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Welcome to the network age

Adam Judd | Dec. 12, 2016
Networks will be the source of power and value creation in the era of digital transformation, says Adam Judd, vice president for Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) at Brocade, as he predicts key transformative technology trends and developments in 2017

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The future is the past reimagined. While I agree that all inspirations come from the past and it's difficult to make predictions about the future, I am also a firm believer that evolutionary progress is no longer the order of the day in the present we live in. Disruption is replacing progress as the mantra for survival across facets of social, economic and political developments today. It is the quantum leap we all must take to challenge status quo and ensure success.

We are entering the Network Age where everything is going to be interconnected. As we move to digitise everything from retail to cities, networks are at the center of new and disruptive business models. They are at the heart of competitive advantage and the source of transformation sweeping through every industry, changing the way we live and do business.

Networks will be the source of power and value creation in the digital transformation era, and my predictions for 2017 are based largely on them.

Network Ubiquity

By 2016, the Internet was already a ubiquitous part of life for most of us. In 2017, we can expect to see continued disaggregation of hardware and software leading to more cost-effective networks, at increased capacity, to offer more flexible service models across an expanding footprint. We will see advances in wireless network technology, and a subtle shift in security postures of enterprise endpoints. Users will be more connected, more often, to the networked resources they need to be most effective.

SDN and NFV Come of Age

Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) were two key buzzwords in 2016 as the industry came to materially understand the significant challenges of onboarding, orchestrating, and controlling a software-defined infrastructure of network connectivity and services. As we approach 2017, we can begin to see balanced skepticism and optimism that indicates we are nearing the level of maturity needed to find real solutions.

In 2017 we can expect to see complete software-defined network infrastructure solutions that are commercially available, multi-vendor, based on a viable ecosystem of SDN and NFV components. Proprietary platforms will begin to feel uncomfortably closed as users realise the extent of their lock-in. Adoption will rise, beyond the early adopter service providers, as enterprises and private data centers begin to see a manageable path to achieve the value of a flexible infrastructure.

Wireless Unification

With the rapid adoption of smartphones in recent years, and a consolidation of mobile OS platforms, wireless user behaviours have become better understood. At the same time, users are becoming more advanced and their expectations of the network are rising accordingly. In 2017 we will begin to see the fruits of various efforts that unify local Wi-Fi and cellular mobile data networks.

 

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