA was the fastest growing region last year as well (10-fold growth, 57% compound annual growth rate for 20112016 forecast period) in this category. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index also projects that there will be 413 million total internet users in the Middle East and Africa regions by 2017. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast showcases the seemingly insatiable demand for bandwidth around the globe and provides insights on the architectural considerations necessary to deliver on the ever-increasing experiences being delivered, such as video, voice and more. According to Cisco, the growth projections for the Middle East and Africa show that the potential of the internet is huge, particularly in the developing regions, where internet penetration is still fairly low. The fastest growing IP traffic at the countrylevel shows that India will have the highest IP traffic growth rate with a 44% CAGR from 2012-2017. Second is Indonesia with a 42% CAGR and third is South Africa with 31% CAGR over the forecast period, according to Cisco. // 4 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / SEPTEMBER 2013 /




In 2017, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross Middle East and Africa’s 9 IP networks every 2 hours



“The growth projections for the Middle East and Africa demonstrate that the potential of the internet is phenomenal. With more and more people, things, processes and data being connected in the Internet of Everything, the intelligent networks and the service providers who operate them are more relevant than ever.” Rabih Dabboussi, managing director, Cisco UAE // WWW.ITP.NET /



By 2017, there will be more than 19 billion global network connections, up from about 12 billion connections in 2012








Global network users will generate 3 trillion internet video minutes per month, that is 6 million years of video per month, or 1.2 million video minutes every second or more than two years worth of video every second REGIONAL & COUNTRY IP TRAFFIC PROJECTIONS

5 6

Asia-Pacific (APAC) will generate the most IP traffic by 2017 (43.4 exabytes/ month), maintaining its leadership from last year // WWW.ITP.NET /





Source: Cisco Visuu al a Net N working Index Forecast


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INSIDE… 08 Human error causes disasters 09 Governments must spur green IT uptake 10 Encryption is vital 12 It’s time for hybrid cloud 12 A day in the life of Mazen Ballout, vice president GCC and Middle East at Gartner 14 Wireless is essential 14 OS Market has new players

For all the latest network news from the Middle East and Africa, visit

//Regional_Update Optimising mobile devices WAN optimisation vendors develop products that speed up mobile processes Key innovations have recently been made in extending WAN optimisation to mobile devices, driven by the ever-increasing bring your own device (BYOD) trend, according to Hatem Bamatraf, executive vice president, Enterprise at UAE telecoms provider du. “With mobility being a key driver in mobile first enterprises, having application delivered effectively to mobile devices on 3G or 4G networks has been fast evolving. It is also obvious that cloud and virtualisation have been driving innovation at the data centre and accelerating applications within such complex cloud architectures have greatly enhanced its adoption especially in enterprises with geographically spread locations,” he said. WAN optimisation on mobile devices allows end-users to be able to connect and prioritise multiple platforms while maintaining speed and reducing bandwidth utilisation, according to Riverbed. “We all check multiple emails, review documents and take care of other business needs on our smartphones and tablets. WAN optimisation is what enables our mobile devices to complete and prioritise our tasks and optimise user performance. Mobile WAN optimisation boosts productivity and cuts costs to accomplish key business initiatives,” said Taj El Khayat, general manager, MENA, at Riverbed. // WWW.ITP.NET /

Taj El Khayat from Riverbed says BYOD users are demanding faster connectivity.

The growth of initiatives like BYOD, and mobility and the use of devices like tablets and smartphones has resulted in more users demanding faster connectivity and accessibility to networks, and the need to be able to keep up with the growing amount of data, which is where WAN optimisation becomes invaluable. “A customer’s WAN is the foundation of their enterprise, enabling collaboration, communication, business productivity and risk mitigation. The performance of their WAN is critical to everything customers do. And if there is no WAN capability, a BYOD policy cannot happen,” said El Khayat.


Source: Riverbed



Human error causes disasters

Thomas Hansen from Microsoft says SMBs need to make DR and BC planning a top priority.

Catastrophes like power outages, cyberattacks or natural disasters often come to mind for business executives when they think about disaster preparedness. However in reality, most business emergencies are generated by human error and can be addressed quickly with proper planning, according to Thomas Hansen, vice president, Worldwide Small and Medium Business, Microsoft Executive Platform. “Businesses that fail to prepare for potential disasters can face terrible conBE AWARE OF THE FULL RISK

sequences. There are countless examples of companies who, in the face of a disaster lost everything because they were unable to recover lost data and revenue,” he said. According to Microsoft, disaster recovery and business continuity plans should address all potential sources of business downtime from mundane issues to major business disruptions. To mitigate business risks in a continuous climate of uncertainty and unpredictability, SMBs need to make disaster recovery and business continuity planning a top priority. According to Forrester Research, organisations should focus their disaster recovery planning on three essential points; first, improve process and governance; second, preparing for the most likely causes of downtime, and thirdly, they must demonstrate business value. “Calculating the cost of business downtime is just as important as preparing for it. While it may be a time consuming process, it’s an important step in improving a disaster recovery plan,” said Hansen. Improving a company’s ability to quickly return to business after a disaster is a value of innovative technology. Source: NEC

James Coughlan from Cannon Technologies says that wind is being used in several Middle East regions to generate data centre power.


Risk awareness Limited perception of risk based on role and experience results in… …a failure to see and measure the full scope and interdependency of risk in today’s complex and distributed business environment

Risk ignorance // 8 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / SEPTEMBER 2013 /

“Several banks in the region are at the last stages of deciding a vendor, and procuring identitiy and access management.” Mark Lee, sales director EMEA at Courion // WWW.ITP.NET /


Govts must spur green IT uptake Governments could do much more to encourage green IT initiatives in the Middle East region, according to James Coughlan, World Wide Business Development manager at Cannon Technologies. “The reduction of subsidies for energy and water would force facilities to improve their usage. Another way would be to follow the lead from the European Union where strict energy standards are being applied to data centres and owners have to buy carbon credits. This would create an immediate fiscal incentive for data centre owners to improve their green policies,” said Coughlan. To reduce power consumption in the data centre, the use of solar panels to harvest energy and create artificial shade is the most


common innovation seen in the region, according to Cannon Technologies, however, it is not the only way that energy can be harvested or energy costs lowered. “There are also several sites where wind is being used to generate power, often on a twice daily basis. This is done by taking advantage of the onshore/offshore pressure changes that occur early in the morning and late in the evening,” said Coughlan. Sites that use a lot of water for cooling are beginning to implement better technologies to reduce water loss, according to Cannon Technologies. Fully contained systems help reduce the usage of desalinated water which, while heavily subsidised, is still a cost that the data centre can reduce.

of project managers state that mistakes made during cable testing hurt their profits. Read the full story on page 46


Virtualisation backup 1. Choose the right tool If you have non-virtualised servers, you need a tool that can back them up. If you’re 100% virtualised, a virtualisation-only backup tool might be the best answer. However, if you’re like most companies, which have mostly virtual servers, but with a few physical, then you need a tool that’s able to back up both your physical servers and your VMs. 2. Plan to get your data off-site You need to get your data off-site, just backing it up is not enough. Not every company has the bandwidth to perform replication. You need a controlled and automated way to move data from your backup repository to a portable device for off-site storage. 3. Use advanced features Your back-up tool should feature advanced settings such as de-duplication and compression, application-consistent backups, and verification and automated recovery testing. 4. Make sure it’s fast Test your back-up product, find out how fast it can get your biggest server back up and running if it is lost. Speed is always relative to your servers, storage and data.

“While cloud providers are responsible for securing the cloud infrastructure, they might not even know when a breach has occurred.” Brian Chappell, director of Engineering, EMEAI, BeyondTrust // WWW.ITP.NET /

“Using a private, public or hybrid cloud depends on the services a company uses and how that model can be integrated.” Brent Lees, senior product marketing manager, EMEA at Riverbed

5. Future-proof It Will your backup tool support cross-hypervisor backup and recovery? What about off-site backup to a cloud? Ensure that your backup tool is innovative and has a history of new features that give you the best flexibility. Source: Frost & Sullivan






Avaya has announced that commercial construction company Amana Contracting & Steel Buildings has installed Avaya IP Office.


Amana Contracting & Steel Buildings deployed IP Telephones and Flare Experience software from Avaya.


The deployment is considered a landmark installation for Avaya, showcasing how UC can be a great asset.

Encryption is vital Securing the cloud through encryption is now vital, as more and more companies adopt virtualisation and cloud technologies, according to Dave Hansen, CEO, SafeNet. However, in spite of their widespread adoption, virtual and cloud environments present some significant challenges for the security teams tasked with safeguarding sensitive data. “In virtualised environments, workloads, data repositories, and sensitive data are highly mobile, and frequently being shifted to different virtual and physical resources. In these environments, it is easier than ever to move and copy sensitive data. For example, virtual machines are often routinely backed up, according to proper retention policies. However, given the volume of virtual machines running and the persistent backups of these resources, the locations of sensitive data can increase substantially,” said Hansen. This explosive growth in virtual machines and their associated backups all ultimately result in sensitive data residing in many more locations than in years past, according to SafeNet, this proliferation presents security teams with inherent challenges, increasing the complexity and effort required to secure sensitive assets. “Exacerbating matters is the uncertainty that can surround data destruction and retention. With the volume of virtual machine snapshots, it grows increasingly difficult to determine with certainty whether all instances of a sensitive repository are completely and

Dave Hansen from SafeNet says that sensitive data from VMs can reside in multiple locations.

permanently removed from all potential locations. In many cases, when data is deleted, it can be recovered easily,” said Hansen. Another potential challenge is posed by the changing dynamics of administration in virtualised environments. Cloud and virtualisation introduce more privileged users and a new class of administrators. Typically, teams of administrators focused on servers, storage, backups, and apps will have some level of access in virtual environments, and often security policies and administrative functions are handled independently by each group, according to SafeNet. Further, companies who use the public cloud will have their data handled by administrators who usually work for the cloud provider, not for the company itself.

NEWS IN BRIEF R&M optimises communications R&M has optimised internal communications and eliminated the need for one in every five business trips by deploying a streamlined conferencing solution from Swisscom.

Mervyn Kelly, EMEA marketing director, Ciena


Ciena launches data centre without walls Ciena has launched its data centre without walls concept, which is designed to be a seamlessly networked pool of data centre and IT utility services across multiple data centre sites.

Teradata launches Hadoop portfolio Teradata has introduced a portfolio for Hadoop that offers customers new flexible Hadoop-based product platforms, software, consulting services, training, and customer support.

Tripp Lite debuts new UPS systems The latest UPS systems by Tripp Lite, are designed to respond to energy and cost concerns in data centres across the GCC. They also feature a remote management set of capabilities.



