"How do we secure them, ensure we're scalable and, most important, make sure it's successful?" he said, adding that a single management interface will help to ensure policy-based security methods are met.
Siddiqui said his agency has about 1,500 servers that run through two primary data centers. The two data centers are running off 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 720 switches. Siddiqui was able to consolidate his network from 35 edge switches down to about 20 with the new core switches.
Rob Davis, chief technology officer of switch maker QLogic, said 80% of all enterprises still have gigabyte Ethernet networks and would need to upgrade to 10Gbit/sec. Ethernet to handle converged data traffic.
"I think it's a trend that's been emerging over the last six to nine months. There are some networking companies, not so much Cisco, but Juniper that have really been beating the drum on this," he said. "I think virtualization is a big factor. I think it's a trend that's going to be happening over the next two to five years."
Siddiqui said organizations should consider a converged network if they foresee many new enterprise-level and mobile applications in their future. "The bottom line is cost, manageability ... and scalability," he said. "You're talking about spending a couple of million bucks."
The greatest risk, Siddiqui said, is making sure the network is scalable. "You want to make sure you're evaluating not only today's requirements but requirements at least a few years out."
James Robertson, vice president of technology infrastructure and broadcast transmissions for Turner Broadcasting, said his company has transitioned to a converged IP network to handle almost all data throughput. About 70% to 80% of all high-resolution video editing and high-definition broadcasting traffic within his company runs over IP networks, the same one that hosts corporate e-mail and desktop traffic.
All together, Turner Broadcasting has about 600 IP channels in its Atlanta facilities, which "gives it a lot more flexibility because we're delivering it as multicast than a television jack in every office. I can deliver that multicast stream to anywhere you want anywhere on our infrastructure anytime you want it."
Robertson said the shift to a converged IP network came as a necessity as the business changed to an all-digital video format, requiring faster response times to breaking news and new programs.
Turner Networks is also pushing somewhere around 10 times that data contained in the Library of Congress, hundreds of terabytes, through its CNN cable network on an hourly basis, Robertson said.