Common Business and IT Trends
Traditional networking infrastructure was deployed when the security perimeter was well defined. Most applications were low bandwidth, and most content and applications resided in centralized corporate data centers. Today, enterprises have very different requirements. High-bandwidth, real-time, and big-data applications are pushing capacity limits of the network. In some cases, the majority of traffic is destined for the Internet or public cloud, and the security perimeter as it existed in the past is quickly disappearing. This is due to surge in bring your own devices (BYOD), cloud computing, and IoT. The downside and risks of staying status quo are significant, and technological innovation has failed to comprehensively address the problem. There has been a huge increase in the use of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings. It seems as if more applications are moving to the cloud each day. The adoption of solutions like Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce.com (SFDC), and other SaaS-based productivity and business applications is putting a strain on the network. This includes keeping the applications performing to the best of their ability in order to ensure that users have the best possible experience. The following list contains some of the most common trends occurring in the IT industry:
Applications are moving to the cloud (private and public).
Mobile devices, BYOD, and guest access are straining the IT staff.
High-bandwidth applications are putting pressure on the network.
Wireless-first connectivity is becoming the new normal.
Demand for security and segmentation everywhere makes manual operations difficult.
IoT devices often require access to the IT network.
The number of mobile devices in the campus and remote environments that are accessing these applications and the Internet as a result of BYOD and guest services is rapidly increasing. The additional load of traffic resulting from all of these devices, as well as trends such as IoT, is putting an additional strain on the network—especially in the wireless LAN. In addition to everything mentioned, interactive video has finally become the new voice from a popularity perspective. Converging voice and data services was an important transition. However, when it comes to video, today’s networks not only have to account for optimized QoS handling for video applications, but also need to address the high-bandwidth, latency-sensitive applications that users are demanding. Traditionally, supporting these technologies was not easy, and implementing them required many manual configurations prior to deployment. This also led to additional complexity in the network environment.
With the business and IT trends covered thus far still in mind, it is important to translate these trends into real challenges that organizations are facing and put them into IT vernacular. As mentioned previously, the network is encountering pressure like never before. This is forcing IT teams to look for ways to alleviate that pressure. Organizations are also looking for ways to improve the overall user and application experience with what they currently own while also driving cost down. Lack of control over visibility and application performance, and keeping up with the ever-growing security attack surface are also contributing to organizations looking for a better way forward. In addition, organizational silos have caused many organizations to not be able to achieve the benefits from some of these newer technologies. Breaking down silos to work toward a common goal for the business as a whole is required for the business to take full advantage of what some of these software-defined advancements have to offer.