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It’s time for hybrid cloud The hybrid IT environment is now dominating the IT infrastructure market, with companies looking at how to marry their private clouds, public clouds, and traditional IT environments, according to David Cearley, VP and Gartner fellow. “An element related to the growth of hybrid cloud is software defined networking and software defined data centres. If I want to build a private cloud or I am looking at someone building a public cloud service, the ability to dynamically reconfigure infrastructure components to be able to deliver this service better is important,” said Cearley. In relation to this is the evolving world of IT as a service broker. The new

A day in the life of…

David Cearley from Gartner says that hybrid IT will dominate the marketplace.




6.00AM Woke up, had a shower, checked e-mails & woke up my two sons

NOON Headed out for lunch with a client

7.00PM Had dinner with my family

2.00PM Follow up on e-mails and ad hocs

7.30PM Watched cartoons with kids

2.30PM One to one review & plan meeting

8.00PM Took both of my kids to bed and read them a bed time story

6.30AM Had coffee & breakfast with my wife and kids and helped my wife get the kids ready for school

Mazen Ballout vice president, GCC & Middle East, Gartner

role for IT is to broker IT access to services from various internal constituencies, those services might be from external providers, internal providers and it changes over time, according to Gartner. As the role of IT as a service broker emerges, the enterprise apps store idea gains traction. Enterprises can now put up a storefront that has the various company certified cloud services and other enterprise applications that are being provided internally. “The user can go to the enterprise app store to get various services on their desktop/mobile device. This neatly combines the world of mobility and cloud computing,” said Cearley.

7.30AM Dropped boys to school and nursery

3.30PM Conference call with channel marketing

8.30AM Had a team coffee meeting and reviewed plans for the week

4.30PM Monthly call with the Executive Program VP

9.30AM Prepared my presentation for the regular quarterly call

6.00PM Wrapped up the day/ prioritised to do for tomorrow, back home


9.00PM Had tea and then watched a movie with my wife 11.00PM Checked and responded to my work e-mails 11.30PM Went to bed

OVER HALF OF X86 ARCHITECTURE IS VIRTUALISED According to Gartner, as of mid-2013, almost two-thirds of x86 architecture workloads have been virtualised on servers. Virtualisation is a fundamental enabler to infrastructure as a service, and will be used to establish private cloud services, public cloud services and interoperable hybrid cloud services. All IaaS offerings will rely on VMs or container technology.


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NEWS JUST IN… du launches UTM for businesses in the UAE in partnership with SecurView to allow businesses to proactively respond to security challenges.

Kaspersky Lab says that 20.64% of phishing attacks targetted banks and other financial organisations between May 2012 and April 2013.

FireEye has released a new report that reveals that today’s sophisticated malware is able to hide, replicate, and disable host protections.

Kaspersky Lab has identified an increase in Apple phishing scams as cyber criminals target Apple IDs and Apple financial credentials.

For further info on the above stories, plus all the latest security news, visit

//Security_Report DATASTREAM


of UAE BYOD users would not report a phone breach Source: Aruba Networks


of businesses say downtime has resulted in either direct or indirect negative financial impact Source: Brocade


of all malware encounters in 2012 occurred via websites hosted in the United States of America Source: Cisco


The reported surge in malicious Android apps in Q2 2013 in the Trend Micro secong quarter 2013 Security Roundup Report Source: Trend Micro

Cyber crime growing in the Middle East 45% of GCC companies experienced a security incident Approximately 45% of the IT professionals in the GCC polled in Gulf Business Machines’ annual security survey admitted that their organisations had at least one IT security incident that they were aware of in the last 12 months. GBM polled a sample of 800 IT professionals across the GCC. “Of course many companies might not admit a breach or might not know that they have had a security incident,” said Hani Nofal, director of Intelligent Network Solutions (INS) at GBM. GBM defined a security incident as any level of security incident, either a minor or major one, that might have been reported by the company using their security tools or might have resulted in any service down time. The report also found that the GCC region is a growing target for cyber crime, with around 65% of respondents stating that they believe that the Middle East region in general is a prime target for cyber attacks. “In the last few months we have seen an increased level of cyber attacks. The UAE in particular reported an increased number of attacks on banks,” said Nofal. According to GBM at least one out of five professionals that were surveyed admitted that their organisation has not taken regular security audits or reviews, so there is some room for improvement in about 20% of the companies.



Tips to prevent cyber crime 1. Use strong passwords 2. Secure your computers activate your firewall, use antivirus/malware software, install anti-spyware 3. Be social-media savvy 4. Secure mobile devices 5. Install the latest operating system updates 6. Protect your data, use encryption 7. Secure your wireless network 8. Protect your company’s e-identity, don’t give out too much information 9. Train your employees not to click suspect links 10. Call the right person for help Source:



Managing devices is a must

Giovanni Alberici from Trend Micro says companies must control the data held on employee devices.

At the very minimum an enterprise must have some kind of device management system for its BYOD policy, according to Giovanni Alberici, marketing Architect at security expert Trend Micro. “With an employee device you cannot enforce certain controls, you cannot install certain things on it as you would over a laptop, and

you cannot lock it down. Companies must have some kind of device management where they can apply policies to devices,” said Alberici. Companies must also control the data held on the device and be able to ensure that the data is secure and can be wiped if the device is lost or stolen, according to Trend Micro. A good way to control what data goes onto the device is at the email gateway, where sensitive company information can be stopped. “If you have a data loss prevention system at the mail gateway you can stop sensitive information, going out to the device,” said Alberici. If a company is going to allow BYOD there are several facets that need to be considered said Alberici. “One is the device security as it enters your network, the second is data security, the third is policy. What is the agreed policy between the device owner and the company,” he said.


Source: Trend Micro



Command and Control servers active from 14th to 26th July

2250 1500 750 08/14













3.6m Botnet connections active from 14th to 26th July // WWW.ITP.NET /

300k 200k 100k


Prolexic DDoS quarterly attack report at a glance COMPARED TO Q2 2012: • 33% increase in the total number of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) • 23% increase in total number of infrastructure (layer three and layer four attacks) • 79% increase in the number of application layer (layer seven) attacks • 123% increase in attack duration: 38 hrs versus 17 hrs • 925% increase in average bandwidth • 1,655% increase in average packet-per-second rate COMPARED TO Q1 2013: • 20% increase in the total number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks • 17% increase in the number of infrastructure layer (layer three and four) attacks • 28% increase in total number of application layer (layer seven) attacks • 10% increase in attack duration: 38 hrs versus 34.5 hours in Q2 2012 • 2% increase in average bandwidth 49.24Gbps vs 48.25Gbps • 46% increase in average packet-per-second rate • China again maintains its position as the main source country for distributed denial of service attacks Source: Prolexic



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Nat Pisupati

Trust but verify As both personal and corporate data and applications move to the cloud and mobile devices, the saying ‘trust but verify’ takes on new meaning. It captures the practical reality of a world in which so many of our interactions occur online. More than ever, we need mechanisms to verify the identity of the entities with which we interact.

Static passwords can be a recipe for disaster and must be extended with other authentication factors.” Nat Pisupati, regional sales director , Identity & Access Management, Middle East & Africa , HID Global

Among the most important best practices is authentication beyond simple passwords. Enterprises have typically focused on securing the network perimeter and relied on static passwords to authenticate users inside the firewall. This is insufficient given the nature of today’s APTs, ad hoc hacking, and internal risks associated with BYOD adoption. Static passwords can be a recipe for disaster and must be extended with other authentication factors. Additionally, multi-factor authentication must be part of a multi-layered security strategy, including device authentication, browser protection, transaction authentication or pattern-based intelligence, and application security. This requires the use of an integrated multilayered authentication system and a real-time threat detection platform.


Fraud detection technology has been used in on-line banking and e-commerce for quite some time. Significant changes in this landscape led the industry to institute stringent compliance and customer data protection requirements. Compliance requires the full gamut of authentication and fraud prevention strategies, as well as both on-line and mobile payment security. Solutions must also comply with multifactor authentication options including mobile OTP Soft Tokens, transparent authentication, and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates, along with proactive fraud detection and tamperevident audit reporting. Fraud detection technology is expected to cross over into the corporate sector as a way to provide an additional layer of security for remote access use cases such as VPNs or Virtual Desktops.

Meanwhile, two-factor authentication measures, which have typically been confined to physical devices, are now also being delivered through soft tokens that can be held on user devices. A phone app generates an OTP, or OTPs are sent to the phone via SMS. For greater security, the authentication credential is stored on the mobile device’s secure element or SIM chip. Mobile tokens also can be combined with cloud app single-signon capabilities, blending two-factor authentication with streamlined access to multiple cloud apps on a single device. As identity management moves to the cloud there are critical challenges to resolve such as provisioning and revoking user identities across multiple cloud-based applications, while also enabling secure, user login to those applications. Furthermore, BYOD opens opportunities for access control for powerful new contactless authentication models, from tapping your corporate ID badge to a personal tablet for authenticating to a network, to using an NFC-enabled phone.


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Ciaran Forde

Reduce your carbon footprint The role of the data centre is undeniably critical to information and communication technology, but the increasing demand for processing power is having an impact on operating expenses across the industry. Greater operating power translates to a higher power consumption and heat generation which can send costs spiralling. However, controlling data centre costs without regards to performance also comes with its challenges.

