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 the 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 a surge in bring-your-own-device (BYOD), cloud, and dynamic business-to-business (B2B) ecosystems. 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 not effectively addressed by traditional designs that utilize Internet capabilities out of one or more centralized data centers. The following list contains some of the most common trends being seen in the industry:
Applications are moving to the cloud (private and public)
Internet edge is moving to the remote branch sites
Mobile devices (BYOD and guest access)
The number of mobile devices at the remote sites accessing these applications and accessing the Internet as a result of BYOD and guest services is increasing. The additional load of traffic resulting from all of these devices as well as trends such IoT are putting an additional strain on the network. In addition to everything mentioned, interactive video has finally become the new voice-over IP. Converging voice and data services was an important transition. When it comes to video, however, 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. This is going to require rethinking capacity planning to include looking for ways to maximize on current investments. Offloading certain types of traffic and moving to active/active WAN deployment models are some of the ways to accomplish this; however, traditionally these tasks are not easy to implement and require many manual configurations to deploy. Manual intervention when failover or redundancy was required was almost a must. This also led to additional complexity in the network environment.
With everything that was covered from a business and IT trend perspective still in mind, it is important to translate these trends into real challenges that businesses are facing and put them into IT vernacular. As mentioned previously, the WAN is seeing pressure like never before. This is forcing IT teams to look for ways to alleviate that pressure. Businesses are also looking for ways to improve the user and application experience with what they currently own as well as to drive cost down. Lack of control over visibility, application performance, and keeping up with the ever-growing security attack surface is also contributing to businesses looking for a better way forward. However, organizational silos have also caused many businesses 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 businesses to take full advantage of what some of these software-defined advancements have to offer.