Top 3 Networking Trends for 2015
A confluence of technological and IT trends relating to mobile and cloud are creating dramatic changes in how and where people work, computing workloads are processed, and work applications are delivered. What these changes all have in common is that they make businesses more dependent than ever on the Internet as their WAN—an inherently best effort infrastructure with limited visibility, security and control. This effect of mobile and cloud on IT and the elevation of the best effort Internet to business critical status are poised to transform networking in 2015.
The continuing evolution of software-defined networks (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), and the emergence of containerization technology aptly highlight the changing landscape of the networking industry. The new and disruptive technologies are enabling businesses to create a homogenous networking environment that abstract away the physicality of traditional networks and provides the ability to seamlessly connect workforces with the workloads and work apps that they need, from anywhere. As the advancement of these technologies march on, here’s what we can expect in 2015:
Maturing cloud adoption will drive adoption of hybrid/multi-cloud
Enterprises are becoming more and more comfortable with the fact that public cloud and deployments are maturing and getting more sophisticated as users figure out the best way to use them. As users continue to refine the workloads they use, they will discover that some cloud providers are better than others for certain use cases, and they will shift or optimize their workloads accordingly. For example, Azure is a superior solution for Windows server workloads while Linux applications provide more options to optimize cost. Amazon has an arsenal of features and capabilities for running more complex services, but can be too heavy-weight for others.
Cloud optimization will drive demand for multi-cloud service deployments—and the solutions that make them easier to manage. As workloads get distributed across different providers that offer the best bang for the byte, the challenge then becomes how to build networks that are “cloud compatible” to how to seamlessly and securely network them together. We expect to see cloud-independent and SDN-enabled cloud networks rise to challenge the complex and proprietary VPN implementations offered by public cloud providers today.
New enterprise-flavor of NFV will emerge
Cloud and mobile will drive the full virtualization of networks within the enterprise that stretch across traditional LAN and WAN infrastructures much like how PCs and distributed computing drove IP internetworking across LANs and WANs several decades ago. As networks become virtualized, so must the scores of the appliance-based and endpoint services that surround them at the edges. However, unlike the carrier version of this story where Network Function Virtualization (NFV) provides islands of standalone services to which traffic is backhauled, enterprises want their services to be fully automated and distributed out to where the traffic naturally flows. For example, a mobile user accessing an application running in a public cloud should not have to be “tromboned” through an enterprise datacenter in order to gain visibility, security and control of the user, device and traffic. The Open Network User Group (ONUG) refers to this distributed, enterprise-flavor or NFV as Network Service Virtualization (NSV) and we expect it to see some of the first deployments in 2015.
Containers will drive the need for automated deployments
Application deployment at the container level is programmable, so the networks that connect them together must be just as flexible. Here’s where the programmable and automatable nature of SDN really shines; allowing the network to be as agile as the code deployment itself.
Containers are accelerating the virtualization of apps and breaking apps down into more manageable processes, which means more network dependency. Whereas network virtualization is the key to enabling automated networks, SDN is the method to controlling the virtual networks—meaning IT organizations will seek to combine network virtualization and SDN to unlock true network flexibility for containers.
Driven by the the disruptive forces of cloud and mobile, we believe that 2015 will be the year that the seeds for more widespread adoption of network virtualization, SDN and NSV technologies will be planted as the need for network automation, programmability and mobility continues to rise.