Resilience, reliability and capacity should be front of mind when purchasing new modular equipment and optimising current technologies.” Ciaran Forde, VP – Enterprise Sales, CommScope MEA


Enterprises need to ensure that their IT infrastructure can quickly adapt to future requirements. But with demands on data centres growing faster than ever, achieving this goal is no easy task. There is no single way to ensure you prepare a data centre for the future, but what you can do is build a data centre capable of evolving. Better planning Many businesses have miscalculated their future needs when planning a new data centre and built one that is too small for their needs. On the other hand, fearful of making this mistake, many more have built data centres that are far bigger than what they actually require. The advent of virtualisation was to blame for many

mistakes like this a few years ago. Businesses built data centres on the proviso that they would only be able to run one application per server. Then along came virtualisation and suddenly they could run multiple virtual servers on a single physical machine, conserving a vast amount of power, space and money. Suddenly they had lots of spare servers gathering dust. Although virtualisation is now commonplace, many businesses still encounter problems with their data centres that stem from poor planning in the building phase. In order to properly plan a data centre, it is important to take a holistic view of the data centre design and build. DCIM integrates IT equipment and functions into one application, giving

managers a holistic view of operations, temperatures, power utilisation and security. This data can then be used to identify opportunities for optimising load, increasing cooling system efficiency and more effectively managing capacity. DCIM also provides a centralised resource to monitor, manage and allocate assets. Utilising assets Designing data centre operations around an organisation’s infrastructure and operations is challenging. Businesses needs change over time, so it is vital you make sure that your data centre can grow with your business. Rather than building a data centre you can ‘grow into’, it’s best to build one that you can easily expand when necessary. At the very simplest level, this can mean making sure that there is enough physical space available on site to add new cables or servers in the future. To ensure easy scalability, businesses are increasingly deploying modular data centres that can plug into existing systems. The



percentage of companies that have acquired modular, or prefabricated, data centres so far is small, only 9% have already deployed modular data centres, with 8% of IT managers planning to, according to a 2013 Uptime Institute survey of 1,000 data centre managers and executives worldwide. Thirty percent of respondents said they will consider these types of data centres in the future. A modular data centre is essentially a purpose-built module containing servers, and standardised storage and networking components, while some also contain cooling systems. These modules can be attached on to existing data centres. To make upgrades even easier, many solutions are now fitted with pre-terminated cables that can be plugged in to other components, eliminating the need for cables to be wired on site. This approach also minimises the risk of mistakes being made in the design, ordering and installation processes. As the data rates of individual links in data centres increase, IT managers also need to ‘sweat the assets’ they have, as the individual connections are becoming more valuable. To this end, Intelligence inside the data centre also improves operational efficiencies across the board, providing visibility into what resources are available, what data speeds can be supported and, if maintenance is needed,

It is vital you make sure that your data centre can grow with your business, according to Ciaran Forde from CommScope.

what ports are available and what systems can easily be moved around. Cabling To keep pace with this data deluge, cabling standards have been forced to adapt quickly to support greater bandwidth and lower latenFAST FACTS x86 servers saw an annual revenue growth of 3.7% in the Middle East and Africa, despite the regional decline in the MENA region. In Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates the server revenue recorded double-digit growth. Only 9% of companies have already deployed modular data centres.


cies, while also reducing overall cost, bulk and overall power consumption. Most recently, 10GBASE-T has overcome a number of challenges related to power consumption to become increasingly accepted in server uplink applications. With work underway on the second generation of 40/100GbE standards in IEEE, the adoption of 10GBase-T is expected to accelerate, since higher-speed 40 Gigabit Ethernet fibre links are now available to aggregate scores of 10GBase-T connections. In line with this, Crehan Research recently projected that 10GBase-T deployments will overtake 10GbE fibre in the data centre by 2015. A major benefit of structured cabling is that IT managers can easily replace the cable, or change the port it is attached to, in the event of a hardware failure.

The Base-T’s ‘Wake on LAN’ functionality allows for greater flexibility and energy efficiency and by enabling data centre operators to shut down servers and only turn them on as and when needed. Evolving the data centre As society becomes increasingly digitised, data centres will play an ever more fundamental role in processing information. As a result, resilience, reliability and capacity should be front of mind when purchasing new modular data centre equipment and optimising the current technologies. There are many steps to creating a truly green data centre, but through proper planning and wise investment in monitoring tools, enterprises and smaller players can ensure they aren’t left behind with inefficient systems that are core to their business.





The Ministry of Manpower in Oman needed to modernise its communications platform, add multi-media capabilities and support productivity among its mobile workers.


Together with partner Mustafa Sultan, a fully integrated IP telephony solution was deployed leveraging Huawei’s eSpace Unified Communications solution: The solutions deployed include: • Huawei U-1980 IP Telephony System • Smart Call 1000 UMS System • Huawei EMS Server • Huawei BMU Server


• There has been greater collaboration between the mobile teams at the Ministry • Reduced operational expenditure, cabling infrastructure, and a reduction in overallcall expenditures • Faster & simplified decision-making capabilities utilising the new system • Smooth integration of the Huawei system with pre-existing infrastructure

Case study

Modernising Communications Huawei works to improve Oman Ministry of Manpower’s internal communications platform

nemployment in the Middle East is already twice the rate of the global average and the International Labour Organisation recently projected that this figure is set to rise further over the next few years. The Sultanate of Oman has been proactive in advancing sustainable job creation as a top national priority and the Ministry of Manpower Oman has been standing at the fore-



front of a government campaign to provide training and employment opportunities necessary to create a skilled national workforce. The Ministry employs up to 2,500 staff who work across multiple ministry offices. BUSINESS CHALLENGE In recent years, the Ministry started to see a deeper connection in how new communication technologies could increase the productivity of

its employees and partners. By the start of 2012, it was quite clear that the Ministry’s existing communications network needed to catch up with its institutional ambitions. Ministry processes were not sufficiently unified under a single management platform, making both maintenance and upgrades complex. The Ministry’s operations also involve a great deal of field work in Oman’s metropolitan hubs, especially in more



The Ministry of Manpower in Oman implemented a new unified communications system and is reaping the benefits, according to Huawei.

remote areas of the Sultanate, and international office locations. Its existing system was overloaded in taking on these mobility requirements and were no longer able to facilitate the increasing amount of network access points required by employees working from smart devices while onthe-go. “We clearly needed to modernise our communications infrastructure and the challenge was to introduce unified communication services that would be compat-


ible with existing components of our network infrastructure, which had previously been supported by multiple technology vendors, while providing added functionality,” said Redha Ahmed Al Lawati, director of Network & Information Security at the Ministry of Manpower. WHY HUAWEI? Several vendors were initially approached by the Ministry, which appointed an internal taskforce to test and evaluate potential solutions over sev-

eral months. Simplified management, solution scalability, and cost efficiency were the ultimate criteria in the Ministry of Manpower’s decision to select Huawei Enterprise. “Beginning in October 2012, the Ministry and Huawei Enterprise embarked on a journey that involved an overall consolidation of the Ministry’s communications network and the launch of a fully-integrated IP telephony system,” said Al Lawati. In collaboration with tier one Omani partner Mustafa Sultan, Huawei Enterprise built a new system on the foundation of Huawei’s eSpace Unified Communications (UC) solution, which powers a collaborative communications platform, designed to enable all Ministry offices and employees to enjoy seamless integration of voice, video, and data sharing between colleagues both locally and internationally. Combining a variety of services and applications, the eSpace unified communications solution is a scalable solution from Huawei Enterprise used in a diversity of small, medium, and large enterprises across different industry sectors. Mustafa Sultan’s technical team rolled out the solution in a record time of four months, following the industry’s best practice guidelines while ensuring zero downtime and business continuity for the Ministry. “The solution was ideally suited to the Ministry of Manpower’s needs as it was able to optimise communication and operating modes by delivering key improvements to all

IN PRACTICE HOW HUAWEI ENTERPRISE HELPED MINISTRY OF MANPOWER IN OMAN EFFORTLESS IMPLEMENTATION A record four months to the solution implementation with zero downtime and complete business continuity for the Ministry GREATER COLLABORATION Since the implementation, there has been seamless integration of voice, video and data sharing between colleagues, both locally and internationally OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY Since the implementation, there has been simplified and faster decision making on a day-to-day basis coupled with a reduction in administration and operational costs across the Ministry MOBILE DATA Ministry staff can now access data from the network on their own mobile devices while onthe-go utilising the new Huawei unified communications solution implemented at the Ministry of Manpower in Oman



With the new Huawei unified communication platform, the Ministry of Manpower in Oman has seen an increase in productivity.

four layers of the Ministry of Manpower’s communications network,” said Al Lawati. At the service layer, the Ministry was able to establish tools such as a unified messaging system to support the creation of wholly-new virtual contact centres, drawing increased profits from VASs and precision marketing services. On the call control layer, Huawei’s U-1980 IP Telephony System functions as a single gateway providing a variety of calling services covering voice, fax, web, and SMS. At the terminal access layer, the eSpace UC solution supports an online collaborative office, accessible from nearly any terminal brand whether a smartphone, tablet, traditional PC or even analog phone. “Perhaps the greatest advancements however, were

We needed to modernise our communications infrastructure and the challenge was to introduce unified communication services that would be compatible with existing components of our network infrastructure.” Redha Ahmed Al Lawati, director Network & Information Security, Ministry of Manpower


realised at the management layer with Huawei’s Business Management Unit [BMU] and Element Management System [EMS] Servers allowing Ministry administrators to manage all user accounts and services while establishing alarm, performance and security management functions,” said Al Lawati. BUSINESS IMPACT Following the conclusion of its agreement with Huawei Enterprise, the revamped Ministry of Manpower communication system is now working in tandem with the pre-existing IT infrastructure to empower users with better flexibility, mobility and productivity wherever they are working from. Employees have regular access to VoIP, collaborative

conferencing, remote training, and office applications. According to Huawei, its added value services, such as onsite engineers and employee training have contributed to faster adoption of the tools in the Ministry. “Already we are seeing reduced cabling and administration costs with further reductions in OpEx and overall Ministry call expenditures,” said Al Lawati. “More importantly, we believe that the improved network will enable much faster and simplified decision-making within day to day business, in turn boosting our employee’s productivity and that of our partners.” Future plans are already in place to integrate new video-conferencing facilities into all Ministry branches and international offices. By consolidating many of the Ministry of Manpower’s communication services on a single IP infrastructure, Huawei Enterprise will also be able to assist the Ministry to evolve the network as future innovations are made to individual components of the eSpace unified communications solution. “Huawei Enterprise has certainly delivered on its initial scope while delivering added value at every step of the project implementation,” said Al Lawati. “As we support Oman’s Vision 2020, the Ministry of Manpower is now better equipped to make vital education services and corporate training curricula more accessible to the public, fostering the next generation of leaders within the workforce.” // WWW.ITP.NET /

