There is a major shift on the horizon in the way the enterprise network operates that has set the technology industry abuzz.
The changes began to unfold in 2016 and with time, there is now a clear sense of direction. Technologies like SDN, the IoT, virtualisation and others are shaping discussions about WANs and the place they occupy in today’s enterprise network and connectivity solutions. Here are a few trends you need to watch out for.
- WAN redesign
A major trend is the way in which Wide Area Network (WAN) architecture is getting an overhaul. Jeff Reed, senior vice-president of Enterprise at Cisco, said that as businesses increasingly move their applications to the cloud, the traditional, complex “demilitarised zones” of their data centres are being augmented or replaced with Points of Presence hosted in colocation facilities. This routes traffic destined for the cloud to backhaul, significantly boosting the speed and efficiency of network transport while opening up possibilities for service and productivity.
- Software-defined Networks
Software-defined networks (SDNs), the data centre stalwarts, are being brought to the WAN (in wired and wireless environments) as essential connectivity solutions. The utopian dream of end-to-end programmability and automation across all network domains will start to become a tangible reality this year. Complete SDN infrastructure will be increasingly available and viable as business leaders realise the limitations of legacy networks and begin to demand flexibility.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is earning a place in the operational technology of businesses across industries with COOs and CEOs waking up to the value it can bring. The adoption of connected tech such as smart lighting, location services and air-conditioning, among others, is growing. Through segmentation and profiling, enhanced security capabilities are making IoT platforms safer. Enterprises can now unlock innovative and exciting future applications of the technology.
- Network function virtualisation
In tandem with SDN, network function virtualisation (NFV) is another area of growth and is moving from service providers to enterprises. Networked teams with multiple branches or offices can easily provision, chain, scale/adjust and manage branch network services with NFV. It allows for significant cost savings by decoupling network devices and hosting them in a virtual environment with less outlay on hardware and complexity and less hassle, especially when in troubleshooting and maintenance.
- Future-proof devices
There is a growing interest in devices that are not locked to any specific software or operating system. CTOs are calling for agnostic devices which can be upgraded as and when technology changes. Anything that is future-proof is also changeable and is capable of expanding its services as required. Restrictive contracts with vendors can be a frustrating obstacle when it comes to productivity and growth potential.
These are not the only network trends to be mindful of. Advances in WiFi technology and the cloud will bring new opportunities. If you would like to know more, please get in touch.