Tag Archives: Trends

4 Trends Driving Accelerated SD-WAN Adoption | IT Infrastructure Advice, Discussion, Community


SD-WAN adoption is growing at an impressive clip with the market predicted to reach $8 billion by 2021, according to analyst firm IDC. It’s no wonder businesses are clamoring to tap into the many benefits provided by SD-WAN implementations including cost savings of up to 50 percent, increased network resiliency, and better application performance across complex network environments. But, there are also several broader trends contributing to the accelerated adoption of SD-WAN technology.

As you consider embarking on a new SD-WAN deployment, keep in mind these four factors influencing its meteoric rise:

Service providers reengineering themselves to capture SD-WAN market share

Service providers are aggressively building out and selling managed SD-WAN offerings today. Working quickly to stay ahead of emerging “build it yourself” alternatives, they’re carving out their slice of the SD-WAN pie. If a service provider is already managing the network, they’re well positioned to plan, deploy and maintain a new, turnkey SD-WAN solution for customers as well.

Why would a business choose to build and manage their own SD-WAN implementation instead? There are a variety of reasons the “self-service” approach can be more appealing. Many businesses don’t want to deal with the commitment and term agreements that come with outsourcing. Some companies prefer to have the agility and flexibility to play providers off one another and remain in control of their own destiny.

However, the moves we see within the SD-WAN space are very similar to those present in other managed service provider markets – you can either outsource, insource, or out-task. Managed SD-WAN will continue to become increasingly popular, which is one of the ways SD-WAN will continue to become more accessible each year. That said, regardless of how the SD-WAN is deployed and managed, every business still needs the ability to access granular visibility into all areas of the network to optimize, maintain and troubleshoot increasingly complex environments.

Continued advancements in network agility

In the past, network routing policies were relatively basic. Applications like voice calls would go out over MPLS, while email would go through broadband. Today, cloud-based controllers have gained a massive amount of intelligence, and we’re witnessing a major shift in the routing paradigm for how application data and traffic moves.

This has led to the emergence of intent-based policies, or routing determinations, that are made “on the fly,” based on criteria that optimize for available bandwidth, cost, priority, and performance. The network is much more agile as a consequence, which translates to SD-WAN benefits like increased automation and immediate cost savings.

These advantages can only be realized once you’re able to visualize all areas of the hybrid network fabric, from legacy infrastructure to SD-WANs and more, in order to plan those routing policies, visually verify they’re working, and adjust as needed.

Networking and security vendors are converging capabilities

In late 2018, Cisco announced it would be unifying its security and SD-WAN. This secure SD-WAN service is a perfect example of a trend we see elsewhere as well. Security vendors like WatchGuard Technologies and SonicWall have recently built SD-WAN capabilities into their security appliances. Although Cisco is clearly the 800-pound gorilla in this space, with a major advantage in terms of active routing infrastructure worldwide, the integration of SD-WAN capabilities into products from vendors of varying sizes and market segments can only mean that SD-WAN will continue to become increasingly accessible in the future.

The emergence of next-generation network monitoring tools

Another major trend driving increased SD-WAN adoption is the growing sophistication of network monitoring or Network Performance Management and Diagnostics (NPMD) tools. As interest in SD-WAN grows, so does the need and adoption of sophisticated network management solutions. In order to truly tap into the cost, performance and resiliency benefits SD-WAN offers, businesses need network management solutions that can validate telco SLAs, assess the quality of individual paths and VPNs, provide visual presentations of interconnected conditions and their current status, display SD-WAN topology views and site-to-site maps, and deliver detailed visualizations of public and virtual private clouds, critical applications and more.

Recently, there’s been a surge of momentum behind advanced NPMD solutions, which is a byproduct of the industry-wide move toward SD-WAN adoption. Without these tools, it would be incredibly hard to deploy SD-WANs because you lose visibility into various performance issues and the overall conditions of the underlying network. Essentially, these solutions allow businesses to simplify the management of their complex networks, including the process of planning, deploying, and operating SD-WANs.

Pulling it all together

Organizations will continue to adopt SD-WAN at a faster pace as service providers and vendors expand the range of deployment options. In order to achieve SD-WAN success, NetOps teams need solutions that provide comprehensive network visibility and can allow them to implement and manage these complex architectures as they merge and interact with legacy infrastructure.