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02.11ac is the latest IEEE standard for Wireless LAN (WLAN) network technology. The new standard is expected to be ratified by end of 2013 or early in 2014. The Wi-Fi Alliance has already begun certification programmes for 802.11ac and it is expected that certifications and equipment will be rolled out in at least two phases, with the first phase happening now, and another phase to realise all of the IEEE specification’s enhancements coming at least a year from now. Several access points (AP) and client radios supporting the 802.11ac draft specification have been released in 2013 and are shipping with this first phase of enhancements. 802.11ac moves WiFi to gigabit delivery capability which is exponential in terms of bandwidth capability over wireless networks and a ‘game-changing’ leap. “In technology theory this is very appealing, however, in practice, it may not be so simple. There are several considerations that determine the use case benefits of 802.11ac and deployment considerations before investment decisions should be made by CIO’s,” says Aneeta Gupta, CEO and president of ICT provider and systems integrator Visionaire 802.11ac is essentially about higher bit rates over a WLAN connection. It builds on many of the techniques introduced in 802.11n to deliver higher rates. According to network troubleshooting and performance expert Fluke Networks, the 802.11ac benefits include wider channels. 802.11n introduced 40 MH s channels, which im// WWW.ITP.NET /

proved rates over previous 20 MHz channels. 802.11ac introduces 80 MH s channels now, and 160 MH S channels in a next wave; higher modulation and coding schema (MCS). 802.11ac introduces 256 QAM, which allows more bits to be encoded in a single symbol. This can provide up to a 33% improvement in bit rates; more spatial streams via more antennae. 802.11n introduced Multiple Input / Multiple Output (MIMO) transmission systems, which uses up to four antennae for transmitting and four antennae for receiving (4x4). This allows a single bit stream to be divided into four different streams to be transmitted simultaneously, and then aggregated back to the original bit stream at the receiving end. 802.11ac increases this to up to eight streams via eight antennae (8x8); multi-user MIMO. 802.11ac introduces the technique of an AP using multiple antennae to transmit simultaneously to multiple clients. For example, a 4x4 AP can transmit simultaneously to four 1x1 clients. According to Fluke Networks, the first wave of this technology includes 80 MHz channels and 3x3 APs. Wider 160 MHz channels, MIMO configurations greater than 3x3, and multi-user MIMO is expected to come in the next wave. Physical layer connection rates will eventually be 6.9 Gbps. But most implementations in the first wave of deployments, using 3x3 MIMO, will support 1.3 Gbps. “What all of this really means is user throughput [as measured in bits per second] will increase from what they are now in 802.11n networks. A higher user throughput will, in turn, increase the capacity of 802.11ac APs. Because a user // SEPTEMBER 2013 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / 29



Werner Heeren from Fluke says higher throughput rates of 802.11ac are not certain nor guaranteed.

Aneeta Gupta from Visionaire says if you deploy 802.11ac AP’s now you’re provisioning for future use.


Tips for companies implementing 802.11ac 1. If you are planning any major wireless upgrade, consult with your preferred vendor/system integrator to ensure the product you select includes 802.11ac. 2. Involve your internal IT department to ensure that the newly purchased laptops are 802.11ac compatible. 3. Verify your current wired network infrastructure is able to support 802.11ac. 802.11ac clients will operate at almost Gigabit speed, the wired as well andsecurity infrastructure will be put under additional stress. 4. Take into consideration the implementation

of controller-less/cloud based solutions. These kinds of solutions do not need an expensive controller to be installed on site, facilitating and mitigating the impact of a future migration. Cloudbased solutions can facilitate a mixed coverage environment, where 802.11ac is initially deployed, but only in densely populated areas. 5. Capacity Planning and RF Planning have always been key factors in designing a proper wireless infrastructure. With 802.11ac acting as an enabler for BYOD users, the planning and design phase will be more important than ever. Source: Gulf Business Machines


Sabbah Khan from Allied Telesis says that the 802.11ac standard may require a backbone upgrade.

can download a file and upload an email attachment at faster transmission rates, they can use less time on the shared RF media. Therefore, more users transmitting at these higher rates can access the shared RF media of an AP,” explains Werner Heeren, regional sales director, High Growth Markets, region MEAT at Fluke Networks. However, according to Fluke Networks, the higher throughput rates are neither certain nor guaranteed. They depend on a number of factors such as signal levels and signal/noise ratios, co-channel interference, MIMO and spatial streams, beam steering and RRM techniques of an AP, and the hardware and firmware of radio adapters and the APs. “802.11ac will often require an upgrade to the network backbone and uplink connections to avoid bottlenecks, but it represents a significant move forward in the provision of greater bandwidth and flexibility,” explains Sabbah Khan, regional manager, Allied Telesis Middle East. HOW DO 802.11AC AND 802.11N DIFFER? While 802.11ac will provide backwards compatibility to 802.11n, some of the new capabilities that it provides to the market include that 802.11ac ends the channel binding from 40 MHz in 802.11n to 80 MHz, which provide more single channel performance, according to Gartner. Optionally, 802.11ac allows up to 160 MHz channels. “The new standard can support more spatial streams. Currently, many 802.11n access points will support three spatial streams which allow single client simultaneous communication though the standard allows up to four spatial streams. Clients typically only have one or two spatial streams which limits the ability to achieve the higher end data rates of the standard. 802.11ac increases the number of allowed spatial streams to eight,” explains Tim Zimmerman, VP, Gartner Research. // WWW.ITP.NET /



802.11ac also supports MU-MIMO, multi-user-multiple input, multiple output capabilities in its wave two, which will allow the access point to communicate to multiple clients in a coverage area simultaneously. Wave two means that the functionality of the standard has been broken into two sets of capabilities that will be released to the market, according to Gartner. The new standard also provides standards based beamforming. Beamforming allows clients to get better signals within the coverage area and therefore better performance. It has been historically deployed in 802.11n but differences in vendor implementations made it difficult for interoperability between different vendor solutions. “As with all standards there are many additional features that have been implemented in the standard and may be needed by implementers depending on their specific usage scenario,” states Zimmerman. According to Tariq Hasan, regional sales manager, WNS (Wireless Network Services), Middle East and North Africa at Motorola Solutions, 802.11ac works only in the 5GHz spectrum, unlike 802.11n which worked in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. 802.11ac is also around two to three times faster than 802.11n – it has a maximum theoretical speed of 1.3Gbit. “The wireless network reach on 802.11ac has been greatly improved, first by using the 5Ghz spectrum, which is far less congested than that used by previous generations, and also through the implementation of beamforming technology. Beamforming focuses the WLAN signal coming out of routers connected to a point of access, and aims it towards devices rather than spreading it uniformly,” says Hasan. Achieving higher data rates, however, comes with a compromise as there are fewer available channels in the 5 GHz band, according to Visionaire. With 802.11a, there are a total of 24 non-overlapping channels available, but with 802.11ac, achieving the maximum data rate possible reduces that number to just two for 80MHz and only one channel for 160 MHz wide channels. USAGE With the first wave of 802.11ac products hitting the market, theoretical Wi-Fi data rates leaped from a mere megabit to a gigabit. 802.11ac is designed to address the congestion problem in networks and reduces the amount of airtime required to transmit data. The cumulative benefit of 802.11ac features will enable Wi-Fi solutions to meet today’s demand for high capacity and high quality mobile real-time applications such as video and voice. “As the commercial population becomes more mobile, two trends have emerged for Wi-Fi solutions to address: Mobile applications now demand more bandwidth, video and voice applications have increased the demand for pervasive bandwidth everywhere, and now individuals carry multiple wireless devices. With an average corporate mobile device/user ratio approaching 2.7 [laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone], client congestion has become a problem for wireless networks,” // WWW.ITP.NET /

There are several considerations that determine the use case benefits of 802.11ac and deployment considerations before investment decisions should be made by CIO’s.” Aneeta Gupta, CEO and president, Visionaire

states Fayaz Ahamed, head of Wireless division at regional value added distributor, Comguard. The challenge for 802.11ac is to meet today’s functional demands and the explosive wireless market growth that is expected over the next three to five years. “This sounds fair enough in the theory surrounding 802.11ac, but in practice you’re not likely to see 802.11ac reach its theoretical maximum of 1.3 Gigabit per second [Gbps]. That’s because the conditions you need to reach that speed are not available in user environments. Let me explain this better. To reach the highest speeds you need three data-streams, each of which can run up to 433 Megabits per second [Mbps]. A typical 802.11ac access point can support up to eight data streams. Client devices normally support one given that BYOD comes with a high cost on considerations such as battery life, therefore, practically the electronics is meant to be a ‘trade-off’ between capability and consumption. “For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 supports 802.11ac with the Broadcom BCM4335 Wi-Fi chipset. This chipset only supports a single stream so, even in the best of all possible worlds, you’ll only see 433Mbps,” says Gupta. Initially 802.11ac will help early adopters that are looking for higher throughput that can be provided by wave 1 solutions according to Gartner. Wave 2 solutions will be better suited to address high density coverage requirements. BENEFITS OF 802.11AC TO ENTERPRISE 802.11ac Features

Customer Benefits

Wider channels

Higher data rates – up to 1.3Gbps per radio

Higher encoding density

Higher bit density per packet

Increased number of spatial streams

Higher data rates per AP/ client link


Greater wireless AP/client link reliability

Multi-user MIMO

Greater AP/client capacity and use of spectrum // SEPTEMBER 2013 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / 31



With an average corporate mobile device/user ratio approaching 2.7 [laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone], client congestion has become a problem for wireless networks.” Fayaz Ahamed, head of Wireless division, Comguard

ENTERPRISE BENEFITS Having a new network standard is going improve speed, capacity, range, and support for higher bandwidth applications on all different types of devices, but it is on mobile technology that the greatest benefits will be felt. “We’re beginning to see lots of enterprises adopt mobile computing or BYOD-oriented corporate and IT policy. 802.11ac will compliment that very well,” says Maan Al-Shakarchi, senior sales manager, Avaya Networking Solutions, MEA. The practice of making the most of 802.11ac to the enterprise need to be prudently studied and deployed for maximum benefits and there should be clear considerations for expectancy before investments are made, according to Visionaire. “Smartphones with 802.11ac support can be considered one of the next phases in early adoption for the technology, following consumer-based APs, laptops and enterprise wireless access points. 802.11ac technology will provide benefits such as expanded bandwidth and higher client density, all on the less crowded 5 GHz band. 802.11ac technology includes tools to support the bandwidth hungry applications,” says Gupta.

Timothy Zimmerman from Gartner says the 802.11ac standard can support more spatial streams.


According to Visionaire, one of the first user groups to take full advantage of 802.11ac will be education. Students who are typically early adopters of tablets and smartphones will most likely show up to class with their 802.11ac supported smartphone, tablet or laptop and expect the promises of higher performance that 802.11ac brings. Healthcare and service providers will also gain the benefits of 802.11ac technology adoption by providing device connectivity for bandwidth hungry applications such as faster file transfers with medical imaging. “As what happened with adoption of 802.11n technology at the enterprise level, there will be a lag between the consumer and enterprise adoption rates,” says Samson Lee, marketing executive at TP-LINK TECHNOLOGIES. Synchronisation or back up of client data over Wi-Fi will be also easier with 802.11ac and development of cloud applications will accelerate as a lot more could now be done using a wireless client with the application centrally hosted. “High Definition video could be transmitted to a larger number of clients over 802.11ac,” says Tariq Hasan, regional sales manager, WNS, MENA at Motorola Solutions. The final 802.11ac standard should be ratified by IEEE in the beginning of 2014. 802.11AC PRACTICAL USAGE 802.11ac will provide a leading-edge, premium level of service for deployment scenarios, such as: • VIP sections of public venues and stadiums • Luxury hotels and VIP suites • University and college lecture halls • Conference centres • Executive small and medium businesses (e.g. realtors, lawyers, engineers, physicians)

Maan Al-Shakarchi from Avaya says the 802.11ac standard will compliment enterprises’ move to BYOD.

