Data centric operations are changing the way we work – and placing new demands on your IT network. Here are nine new trends you need to be aware of – can your current network cope?
1. Cloud hosted apps
The unbeatable flexibility provided by public cloud platforms makes them ideal for new app deployments. Containerisation and micro services are increasing in popularity because they offer unrivalled portability and resource control – but they also rely on uninterrupted connectivity between network edge, core and cloud data centre to perform adequately.
2. Distributed apps
Interconnected micro services can be hosted anywhere – on-site, at the network edge or in the cloud. Location is determined by performance needs – and again, reliable, speedy connectivity is critical.
3. Continuous development
Agile development and fail-faster methodologies result in continuous delivery of updates apps. The development team need a network infrastructure that allows them to increase the speed of production and delivery, whilst containing operational costs.
4. Virtual becomes serverless
Moving away from the concept of servers (physical or virtual) requires a different approach to infrastructure architecture. According to Cisco, future networks will be built around “nerve clusters”, mini networks located where the data is, with a reliable backbone to connect each cluster as required.
5. IoT goes mainstream
Smart sensors and IoT devices are no longer the preserve of manufacturing or self driving cars. The ability to capture – and action – real-time data can be used in a broad range of industries. As well as improving connectivity between edge IoT devices and the network core, network administrators will need a more flexible way to manage them. Infrastructure will have to become smarter to allow administrators to identify and classify connected devices and to apply policies that maintain performance without impacting other networked assets.
6. Here comes AI
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate and accelerate operations relies on the ability to access and process data quickly. As AI adoption grows, more processing will take place at the network edge. Network infrastructure will have to be capable of delivering information to AI engines in near real time in order to succeed. This will require improvements in connectivity between network edge, core and the cloud depending on where computation is being performed.
7. We’re all mobile now
Cisco once predicted that mobile data traffic would increase at annual growth rate of 42% – but that was before the 2020 global pandemic shut down offices across the world. That estimate now looks increasingly conservative. Workforces are likely to remain highly distributed and mobile for the foreseeable future – or even permanently. Accessing corporate systems from a range of devices outside the company network decreases visibility and control. Careful thought will have to be given as to how to control access to resources, particularly as IoT devices further increase network complexity and ‘noise’.
8. Cybersecurity must get smarter
As corporate systems extend outside the network perimeter, the attack surface available to hackers increases. Cyberattacks are increasingly sophisticated, so businesses will need to online investing in network infrastructure that allow them to identify, contain and mitigate threats. These protections will need to be extended to cloud environments too, providing similar defences for data and applications hosted outside the network perimeter.
9. AR and VR are finally happening
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies have begun to mature, moving from consumer novelty to business productivity tool. New applications include improved collaboration, training and even remote working ‘experiences’. But every productivity gain comes at a cost, increasing demand on your network resources. The future-ready network will need to deliver improved end-to-end throughput with minimal latency. Using dynamic performance controls will help to guarantee a decent end-user experience and ensure that other mission-critical activities are not impacted without overwhelming the network administrator.
The future is more
Clearly all nine of these trends have one thing in common – more network resources. Or more specifically, more efficient, flexible network resources that will support changing workloads and priorities. Without planning for these significant changes soon, businesses may find they are unable to support the applications they need in future.
To learn more about how WTL and Cisco can help you meet these challenges head-on, please get in touch.