 



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CDNs Evolve: Four Trends to Watch in 2019 | IT Infrastructure Advice, Discussion, Community


Content delivery networks (CDN), have helped businesses get rich media content from origination to consumers since just before the turn of the century. These international networks of servers and edge devices loaded with feature-rich software have since improved streaming quality, raised download speeds, and supported ads. Challenges remain with climbing video use.

CDNs Then…

CDNs came to be because businesses began adding rich media content to their websites. That and increased traffic loads often crippled the sites or knocked them out altogether. Owners could neither predict nor plan for these costly instances. Frustration soared as angry customers couldn’t buy products from e-commerce sites, nor could they receive video content when they desired. Throwing servers at the problem was not a viable response.

Enter CDN services, which offered businesses an affordable and effective alternative to building and maintaining networks themselves. The CDN architecture focused on delivering rich media content cached in the network from edge servers closest to the customer, speeding the process and cutting latency, packet loss, and more. It also eliminated a single point of failure for customers.

And Now

Fast-forward to today, where some CDNs (Akamai, Limelight, and Mirror Image) remain independent, while yet others (Level 3/CenturyLink and Verizon/EdgeCast) have been snapped up by carriers. More importantly, they have evolved to offer a variety of value-added services to current and potential features and functionality including event monitoring and management packages, enhanced security, quality of experience measurement, and more.

In fact, these cloud-like service providers have evolved their service portfolios to the extent that they no longer like to be called CDNs. They continue to focus on providing their content delivery and value-added services from the edge of their networks−closer to businesses’ customers.

Trends on Tap

With the continued rise of video and other rich media content delivery, especially by media, entertainment, and technology companies of all sizes around the globe, what should we expect in the year ahead?

Use of multiple CDNs: Though it may sound like heavy lifting, content companies typically use two or more providers to ensure the best and safest delivery of their content assets, especially for large and high-profile events such as sports matches, concerts, and news events for a vast, far-flung viewing audience. This approach offers backup, redundancy, network route diversity, and more. Load balancers let customers switch video between CDNs. And, software packages are available for monitoring multiple CDNs. They also enable corrective action in the event of local or regional drops in network performance, or potential link outages.

New features and functionality: In the fast-paced race to differentiate their offerings from other CDNs and cloud service providers, CDNs continue their functionality evolution. Earlier this month, Akamai announced plans to offer Customer Identity Access Management through its planned purchase of Janrain Inc. Typically, these capabilities are made available by adding intelligence to the network’s edge servers.

Security never sleeps: Protecting CDNs and their customers from a growing list and type of security threats keeps many up all night. That’s because old ones such as DDoS attacks have evolved over the years, while others have emerged more recently. Protecting customers’ websites, APIs, and applications from attacks is a full-time job for CDNs. Don’t forget the bot threat and application vulnerabilities.

Going mobile: In the beginning, the challenge was to get rich media content to desktops and laptop computers, for large audience viewing from home or from work. But the proliferation of smartphones has driven demand for wireless video viewing options. Content owners (sports leagues and broadcasters among them) have seized on this audience expansion opportunity.

Customers want only to push play and receive a superior video viewing experience. They couldn’t care less about low connections speeds, bandwidth limitations, and the technology challenges they continue to fuel, especially as video files grow in size.

CDNs are battling these and other challenges by adding more broadband to their networks and offering outsourced services to content owners that allow wide delivery of video at lower speeds that can be adapted to network link bandwidth. Add in offerings whereby CDNs handle aspects of video publishing that include matching streams to different protocols. Don’t forget addressing myriad device types. Only the largest content owners perform these tasks on their own as they are expensive and devour resources.

The Bottom Line

The above-listed trends are not completely new, but instead are continuations of challenges that have arisen in past years. In many cases, everything old is new again.

Stay tuned for more CDN coverage as these service providers pass milestones on the road to delivering a robust, high-quality, device-agnostic, viewing experience, available globally with a robust menu of added features and functionality.

 

 



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Top Trends Impacting Enterprise Infrastructure


Enterprise infrastructure teams are under massive pressure as the cloud continues to upend traditional IT architectures and ways of providing service to the business. Companies are on a quest to reap the speed and agility benefits of cloud and automation, and infrastructure pros must keep up.