Fayaz Ahamed from Comguard says the average corporate mobile device/user ratio is approaching 2.7.






he corporate network is a complex beast these days. Unless you have the luxury of building a green field site from scratch, it is probably a mixture of legacy LAN infrastructure, integrated with wireless and WAN gateways, with some virtualised elements, supporting access by a bewildering array of end-user devices. Mapping network devices, monitoring network performance to ensure that it meets the exacting standards of highlyconsumerised IT users, prioritising network traffic, spotting rogue devices and securing corporate data traffic, tracking IP addresses and managing network configurations are just the tip of the daily iceberg for hard-pressed network managers. Fortunately, their traditional ally, network management software (NMS), has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last decade. That is no mean feat, given the rate at which networks are adapting to accommodate new technology, higher data speeds, multimedia traffic and users’ boundless appetite for bandwidth. But it also means that the range and depth of NMS software products can make it difficult to choose the most appropriate solution. “Network management software was designed to automate monotonous and time-consuming IT tasks such as monitoring servers, network performance, routers and finding rogues devices,” explains Haritha Ramachandran, industry manager, information and communication technologies practice at market analyst Frost & Sullivan. “Unfortunately, there is an almost endless number of different NMS products, with some of them putting more emphasis on user-friendly interfaces and others offering advanced diagnostic features and add-ons. But overall, the leading prod// 34 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / SEPTEMBER 2013 /

ucts are emphasising network monitoring and alerting, core features for any network management software.” Vivek Bhalla, principal research analyst at IT research firm Gartner says that in addition to network performance monitoring, NMS solutions should encompass two further disciplines: network fault management, and network configuration and change management. “Depending on an organisation’s precise requirements, scalability, flexibility and customisation, ease of use and breadth of network device coverage would be the major considerations when selecting any solution to provide coverage for one or even more of these network management disciplines,” he says. THE ESSENTIALS According to Roger Holder, EMEA field marketing manager at LAN testing equipment specialist Fluke Networks, NMS should help network engineers to investigate and solve network problems, including identifying if the problem is actually in the network, and to optimise network performance. An NMS needs to take a horizontal view of the infrastructure, including copper, fibre and wireless, and a vertical view spanning all seven layers of the network, including application, server and network performance data, he said. It should also be able to collect, aggregate, correlate and mediate all information gathered from other devices, provide real-time and backin-time views, and offer comprehensive interfaces. A centralised repository from all data sources will allow IT to create easy-to-use charts, graphs, reports and guided workflows for quick and accurate problem identification and resolution. “These features take away the need to make assumptions and enable the user to follow a logical process until the issue // WWW.ITP.NET /






Network management Organisations are waking up to the contribution which more streamlined network management can make to their bottom line, and this is having a significant influence on the way tools are evolving, particularly on the performance monitoring and analysis front. “Network Performance Monitoring solutions have shown the greatest level of innovation and development in recent years with embedded analytics to aid diagnostics,” says Vivek Bhalla, principal analyst at Gartner Research. “The goal here is not only to facilitate outage and degradation resolution but also identify performance optimisation opportunities. On a more strategic level, whereas previously network management tools were predominantly networkdomain oriented, this emphasis is shifting and network teams are often the initial starting point to triage application, server, security and storage issues when a fault is identified before handing over to the domain-specific teams for further troubleshooting and diagnosis. “NPM tools allow for network engineers to understand the performance of infrastructure components via network instrumentation that

they then may share with application owners and server, security and storage teams.” Another key development is the rise of Software Defined Networking (SDN), which is helping to turn the network into a platform for innovation. Mervyn Kelly, EMEA marketing director at high performance network specialist, said SDN is not just another new buzzword. “SDN is a new, dynamic network architecture that transforms traditional network backbones into more intelligent service-delivery platforms,” he explains. “IT leaders can use software defind networking as a tool to change the way they do business. For example, enterprises can foster closer relationships with their customers by offering greater online access to select data over the entire enterprise network. “A financial services firm can give large corporate customers the opportunity for thirdparty reporting, governance, or even allow analytics firms to directly access enterprise credit card transactions, obviating the need for intermediate sites and cumbersome manual process steps that are needed to provide sufficient security.”


is identified and resolved, reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR) and making the network engineer more effective,” explains Holder. “As well as facilitating troubleshooting, these features will also provide the visibility needed to support network optimisation.” Ideally, he says, NMS should address a range of issues, including unmanaged equipment, undocumented network (by providing a means of discovering the real-time path through the network), data overload, historical and recurring problems, new and unmonitored technology (such as 10Gb Ethernet or 802.11n Wi-Fi), wireless and Bluetooth devices (and anything else that taps into the spectrum), and problems that are external to the network. “A recent Fluke Networks survey of around 3000 network professionals found that 82% of respondents ranked network and application performance problems as a concern or critical issue,” says Holder. “NMS plays a key role in helping organisations solve network problems more quickly. Networks are becoming more complex due to the growth of technologies such as virtualisation, cloud and BYOD, so getting to the root cause of issues is increasingly difficult and time-consuming. “The network is a strategic asset to the business, and any downtime or degradation in network or application performance will directly impact on the organisation’s bottom line, hence the need for NMS to speed up problem-solving.” ACHIEVING THE BEST There are two other important areas in which NMS can help network engineers to achieve the best possible service levels. Firstly, they provide network managers with the visibility to document and audit the health of the network, enabling them to prioritise projects such as server upgrades based on evidence of poor performance and slow-running applications or servers, make the case for investment in new equipment, and demonstrate the impact of changes such as virtualisation, WAN optimsation or data centre consolidation on the network. Secondly, they can assist with third-party performance monitoring. As Holder explains, software as a service, cloud

A recent Fluke Networks survey of around 3,000 network professionals found that 82% of respondents ranked network and application performance problems as a concern or critical issue.” Roger Holder, EMEA field marketing manager, Fluke Networks // WWW.ITP.NET /


Vivek Bhalla from Gartner Research says NPM tools allow network engineers to understand performance.

Dev Anand from ManageEngine says the important of NMS can be physically measured.

and virtualisation adoption is making the network manager more dependent than ever on third parties. “This demands more user-controlled end-to-end performance testing, not just at the lower layers as was required when carriers only provided transport services,” he explains. “Now, they are carrying business applications and standards such as Y1564 at all layers, and so applications and true server [not just transport] level support for such performance testing is required to determine whether a supplier is responsible for breaching their SLAs or not.” Syed Akhtar, MEA software sales director for Schneider Electric’s IT business, says NMS is an important tool to help enterprises meet their end-to-end business network management needs. “Newer management software tools are intelligent and are designed to identify and resolve issues with minimum intervention, thus eliminating the need for many man hours,” he said. “It also improves the efficiency of data centre operations and helps in upgrades and infrastructure improvements.” The vendor recently implemented its Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and StruxureWare Data Centre Operation software at the Khalifa Port Data Centre. “The project helped us in integrating between hardware and software, which simulates the effect of future equipment add-ons, moves, and changes, making it totally scalable,” said Akhtar. “In addition it allows operators to monitor power and cooling redundancy under fault and maintenance conditions, and check the impact of new equipment on redundancy and safety margins. Khalifa Port data centre is designed with the highest system availability so that visibility and transparency for protecting the system efficiency are not compromised. In the region, it is a state-of-the-art data centre and began operation in December 2013, and to date has had zero downtime.” // WWW.ITP.NET /

Mervyn Kelly from Ciena says SDN is a new, dynamic network architecture that transforms the network.

THE RISE OF NMS IN THE MIDDLE EAST Industry analyst Frost & Sullivan estimates that the NMS market in the Middle East is generating nearly $200 million a year at the moment. “The uptake of NMS in the region is growing, especially in the leading countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where business requires flawless networks to cope with processing and storing data,” said Haritha Ramachandran, industry manager, ICT Practice. Gartner’s assessment is more modest but does suggest that network management is one of the most dynamic elements in the overall IT Operations Management market. “The entire IT Operations Management market for the Middle East and North

Africa region is valued by Gartner at $228.8M for 2012, representing a growth of 2.7% from 2011,” said principal analyst, Vivek Bhalla. “Breaking out Network Management as a sub-segment of ITOM, this is valued at $27.2M for 2012, a growth of 4.8%. The adoption rate of NMS is occurring faster for this region than general ITOM. I would estimate 20% of my end-user enquiry engagements are from clients from the Middle East. This is a disproportionately large percentage given the size of the NMS market of the Middle East and North Africa compared to more mature regions. This suggests to me that uptake of network management tools is very significant.”






artner forecasts that by 2017, 90% of every enterprise storage environment will use some form of solid state drive (SSD) technology, quickly growing from under 20% in 2012. The uptake of SSDs in the Middle East is definitely on an upswing as well, says Gartner. “There has been some uptake of enterprise grade SSDs in the region but based on what we’re seeing in international markets, the trend is moving more towards hybrid storage solutions that combine SSD storage and hard drive storage. This solution provides the best of both worlds; performance and capacity at a price that’s easier to digest,” explains Khwaja Saifuddin, senior sales director, Middle East, Africa & South Asia, at storage expert Western Digital. // 38 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / SEPTEMBER 2013 /

Budget constraints have seen many IT projects put on the backburner in the region. In most cases a business will only make the investment if it is an absolute necessity and even then, the cost of the IT project is closely monitored. However, according to Bill Liu, regional manager, Channel Marketing & Sales Division, at optical storage company Plextor, the company has seen a tenfold growth in SSD uptake since 2012 and is expecting similar growth towards 2014. However, according to HGST, there is still not large uptake of individually purchased SSDs. “Still SSDs are likely to be in use, purchased with a branded storage system that we provided the SSD for. I can’t imagine that the advantages of an SSD enhanced storage system would be ignored by Middle East operators,” said Manfred Berger, head of Cloud & Mobility EMEA, HGST. // WWW.ITP.NET /


It will not be economically feasible for IT departments to simply replace HDDs with SSDs within the next five to ten years.” Arun Chandrasekaran, research director, Gartner

