IT consolidation is the key issue faced by European CIOs – even if they're divided on what the main drivers are. According to a survey carried out by Brocade, 76 percent of enterprises consider IT consolidation to be more important than virtualisation and security.

However, the survey also revealed that IT departments still spent too many days fire-fighting, according to respondents, 40 percent of European IT departments are spending between 10 to 30 percent of their time reacting to network problems rather than planning more strategic use of technology.

While CIOs are agreed on the need for consolidation, there's a diversity of views when it comes to picking the main reason for the move: 73 percent of British organisations thought that the biggest driver for consolidation is IT simplification, while German CIOs opted for increased agility as the biggest driver. France seems to be an exception to the trend: according to the survey, 21 percent of organisations are not considering consolidation and only 30 percent of them are looking to consolidation to reduce costs.

It comes as no surprise that this ties in with Brocade's own belief in unified architecture. The company's European vice president, Alberto Soto, was quick to endorse the survey's findings. "Tomorrow's networking environment will consolidate user application traffic and storage data traffic onto a single, high-performance, highly available network that has the built-in intelligence to identify different traffic types and handle them appropriately, according to predefined rules. The benefits of a unified network are clear in terms of increasing performance and enabling business productivity, not to mention reducing complexity," he said.