In this rapidly changing IT environment, new technologies are challenging the status quo. Traditional gear such as dedicated servers, storage arrays, and network hardware still have their place, but companies are increasingly looking to the cloud, automation, and software-defined technologies to pursue their digital initiatives.

According to IDC, by 2020, the heavy workload demands of next-generation applications and IT architectures will have forced 55% of enterprises to modernize their data center assets by updating their existing facilities or deploying new facilities.

Moreover, by the end of next year, the need for better agility and manageability will lead companies focused on digital transformation to migrate more than 50% of their IT infrastructure in their data center and edge locations to a software-defined model, IDC predicts. This shift will speed adoption of advanced architectures such as containers, analysts said.

Keith Townsend, founder of The CTO Advisor and Interop ITX Infrastructure Track Chair, keeps a close eye the evolution of IT infrastructure. On the next pages, read his advice on what he sees as the top technologies and trends for infrastructure pros today: hyperconvergence, network disaggregation, cloud migration strategies, and new abstraction layers such as containers.

(Image: Timofeev Vladimir/Shutterstock)

Get live advice on networking, storage, and data center technologies to build the foundation to support software-driven IT and the cloud. Attend the Infrastructure Track at Interop ITX, April 30-May 4, 2018. Register now!

 



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6 Hot Tech Trends That Will Impact the Enterprise in 2018


The start of a new year always brings a flood of forecasts from technology pundits for what might happen in the next 12 months. For some reason, 2018 triggered even more prognostications from tech experts than usual. We received dozens of predictions for networking, storage, and data center trends that IT pros should expect to see this year.

After sorting through them, we noticed a pattern: many experts predict more of the same.  The trends and hot technologies from 2017 such as machine learning and automation will continue to influence IT infrastructure into 2018, but the pace and intensity of innovation and adoption seems likely to increase.

“It’s no secret that AI and machine learning are driving a lot of the innovation across the various ecosystems and technology domains that IT cares about,” Rohit Mehra, program VP of network infrastructure at IDC, said in a webcast on the firm’s 2018 predictions for worldwide enterprise infrastructure.

In fact, the rapid incorporation of AI into the workplace will mean that by 2021, more than half of enterprise infrastructure will use some form of cognitive and artificial intelligence to improve productivity, manage risk, and reduce costs, according to IDC.  

To be sure, 2018 will another year of rapid change for IT infrastructure. Read ahead for six key tech trends that infrastructure pros should keep an eye on in the months ahead.

(Image: alleachday/Shutterstock)



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7 Enterprise Storage Trends for 2018


Enterprises today are generating and storing more data than ever, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. The rise of big data, the internet of things, and analytics are all contributing to the exponential data growth. The surge is driving organizations to expand their infrastructure, particularly data storage.

In fact, the rapid growth of data and data storage technology is the biggest factor driving change in IT infrastructure, according to the Interop ITX and InformationWeek 2018 State of Infrastructure study. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents choose it as one of the top three factors, far exceeding the need to integrate with cloud services.

Organizations have been dealing with rapid data growth for a while, but are reaching a tipping point, Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at ESG, said in an interview.

“If you go from 20 terabytes to 100 terabytes, that’s phenomenal growth but from a management standpoint, it’s still within the same operating process,” he said. “But if you go from a petabyte to 10 or 20 petabytes, now you start taking about a fundamentally different scale for infrastructure.”

Moreover, companies today see the power of data and understand that they need to harness it in order to become competitive, Sinclair said.

“Data has always been valuable, but often it was used for a specific application or workload. Retaining data for longer periods was more about disaster recovery, having an archive, or for regulatory compliance,” he said. “As we move more into the digital economy, companies want to leverage data, whether it’s to provide more products and services, become more efficient, or better engage with their customers.”

To support their digital strategy, companies are planning to invest in more storage hardware in their data centers, store more data in the cloud, and investigate emerging technologies such as software-defined storage, according to the 2018 State of Infrastructure study. Altogether, they’re planning to spend more on storage hardware than other infrastructure.

Read on for more details from the research and to find out about enterprise storage plans for 2018. Click on the row of buttons below or on the arrows on either side of the images. For the full survey results, download the complete report.

(Image: Peshkova/Shutterstock)



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