SSD BENEFITS SSD performance is focused on sequential throughput, with its ability to copy large files up to 10 times faster than tradition hard drives, this makes SSDs the ultimate storage space for those working with large amounts of data. They are a great help for people who work with graphics editing software, or those who have to deal with CAD programmes on a daily basis, according to Plextor. “Any application which has to access a great number of files [operating system, databases, etc] will benefit from an SSD, while applications which use only a few files will not likely see a huge boost,” explains Liu. The benefits of SSDs are mostly related to improvements in application performance by reducing electromechanical HDD latencies. The latency for HDDs is measured in milliseconds, // WWW.ITP.NET /

according to Bernd Breinbauer, Director EMEA SSD Sales, Seagate. The benefit of installing a SSD is that latency can be reduced to micro-seconds respectively, even to nano-seconds. “Installing faster components, such as SSDs, into storage systems and servers helps IT departments avoid outlays for time-consuming projects that require specialist application software and infrastructure performance-tuning skills,” says Arun Chandrasekaran, research director, Gartner. Not only can Enterprise SSDs optimise the I/O performance and reduce access time to data by significantly eliminating latency, SSDs also apply intelligent caching algorithms. “Certain enterprise grade SSDs can, today, deliver and exceed 100,000 IOPS [Input/Output Operations Per Second]. Since these drives are built with no moving parts they also consume less power than traditional mechanical hard drives. Another benefit leveraged from the lack of moving parts is that these drives are not prone to performance dips caused by excessive vibration, also known as rotational vibration interference [RVI]. It’s worth noting however that some modern enterprise grade hard drives feature enhanced rotary acceleration feed forward [RAFF] technology, which monitors and corrects linear and rotational vibration in real time, resulting in consistent drive performance,” says Saifuddin. By adding SSDs to the enterprise storage mix, operators can optimise their Total Cost of Ownership, provided they run a system that can take advantage of SSDs either as read cache or as meta data storage to accelerate system throughput. “Pure SSD installations can be costly and yet might provide the best TCO. That is very obvious in applications were the same data is used by a large number of customers. SSD based video on demand servers for instance can play out movies to hundreds of customers from a single SSD simultaneously. Equally, high frequency transaction applications, as you would find in financial institutions, benefit greatly from SSD based storage,” says Berger. SSD DRAWBACKS The cost per GB of enterprise-grade SSDs, compared with enterprise-grade HDDs, will remain at prohibitively high levels for the foreseeable future, with the cost per GB for enterprise server SSDs holding at more than 25 times the cost per GB of enterprise business-critical HDDs, according to Gartner. “It will not be economically feasible for IT departments // SEPTEMBER 2013 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / 39






To our drives, every application is critical Advanced, robust and reliable, the HGST range of hard drives cover all your data storage application needs — from high capacity enterprise drives for cloud and data centre storage, to the industry’s most comprehensive storage lineup for laptops and notebook computers , we’ve got you covered. HGST is a true pioneer in hard drive design and manufacture. Now owned by Western Digital, it was formerly part of the Hitachi network. We continue to set new standards, developing breakthrough drives that are faster, smaller and more energy efďŹ cient than ever — not to mention cool and quiet. Whatever you use them for, HGST drives simply won’t let you down.

Š 201 HGST, a Western Digital company, 3403 Yerba Buena Road, San Jose, CA 95135 USA. All rights reserved. Ultrastar and HiVERT are trademarks of HGST, a Western Digital company. HGST trademarks are intended and authorised for use only in countries and jurisdictions in which HGST has obtained the rights to use, market and advertise the brand. Contact HGST for additional information. HGST shall not be liable to third parties for unauthorised use of this document or unauthorised use of its trademarks. References in this publication to HGST’s products, programs, or services do not imply that HGST intends to make these available in all countries in which it operates.                                                     


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Arun Chandrasekaran from Gartner says that the uptake of SSDs in the Middle East is on the upswing.

Bernd Breinbauer from Seagate says that companies using SSDs will benefit from increased productivity.

to simply replace HDDs with SSDs within the next five to ten years,” states Chandrasekaran. “Customers also need to recognise that it is a nascent, yet rapidly evolving market segment. For example in all SSD arrays, features such as automated data management, efficiency features such as deduplication and compression, high availability and DR capabilities need to evolve further to meet the expectations of the enterprise.” The high cost per gigabyte is a major drawback for any enterprise wishing to transition to a full SSD or a hybrid system combining both SSDs and HDDs. SSDs also currently offer less storage space than traditional hard drives, today’s enterprise TOP FIVE TIPS FOR...

Beginning your SSD implementation • Ignore the hype surrounding SSDs and approach the project with a view fixed firmly on measureable benefits that deliver real RoI. • Be thorough when conducting your feasibility study and identify where the actual bottlenecks are in your IT systems. It may not be storage related. • Go through a proof of concept process and realise that there is a difference between proof of concept and the real world. • Consider a hybrid storage system comprising enterprise grade SSDs to handle the high/heavy workloads and enterprise grade HDDs at an attractive cost per gigabyte. • Pick a partner that has plenty of experience in SSD implementation or hybrid systems.


Khwaja Saifuddin from Western Digital says enterprise grade SSDs can deliver and exceed 100,000 IOPS.

SSDs are limited in terms of the maximum capacity on offer, 2TB is the upper limit of SATA/SAS SSDs on the market today versus enterprise HDDs that can typically offer 4TB on a single drive. Depending on the requirements of the enterprise, going with SSDs may require the purchase of additional racks and/or floor-space to accommodate the drives necessary for the enterprise. “As a basic example; to hit 400TB of capacity an enterprise will need just 100 4TB hard drives that could go into a couple of racks but in the case of SSDs, assuming the 2TB upper limit, the enterprise would need 200 SSD drives and thus additional racks and space,” states Saifuddin. SAVINGS WITH SSDS Since the market entry of HDDs into the traditional storage segment some 50 years ago, buyers have primarily looked at the Price/GB ratio of a given HDD. Over time, users have recognised that there are other elements which are important including: speed and reliability for mission-critical applications, silent drives for video applications and low cost devices for archiving, according to Seagate. Over time, the storage industry has experienced 50% capacity growth rate year-on-year and this trend is set to continue. The cost of computing remains a significant component of corporate budgets. The tremendous growth of data, coupled with the need for a high degree of system availability time, has spurred the need for data centres. In addition, millions of applications on handheld devices need to be powered by high performing computers. In light of these trends, SSDs can make a significant contribution by moving a lot of data within a very short period of time, says Seagate. While HDDs respond in milliseconds, SSD are capable of shortening latency to micro-seconds or even nano-seconds. // SEPTEMBER 2013 / NETWORK MIDDLE EAST / 41

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Cable Debate

Cabling in the data centre of the future

PANELIST ALAN FLATMAN Neutral observer/ commentator Flatman has advised on network technology and strategy since 1980. He represents the UK at both International & EU cabling standards committees and is an active contributor to IEEE 802.3. For 20 years, he has been the liason officer between cabling and network technology groups.

While switch manufacturers are pushing for ToR data centre architecture, cabling manufacturers agree that EoR is the more efficient way forward The third and final Network Middle East Great Cable Debate topic was ‘What will cabling look like in the data centre of the future’. The final debate saw international experts in cabling discussing the benefits of top of rack or end of row architecture. Cabling forms a major part of any data centre and with the evolving data centre design comes different options for cabling lay out. Data centre experts debated which lay out is most beneficial to the customer in front of a packed audience at Dubai Marina Yacht Club. // WWW.ITP.NET /

Valerie Maguire: There is a trend today towards virtualisation and servers being used to support multiple applications. With the traditional three tier hierarchy, if I need to integrate a computing server with a storage server, I have to patch through three tiers of switch architecture to allow the computing server to connect to the storage server. We are seeing a trend where the core and aggregation layers are flattened and this is typically called a fabric architecture. TIA recently published Addendum 1 to the TIA-942-A standard that discusses other architectures. The most com-

mon one is what we would call a leaf and spine, where we have access switches each connected to each of the interconnection switches, eliminating a tier. These systems lend themselves to top of rack (ToR) deployment, where the switch is located at the top of the rack and the servers are located below. This is a type of architecture that is being touted as beneficial by many switch manufacturers because it favours compartmentalised, pod type delivery of data centres, so you can order an entire pre-configured rack. However, when you have a ToR deployment, you are not using all

PANELIST VALERIE MAGUIRE director of standards and technology, Siemon Maguire is vice chair of the TIA TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee, vice chair of the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Subcommittee, TIA TR-42 appointed liaison to IEEE 802.3, treasurer of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, and much more.





PANELIST RICHARD MEI R&D director, transmission solutions, Enterprise Division, CommScope Mei has designed various custom test systems with computer-based hardware and software that were used to characterise the transmission property of premises cabling systems. Mei holds numerous engineering degrees from top universities.

PANELIST STEFAN RIES Head of Global Key Account Management at R&M Ries has 25 years in the data communication industry. For 15 years, Stefan has been a member of the Swiss technical committee for structured cabling & telecommunication and for the past five years an expert in the global standardisation workgroup ISO/IEC JTC SC 25 WG3.

the switch ports available. You are also paying to power and cool them and are losing some of the administration. What we are going to see in the future is a blend of ToR deployment vs an end of row (EoR) deployment that features structured cabling and allows for provision for administration and helps optimise the RoI in the data centre because you can purchase the number of switches you need to connect server ports more closely, and can better manage power and cooling. Martin Rossbach: I believe that 10GBase-T will change the discussion about ToR vs EoR. If I look back at history, I think the force that brought ToR into the data centre arena was the switch manufacturers. I think virtually everyone in the cabling industry agrees that ToR is only beneficial for some architectures but for the majority of architectures it brings no advantages for the end-user at all. Why do I believe customers have decided to go for ToR? It is very simple; they had no other choice. If people want to have their data centres prepared for 10Gigabit Ethernet in previous years they had no other choice, because 10GBase-T was and unfortunately, still is not available. We recently had a conversation with our customer who said he wanted to go away from ToR because he sees the benefits of EoR. And when he asked the server manufacturer whether 10GBase-T cards are available he was told no. We then addressed this vendor directly to verify when 10GBase-T cards are expected, they said it will be announced around June


Valerie Maguire from Siemon says that end of row type data centre infrastructure has far more benefits than top of rack deployments.

I could be playful and say that the type of cables in the future data centre would be ‘thin ones and cheap ones’, but what I think we will see is twisted pair doing EoR.” Alan Flatman, Neutral observer/commentator

and July 2013. This shows that customers who want to install 10GBase-T today in a data centre can only use fibre or twinax. The problem with twinax cabling is its distance constraint to seven metres, and this forces customers into ToR. As soon as 10GBase-T comes to the market next year, I see a swing back where people will go to EoR because of its benefits like independence, cost advantages and of course cooling optimisation.

