READER SURVEY: LAN plans and strategies
Use of video and Web apps drive LAN upgrades
By Richard W. Walker
Video, Web applications, database development and other new software are driving LAN plans and strategies for many federal systems managers and network administrators, the latest GCN Reader Survey found.
Videoconferencing is perhaps the leading factor.
At Transportation Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, for example, videoconferencing and imaging figure prominently in plans to create a virtual working environment, systems engineer Scott Krenszke said.
'As far as video is concerned, we're getting into a collaborative work-stationing environment that everybody in the Defense Department is looking at now,' he said.
'And we're one of the primary sites for imagery because we have the commander in chief for U.S. Transcom here and all of the infrastructure and requirements he needs for all the supporting units,' he added.More users
Transcom's Unix-based LAN, running under SunSoft Solaris, has about 300 users. Krenszke said he expects that number will increase by 50 to 100 in the next one to three years.
Feds run most LANs
Is your LAN administration handled in-house or is it outsourced?
' In-house' ' ' 91%
' Outsourced' ' ' 9%
Of those who currently have in-house LAN administration, 10 percent plan to outsource it within the next three years.
Bandwidth Is In Demand
Do you expect to need additional bandwidth?
' Yes' ' ' 67%
' No' ' ' 33%
Of those who need more bandwidth, 25 percent need it within six months, 36 percent within two years.
The LAN also just went through an upgrade to asynchronous transfer mode. 'We've got a whole brand-new network,' Krenszke said. 'It's all ATM now.'
New applications also are pushing network plans.Gotta have it
At a Coast Guard training center in Virginia, for instance, officials have to convert 19 mission-critical applications for use on the center's Microsoft Windows NT Server LAN, an information systems officer said.
Bandwidth also was on the minds of feds with major LAN plans. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed figure they will need more bandwidth; 25 percent of them said they would need it within six months; 36 percent said within two years.
Nearly half of feds surveyed'49 percent'expected to have more users on their networks in the next one to three years.
About 48 percent predicted they would have the same number over that period. Only 3 percent expected to have fewer users.
Windows NT Server dominated network operating systems; 67 percent of the federal users surveyed said they use NT.
But look for Windows 2000 to come on strong: 35 percent expect to migrate to Win 2000 in the next 24 months.
Only 37 percent of NT users predicted they would still be using NT in two years.
The survey results project declining use over the next two years of Novell NetWare, from 31 percent to 17 percent.
Meanwhile, 10 percent of systems managers surveyed expected to be using Linux in two years.
None of the respondents currently use Linux.
Only 9 percent of feds said their LAN administration was outsourced.
But of the 91 percent who perform in-house LAN management, 10 percent plan to outsource that function within one to three years, the survey found.