By Vishwas Manral, Distinguished Technologist, HP Networking, Advanced Technology Group
Living in Silicon Valley, I can observe a massive revolution happening in the IT world. I can sense it with the sprouting of new companies at an ever faster rate - as if its boom time again. Being part of the HP internal program aimed at evaluating these technologies for everything, from partnerships to acquisitions, I have seen many of these fledgling companies in closer quarters. This has helped me monitor the trends in the enterprise space closely.
Here are 4 key trends I’m observing—and my view on what they mean for the networking industry in general.
1. Software-based Networking – As we know, networking is more than just transporting bits between the user and the application. As transport cost per-bit drops drastically, networks are now adding functionality to make them more and more intelligent. The software aspect seems to be taking two different flavors. One to transport bits faster to reduce cost per bit by using FPGA/ASIC for forwarding and software-based controller to better utilize the traffic/network capabilities and lower costs. The other to add features to increase the value of what networks deliver. This includes features like content delivery, security, load balancing and WAN optimizations that can be in software run on general-purpose processors. In many instances the services will actually be run on virtual machines (VMs), so as to enable easy scale-out as the traffic/ users increase.
2. Big Data and Analytics – Business intelligence (BI) and real-time data analytics for large data sets are high on the priority for CIO’s. While most human data is structured; machine-to-machine data is totally unstructured and growing. It is this data that is most interesting for BI. To do ETL on the unstructured data and to then store in an RDBMS is a resource hog, if not impossible. Hadoop is a framework for distributed processing of such unstructured data in a clustered system. Organizations like Walmart have been extensively using intelligent analytics on this data for gaining a leg-up over their competitors, and most others now understand the business benefits of the same.
Big Data frameworks like Hadoop (which recently reached “release 1.0.0” after six years of gestation) however have some typical requirements on the network because of their large but bursty nature and using TCP for data transport. Processing such workloads need a network that can provide latency/ loss/ jitter bounds, besides high bandwidth. In a shared network, these also require the ability to clearly separate out traffic with different characteristics from one-another. In the network front this means the ability to have bigger buffers to prevent packet loss, which affects TCP.
3. Enterprise Cloud – There have been a lot of discussions about enterprises using the public clouds and services on the public cloud. The current thought process seems to have come to the fact that for IaaS, enterprises should own the base and use the public cloud for the spikes (the infrastructure requirements that are seasonal and at times hard to predict).
I envision the enterprise-class cloud architectures need to be designed to work around failures. Future enterprise-class public clouds will differentiate by the ability to provide some level of SLA and guarantees within the cloud data center. In the same way, lMPLS is able to differentiate when compared to Direct Internet Access connectivity for enterprises. It also means a greater level of security, auditing, monitoring and privacy to protect critical enterprise data.
4. Consumerization of IT – This term seems to mean a lot of different things to different organizations. For the IT organization, it is a way to regain control of enterprise data, which was leaking because employees used personal devices for transmitting enterprise data. This is changing the enterprise software landscape where “consumerization” means more than just using consumer applications for enterprise. In a lot of cases it signifies borrowing concepts like intuitive UI to design enterprise applications.
On the networking front one of the biggest changes it brings is the complete reliance on wireless as most new consumer devices like tablets and smart-phones, do not have a Ethernet interface and hence totally rely on wireless. It means support and control of varied devices from different users without compromising enterprise data – so stricter yet easier to use security.
Let me know what you think of the trends and their affects on future of networks.
What other trends do you see that affect the networks drastically? I would love to hear your views and opinions on the same.
>> Read a previous post of mine talking about router changes in 2011: Networking: 2011 top router changes
>>Want to read more on IT trends? CTOs weigh in: 4 IT trends that will help you remain competitive in 2012
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