Richard Mei: Cabling deployment depends on what kind of need you have in the data centre. If it is a time and latency sensitive application, the ToR architecture is more suitable. The majority of traffic in the data centre today is server-to-server or east-west traffic instead of the traditional north-south traffic supported by traditional legacy architectures. This new data traffic trend demands a new approach to network architecture. The east-west traffic flow can cut down tremendous time delays between servers compared to the north-south flow pattern. I disagree with Martin on this 10GBase-T switch. Recently I attended INTEROP in Las Vegas and spoke to one of Cisco field application engineers about their 48-port 10GBase-T high density line card for Nexus 7000 series switch. Surprisingly, it was not displayed in the booth and could only be found on their electronic catalogue on the monitor. HP also claimed a similar solution, so did Arista and Huawei. However, none of them had the prod// WWW.ITP.NET /


uct on display. Deployment of 10GBASE-T technology will enable the cost-effective EoR/ MoR option for sever links through structured cabling. However, ToR and EoR are almost mutually exclusive to each other. In my view, there is not going to be a dominant architecture in the future. Depending on the application and the needs for your individual business, you can choose to deploy the tradition north-south or the new eastwest architecture. Stefan Reis: A lot of customers are deploying ToR at the moment. What Martin says is not completely wrong; if end users could, they would deploy EoR. We see the fashion for ToR driven by the active manufacturers. What we also see is much more deployment of fibre, which leads to a structure of mixed fibre and copper, where you need to have a lot of flexibility and modularity. What is getting much more in focus is just how the fibre distribution is done. We see much more deployed technology for the fibre distribution, such as single circuit management. It is more and more


I share the belief that EoR and ToR are both very relevant designs architectures and that there is no single magical solution that suits all enterprise clients.” Eddie Whelan, senior consultant & head of MEA infrastructure practice at Citihub consultants

deployed in data centre, not under the classic 19-inch technology, rather just the typical ODF which you also find in FTTH because they require much less space. Alan Flatman: Martin made the point that the lack of 10GBase-T has driven people into ToR, and that has meant twinax links. The introduction of massively scaled architectures, or fabrics, is going to give us far more links at the

Edward Whelan says that cabling is the foundation of the modern network..


lower levels of the hierarchy and interconnects are going to have to manage that. I could be playful and say that the type of cables in the future data centre would be ‘thin ones and cheap ones’, but what I think we will see is twisted pair doing EoR. About 18 months ago, Dell ‘Oro started to track the shipments of a new breed of 10 Gig switch optimised for ToR use. What we found is roughly 2/3rd of data centres are ToR and the rest are EoR plus a small amount of centralised in there as well. But going forward, what will change? I don’t think the percentage of ToR data centres will increase. At best it will level off, and like Stefan said, it may tip the other way again, because people want EoR switching for good reasons such as better management of ports, lower latency, and higher throughput. Edward Whelan: I share the belief that EoR and ToR are both very relevant designs architectures and that there is no single magical solution that suits all enterprise clients. The data centre is a highly complex and dynamic environment that takes careful and skillful planning and coordination by trained professionals that have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the clients business and how this translates into the technology they use. Many highly qualified and professional people, like those in our panel have spent their careers at the nuts and bolts, 1’s and 0’s end of the cabling market and who would agree that, it is not JUST cabling; it is the foundation that the modern network, and therefore business relies on.


PANELIST MARTIN ROSSBAC director of product marketing and new market development at Nexans Rossbac has 20 years in the IT & telecoms industry and is a member of the ISO/IEC standards committee JTC1 SC25 WG3, CENELEC TC215 WG1 and chairman of NBN - Belgian Mirror Committee for JTC1/ SC25.

MODERATOR EDDIE WHELAN senior consultant & head of MEA infrastructure practice, Citihub Wheelan has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications and the construction industries. The majority of his experience has been gained working with government, Blue Chip companies and financial institutions in the City of London.



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Get testing correctly Fifty-one percent of project managers state that cable testing mistakes hurt their profits, according to a survey by Fluke Networks. Respondents also stated that the top four cable testing mistakes cost them around $12,000 per year in lost profits.

Before ProjX you could only have one project in one tester, now you can have multiple projects in one tester, and you can select a project and immediately continue where you left off.” Werner Heeren, RSD Middle East, Africa, Fluke Networks

The survey polled over 800 systems integrators globally who have tested over one million links. In China 81% of respondents said that cable testing errors do hurt their business, and in EMEA 51% reported that testing mistakes hurt their business. “We looked at the total project time and saw that cable installers go from one project to another, especially in Dubai, and they use the same cable tester for another project, continue there for a bit until they cannot go further and then they come back to the first project,” said Werner Heeren, RSD Middle East and Africa at cable testing equipment expert Fluke Networks. Moving testers between projects means that a cable testing device with the data from the first test site may be busy on another project, the technician then has to source another tester, ensure the correct limits are set,


and then continue the first project on another testing device. At the end of the project each of the test devices containing data about the first project must be hunted down and correlated, which again costs time and money for the systems integrator. “If the results are stored in different testers this is a loss of three hours per thousand links to collect and consolidate this information,” said Heeren. When the testing device is being moved between projects, technicians often forget to change the limit lines in the tester when they move and test the new project with the wrong limits. “Testing with the wrong limits leads to a lot of wasted manpower hours and money as retesting is required and other projects can be delayed,” said Heeren. “If copper and fibre cables are tested with the wrong limits they must be retested to ensure a correctly operating

network, if a systems integrator has to test 1,000 links, during the retesting of the 1,000 links they spend seven hours extra testing because of wrong limits from one project to another.” Another problem, according to Fluke Networks, is mislabeling of links and locations when testers are moved between projects. There are cable identifiers that can be used to identify each link and its location; in the cable tester you can also predefine those labels. “If it was a perfect world you would go to the first room, it is labeled room one, outlet one, but again if you start jumping from one tester to another then the labels don’t correspond and then people have to do the test with the wrong label in the tester and then later manually correct these labels. This can cause three hours of lost time per 1,000 links to change mislabeled links and editing the labels,” said Heeren. According to Fluke Networks, if you convert the hours of fixing mistakes per 1,000 links, it costs a company around 47 hours and on average $8,800 of wasted



The Fluke Networks ProjX management system is designed to reduce common testing errors by allowing multiple sites to be saved into one device.

revenue because of set up errors, wrong labels, wrong limits, and waiting for the team lead to set up the tester or investigate the problems. These losses can also cost the company business, because if someone else can do it faster and more accurately the company loses. Fluke Networks has tackled these common testing mistakes by developing a product featured in their Versiv family of cable testers, called ProjX management system. This system allows for multiple labeled projects to be carried simultaneously on a single Versiv testing device. “Before ProjX you could only have one project in one tester, now you can have multiple projects in one test-


er, and you can just select a project and immediately continue where you left off,” said Heeren. ProjX is designed to reduce limit errors, labeling errors and loss of data due to testers being moved between projects. “The Versiv testing device also has a simple touchscreen interface which makes it easier to use. It features the ProjX management system which is designed to prevent the errors mentioned and we believe it is a quantum leap in cable testing applications. With this project management system in the tester the customer can get overall systems acceptance much faster,” said Heeren. “There are different levels of

We looked at the total project time and saw that cable installers go from one project to another and they go with the same cable tester to another project, continue there for a bit until they cannot go further and then they come back to the first project.”

knowledge, but 20 years ago our tester was simple and the operator had to be very knowledgeable, an expert, but now our testers are very complex and the operator can be less knowledgeable.” According to Fluke Networks the Versiv testers have knowledge built in, so that a technician in the field can do the test without any real understanding of the process. The Versiv device has artificial intelligence and based on pre-configured parameters, which will give the technician an indication of what is the problem and where it is. “The project manager has to deal with different customers and each will tell him the limits for their project and which cables he must use. He also has the cabling manufacturers who will tell him the different cable types he should install; he has to take that into account, as well as the impact of different manufacturers based on the customer. He also has to buy his products from the channel which will push whichever cabling brand gives them the most profit. Then you have the tester manufacturer as well. It is challenging for the project manager to navigate all of that and still do their job. Our tester helps him with the right limits and makes his job easier and gathers errors together in one tester. We try and make the testing time as short as possible with the fewest errors. No failed links can be forgotten or missed during a later testing phase,” said Heeren.




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Vendor profile Company >

Al Futtaim Technologies Company type > System integrators, business solutions providers

How did Al Futtaim start and what is its history to date? Al Futtaim Technologies started as Al Futtaim Telecom in 1994. In the wake of telecom liberalisation on the CPE sector it was incepted as a business unit engaged in the implementation of PBX systems. Through consolidation of other allied activities functioning within the group, this business division became capable of offering services in the core infrastructure and business applications in the early 2000s. Al Futtaim technolo-

gies further diversiďŹ ed in the previous decade into low current systems to emerge as a converged systems integrator of repute. What does Al Futtaim Technologies do? The company is positioned today as a system integrator offering a converged solution encompassing both the ICT as well as low current systems. The convergence of technologies on the one hand and the demand for advanced functionality and services from the clients on the other hand has driven the need for an end-to-end solutions provider integrat-

Venkat Raghavan, general manager of Al Futtaim Technologies says that Saudi Arabia is an important regional focus for the company.

MILESTONES IN AL FUTTAIM’S HISTORY Al Futtaim First large Became Several Five Major break Telecom PBX number 1 in Star Hotel for deploying was estabimplementation: a the hospitality deals were signed voice system for lished as a major deal from a sector bagging for Alcatel renowned airline in solution large bank for a several PBX solutions in one UAE across its multiple provider. voice network. contracts. single year. locations globally.




ing wide range of services including unified communications, security and surveillance, workplace automation and audio visual systems. AFT’s approach to a client can be multipronged based on the sector and the need. For instance, for a green-field facility such as a new hotel, AFT is in the best position to deliver a turn-key single-window solution implementing right from the structured cabling, data networking, Wi-Fi, IP telephony, servers and storage on the ICT infrastructure front, to CCTV, access control, guest room management systems, IPTV, audio-visual systems and digital signage. On the other hand, for an enterprise client such as a bank, government office or a corporate headquarters, we deliver to specific requirements in designated arena. This can be a unified communications solution for an aviation transport major, a multi-media contact centre solution for a bank, CCTV revamping of a mall, or a data network refurbishment for an oil and gas company. AFT further recognises the emerging paradigm of sustainability and is keen to

The convergence of technologies on the one hand and the demand for advanced functionality and services from the clients on the other hand has driven the need for an end-to-end solutions provider integrating a wide range of services, including unified communications, security and surveillance, workplace automation and audio visual systems.” Venkat Raghavan, general manager of Al Futtaim Technologies

do its bit. We have a fledgling energy management practice and the services include energy audit of a

facility, energy efficient design consulting and implementation of energy efficiency programme.


