Bye Bye 2015: Datacenter networking trends to watch out for in 2016

2015 saw software transforming the data center networking with service providers and enterprises turning to SDN and NFV to create new services quickly

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Edgar Dias


The year 2015 saw organizations disrupting their markets with digital transformation of their businesses, through embracing third platform computing and New IP networking technologies. The year saw software transforming the data center and networks with service providers and enterprises turning to Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to create new services quickly, scale them and deliver them in innovative user-centric ways.

The software-defined model has enabled significant advantages, making it the logical solution every organization turns to for better efficiency and security. Organizations have transitioned from the Old IP to the New IP which is defined by new levels of flexibility in the infrastructure, open-source driven standards, and have embrace it fully to gain significant benefits. The New IP has helped recognize that traditional networks are unable to cope with the demands of today’s highly virtualized environment running on the cloud and that old IP is actually inhibiting organizations from realizing the unlimited possibilities.

Legacy systems are a major challenge in this industry in adopting third platform technologies. CIOs are unable to completely discard or swap these revenue generating legacy assets unless there exists a business case that balances the capex with opex savings over the next few years. The old IP was never designed for the third platform and it’s crumbling and cracking under its weight.


Alongside, organizations are also feeling the pressure of excessive data on their networks often resulting in network congestion and instability. They want to optimize SAN performance to deliver maximum data and system availability. But due to the absence of an end-to-end visibility, IT staffs often just rely on guesswork to resolve performance and latency issues across their compute, network, and storage resources.

The emergence of SDN is now slowly driving the need for a network that is more flexible, agile, automated, simple, and seamless. Over the next year we should see a lot more testing, pilots and production deployments within enterprises and service providers.

What to expect in 2016?


As 2015 draws to a close, the top transformative technology trends to watch out for in 2016 includes:

1. The cloud will gain even greater traction: According to IDC, more than half of all IT spending is going to be on the 3rd Platform, otherwise known as cloud-based technologies, and that figure will surpass 60 percent of all IT spending by 2020.

2. Software-based networks are clearly the future: Over the past year, software has transformed the data center and networks in general, with service providers and enterprises turning to Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to create new services quickly, scale them easily, and deliver them in user-centric ways. 2016 will bring about the expanded adoption of innovative, open, and automated software networking platforms as enterprises and service providers migrate to New IP networks.


3. The importance of security will skyrocket: Organizations operating in today's New IP networking environment face increasing demands for cloud-based applications and need to support social, mobile, and Big Data initiatives. However, security-related attacks and breaches continue to impede the delivery of services and create additional challenges to network and service reliability.

4. DevOps will play a much larger role: DevOps, or any agile software development methodology that closely matches services with business demands, will gain widespread influence and uptake among both enterprises and service providers as a way to ensure they remain competitive. According to IDC, enterprises pursuing digital transformation strategies will more than double their software development capabilities by 2018.

5. Big Data and analytics will get even bigger: Organizations that are able to take advantage of the explosion of data will seize the day, and many of these disrupters will be startups that use Big Data to make strategic decisions based on analytics. As data gets increasingly colossal, so do the opportunities, skillsets, and demand for analytic and cognitive services across industries.


6. Machine learning takes off: The advent of machine learning is the computing breakthrough made possible by Big Data. The emergence of algorithms that can learn from and even make predictions based on the enormous amounts of data and meta-data that are generated, transmitted, and stored via networks will change the world of data centers and networks beginning in 2016.

7. Rise of the telcos with virtual architecture: Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that have been struggling to keep up with fast-changing customer needs and market opportunities will be compelled to embrace SDN and NFV in 2016.

8. The technical talent crunch gets serious: Vendors, service providers, and user organizations are all competing for a limited pool of next-generation talent with the required coding and technical skills. The talent crunch issue will become increasingly acute, and organizations will have to rethink their human resource strategies and policies in order to attract, develop, and retain strong talent.

Moving into 2016, more businesses are expected to leverage smart machines and transformative technologies to give them an unfair advantage.

The author is Senior Regional Director, Brocade India and SAARC

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