As more companies deploy virtualisation technologies, more network managers expect the technology to introduce management challenges to their environments, according to an Interop show poll.

Virtualisation was a hot topic at the Interop conference this year, and more than half of the 117 attendees surveyed reported that their organisations have deployed some virtualisation technologies. More than 41 percent do not currently run virtualisation, but close to 80 percent said they would have virtualisation in-house within the next 12 months.

However, nearly 40 percent of network managers polled also listed virtualisation as the emerging technology that represents the "greatest monitoring challenges," according to NetQoS and Network Instruments, which jointly conducted the survey the day after Interop's exhibition area opened.

Network performance management vendor NetQoS and Network Instruments, which provides network and application analysis, monitoring and reporting products, also discovered that 24 percent of those polled consider unified communications a potential monitoring challenge, and 14 percent identified MPLS as a technology that might introduce new monitoring issues.

"Many of the people we're speaking with today are talking about network-wide rollouts of new applications like VoIP and unified communications," said Charles Thompson, manager of systems engineering for Network Instruments, in a statement. "Many IT staff find it challenging to assess how these applications will impact the performance of other business-critical applications."

The survey also checked with attendees to get a sense of the types of networks they monitor and the specific technologies they have implemented or plan to implement in the coming months. Nearly 70 percent of attendees said they are interested in monitoring LANs, nearly 60 percent said WAN management tops their mind and close to 56 percent indicated they are tasked with monitoring wireless networks. About 50 percent monitor Gigabit networks and more than 20 percent work with 10 Gigabit networks.

In terms of VoIP, nearly 70 percent of show attendees polled have implemented the technology and another 10 percent said they expect to implement VoIP in the next year or more. Forty-six percent surveyed at Interop are using Cisco for their VoIP implementations, while 18 percent work with Avaya products. Close to 10 percent use Microsoft VoIP technology and 8 percent use Nortel.

WAN optimisation technologies are also deployed in many IT shops. More than 40 percent have or plan to implement WAN optimisation technology within 12 months. Yet 44 percent indicated in the poll that they had no plans to roll out the technology.

"The job of the network professional is becoming more complex, with increasing responsibility for maintaining optimum application performance while dealing with new technologies such as WAN optimisation and virtualisation," stated Patrick Ancipink, NetQoS director of product marketing.

"The organisations that adapt best to the emerging trends and challenges outlined in the survey are those that can understand the before and after impact of change on network and application performance, and work well across IT silos for planning and troubleshooting purposes."