What is your presence in the Middle East? AFT currently operates in four countries including the United Arab Emirates. In Qatar and Pakistan we have well-established units. In Saudi Arabia, we have just begun operations with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah. AFT is also executing a job in Egypt, though this activity is specific to this project. What are your regional business goals? Our Qatar operations launched couple of years ago, is now establishing itself as a full-fledged player offering fit-for-purpose solution to various verticals, especially the new constructions. Our business in Pakistan established in 2005 has withstood the vagaries of the market place and grown in size and stature. This year, Saudi Arabia is perceived as a key market and we have begun operations in the Kingdom. Our goal is to be recognised as a first choice partner for delivering our solutions range across these countries.

We have implemented a complete low current and ICT turn-key solution for a large power plant in the country to the most demanding specifications in a harsh environment, a contact centre with most sophisticated inbound and outbound functionality covering all facets of client response ranging from IVR to web chat, and a corporate headquarters that has a unified communication solution operating on a full BYOD environment. We have served the Unified Communication needs of a global aviation transport major from this region for close to 15 years. We have a large share of the regional hospitality ICT solutions market. This sector, which is a 24x7 industry, engaged in offering the best customer service depends on its IT partners in turn to achieve their business objectives.

Al Futtaim Company Launched Al Futtaim Implemented adds decides on Extra technoloa large infrastructure new name, Voltage Systems gies implemented converged solution solutions to its rebrands itself as solutions that contact centre for a power plant that product Al Futtaim included building solution for a included complete ICT offerings. Technologies. automation. leading bank. infrastructure.




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COMPTIA PROFESSIONAL SERIES CompTIA A+ Covers preventative maintenance, basic networking, installation, troubleshooting, communication and professionalism. CompTIA Cloud+ Covers standard methodology required to securely implement and maintain cloud technologies. CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI Covers user administration, file permissions, software configurations and the fundamental management of Linux systems. CompTIA Mobile App Security+ Covers the knowledge and skills required to securely create a native iOS or Android mobile application, while also ensuring secure network communications, backend web services. CompTIA Mobility+ Covers the knowledge and skills required to understand and research capabilities of various mobile devices and aspects of over-the-air technologies. CompTIA Project+ Covers the entire process of project management, including initiation, planning, execution, acceptance, support and closure. CompTIA Security+ Covers system security, network infrastructure, cryptography, assessments and audits. // WWW.ITP.NET /


CompTIA Network+ The Network+ course teaches students network technologies, installation & configuration, says Mark Plunkett, director emerging markets at CompTIA

What is the CompTIA Network + course and what does it entail? CompTIA’s Network+ is the sign of a qualified networking professional. Those studying for the CompTIA Network+ exam must understand the most commonly used network technologies, installation and configuration, media and topologies, management, and security. Candidate job roles include network installer, help desk technician and IT cable installer. The Network+ exam is a multiple choice, performance based exam in a proctored exam environment through Pearson VUE test centres. The exam covers network technologies, installation and configuration, media and topologies, management, and security. The current version of CompTIA Network+, exam code N10-005, was released in December, 2011. The revised objectives address virtual networking and give increased attention to network security and coverage of the seven-layer OSI (Open System Interconnection) model. CompTIA is an ANSI accredited Certifier - 0731. The CompTIA Network+ce

Mark Plunkett, director for Emerging Markets at CompTIA.

programme is included in the scope of this accreditation. What benefits does the course give the student? Certified Network+ professionals are well placed to enter roles such as network administrator or network technician. By obtaining the certification, they can prove they have met internationally approved standards, developed in consultation with leading employers of networking professionals.

Is it an essential qualification for IT professionals? It is a qualification that proves core capabilities. Many major companies, including Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sharp and Xerox recommend or require CompTIA Network+ for their networking technicians. It is a technical prerequisite option for IT technicians seeking to join the Apple Consultants Network, and is recognised by the US Department of Defence.



Who should attend the courses? It is recommended for people in the early stages of their IT careers that want to advance their networking capabilities. It is a natural progression from CompTIA A+, the entry level qualification for IT technicians.

offers free online resources to learn CompTIA certs, his Network+ courses are available at www.professormesser. com. Those wishing to opt for the self-study option can also visit the CompTIA store to buy self-study and exam vouchers which are available at:

What kind of knowledge base do students need to have already before attending the courses? We would recommend some basic experience of working in IT or qualifications like CompTIA A+ but it is not always essential.

What other courses that you offer are good for IT professionals? We recommend CompTIA A+ validates entry-level skills for IT professionals and is the ideal precursor to N+ for those new to IT. CompTIA Security+ designates knowledgeable professionals in the field of security and CompTIA Server+ covers server hardware and server software technology.

How much does the whole track cost? Costs differ depending on the particular training provider offering the course programme and the requirements of the company or individual requesting the course. We would always advise speaking to the training provider directly for them to be able to assist your needs and provide you / your company with a quotation. Courses are set up to best suit the needs of the local market and individuals and they can be studied through a certified training provider or through self-study through a training provider. CompTIA have many approved training delivery partners across the Middle East, with a mix of authorised, gold and platinum partners. IT professionals can also train for the A+ exam by themselves, using the CompTIA Network+ Study Guide. This is available to purchase online via Amazon, also IT trainer Professor Messer

UAE COMPTIA TRAINING PARTNERS Abu Dhabi Polytechnic: Al Khawarizmi International College (KIC): Etisalat Academy: Exceed Training Services: Firebrand Training: www.firebrandtraining. ae/courses/comptia High College of Technology (HCT): Infotech institute Ltd: Middle East Computer and Culture Center: mei. REI: Wisdom Educational Institute:



The course teacher’s perspective AHMAD SHARIF MALIK SENIOR CONSULTANT / TECHNICAL TRAINING AT ETISALAT ACADEMY EXPLAINS THE COURSE How does the CompTIA Network+ improve or enhance a student’s career? The training course and the certification provide valuable knowledge and skills that are required for building competencies in areas of networking. The certification recognises a student’s ability to describe the features and functions of networking components and to install, configure and troubleshoot basic networking hardware, protocols and services. To an employer, achieving the certification is a proof of student’s hard work, keen interest and competencies in the field of networking. The vendor neutral CompTIA Network + certification provides a solid foundation to the student for building a strong skill set in areas of advanced networking and internetworking. It goes a long way in establishing a professional career based on sound knowledge and clear concepts. We have seen that the students taking CompTIA’sNetwork + gain confidence, interest and motivation to advance their careers in further complex areas of

networking. Post training feedback indicates that students, successfully completing the training and achieving the CompTIA Network + certification, have displayed improved performances in work and have excelled over their colleagues in their performance. What is the demand for the course like in the region? There is a strong demand, especially in the GCC countries, as the region has a modern and advanced telecom and IT infrastructure. Customers in GCC expect highly available, reliable and secure networks and services. The increased customer expectation, demand and a competitive market environment is forcing the service providers to provide services in time and with quality through a pool of trained professionals. The CompTIA Network + is in demand from large telecom operators, ISPs, ICT providers, SMEs, and large enterprises. There is also an increased demand from government and public sectors, as well as regional law enforcement agencies. // WWW.ITP.NET /


Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 444 3000 Fax: +971 4 444 3030 Web: Offices in Dubai and London

Five minutes with…

ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell General Manager Peter Conmy Editorial Director David Ingham

Tarek Helmy

EDITORIAL Editor Georgina Enzer Tel: +971 4 444 3316 email: Senior Group Editor Mark Sutton


What is your current role in the ICT industry in the Middle East? I am the regional director, Nexans Cabling Solutions, Gulf, Middle East, South & East Africa regions. Nexans is a leading vendor in supplying high-end LAN infrastructure solutions to all market verticals. I am responsible for all business activities in my regions. That includes but is not limited to sales, marketing, market developments, partnership developments, admin responsibilities, etc. What is the best part of your job? I have established a strong network of business partners, end users, and individuals within the LAN infrastructure business in the region. What I love most about my job is the achievements we make and the annual growth we manage year over year. How innovative do you think the network industry in the Middle East is? There is no doubt that networking industry is pro-

gressing very fast with new applications of high-speed data that provide end users with their needs. We witness lot of innovation in the networking industry. What are the upcoming trends or products in your sector? In 2013, network professionals will be aware that the IEEE Ethernet standardisation body has approved a call for a study group for the development of Next Generation Base-T for twisted pair copper cabling above 10Gbit/s.

TOP 5 What is your favourite film? The Godfather iOS, BlackBerry or Android? iOS & Android What is your favourite gadget? iPad Who is your favourite band/musician? Celine Dion What is your favourite book? 7-habits of highly effective people


Does your company have any green initiatives? Indeed, Nexans is one of the vendors to innovate solutions to support the implementation of the Green initiatives in ICT industry. As an example, the use of screened cables used in the high grade cabling specified in the standard will help organisations respond to increasing energy efficiency legislation. Category 7A cabling can offer immediate energy savings and will be compatible with the Energy Efficient Ethernet standards currently being developed by the IEEE standards body. Are you a BYOD user and what devices do you use? I am partially a bring your own device user. I am using Android devices. BYOD may help employees being productive but I think it may still have issues with the corporate network especially when accessing the virtual private network. What are your out of office hobbies? Cycling, deep-sea fishing.

ADVERTISING Sales Director George Hojeige Tel: +971 4 444 3193 email: Group Sales Manager, Enterprise - ITP Technology Josephine D’Sa Tel: +971 4 444 3630 email: Sales Manager Nitesh Patel Tel: +971 4 444 3272 email: STUDIO Head of Design Dan Prescott Principal Creative Simon Cobon PHOTOGRAPHY Head of Photography Jovana Obradovic Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Isidora Bojovic Staff Photographers George Dipin, Juliet Dunne, Murrindie Frew, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav, Verko Ignjatovic PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Events Manager, ITP Business Michelle Meyrick Deputy Marketing Manager Shadia Basravi ITP DIGITAL Digital Publishing Director Ahmad Bashour Tel: +971 4 444 3549 email: Business Development Manager Josephine D’Sa Tel: +971 4 444 3630 email: Group Sales Manager Vedrana Jovanovic Tel: +971 4 444 3569 email: Internet Development Manager Mohammed Affan Web Advertising Manager Meghna Jalnawalla ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Board of Directors Mike Bayman, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Robert Serafin, Toby Jay, Walid Akawi Customer Service Tel:+971 4 444 3559 Printed by Royal Printing Press LLC Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader's particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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Network -September 2013  

Network Middle East Magazine, Vol 19 - Issue 9 - September 13 by ITP publishing, Dubai [60pages]

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