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Setting The Path For A Broader Transformation

Setting The Path For A Broader Transformation

The Indian networking market is seeing traction with increased investments across the enterprise and service provider deployments. The growth is majorly driven by enterprise and service provider deployments while consumer deployments are on a decline. Increased spending in government, with initiatives around Digital India is driving incremental revenues and this trend will continue in the coming quarters. The market is adopting subscription-led networking procurement over traditional networking hardware spend.

Network is the platform across which all connections come into the world, and every organization wants to move with great speed to take advantage of what is possible. As more devices join the internet, business users do not want to struggle with understanding different protocols and minutiae, they just want the network and all of its connected device intelligence to work.

The impending wave of network traffic is coming from all angles and affecting all industries. Success will be about not just equipping the network but also fine-tuning the economics so it makes good business sense.

The transition to 25/100GE architectures in the data center is in full swing, driving strong gains in 25GE and 100GE, while in turn bringing down the 40GE segment. Power over ethernet is also growing once again, a sign of strengthening campus-switching demand. Though there is movement toward 100 GbE, there is still lots of money being made in the 10 GbE and 1 GbE space as well.

2018 marked the start of the commercial 400G market with volumes ramping up in 2019 as 400G trials across WDM, service provider routing, and data center switching applications convert into production deployments. 400 GbE enabled hardware is being built by the vendors for both carrier and data center deployments. This includes, for instance, a packet transport router, a three-rack unit chassis that supports both 100GbE and 400GbE and switches in the data center, which have a 3RU chassis and can support 32×400GbE and 160x100GbE ports. 

WLAN is a critical enabler of end-to-end digital transformation strategies as wireless applications and devices continue to unlock new digital and business outcomes. The 802.11ac standard is the dominant speed in WLAN today, representing the majority of port shipments and revenues. All of the growth for WLAN revenues is coming from enterprises, as the consumer WLAN market is actually in a state of decline.

Cabling is critical to supporting today’s increased traffic loads. As the enterprise delves into advanced fabrics, virtual networking, and wide-area connectivity to the cloud and IoT, copper infrastructure will likely convert to fiber. Apart from market forces, new standards from power over ethernet to 5G cellular are forcing many legacy centers to revamp their wiring. Higher bandwidth requirements and high-speed interconnects are best supported by Cat 6A or better.

Ever-changing security threats, fear of data breaches, and regulatory compliance continue to drive security investments across all industries. Network security solutions gain precedence over hardware. Managed security services are the fastest growing category.

While government, banking, and the telecom industry are the largest buyers for network security and storage market, organizations are considering technologies to help data optimization and consolidation as ways to overcome shrinking budget allocations. Market continues to be led by spend in third-platform technologies and digital transformation initiatives. All flash arrays are seeing significant growth as they offer better technical advance and performance at an affordable price in a competitive vendor environment. The mid-range external storage segment is preferred over its entry-level counterpart, which is seeing a gradual decline.

Moving forward, IT executives realize that in order to produce infrastructure capable of supporting next-generation applications and services they need to bring storage at par with the rest of the data ecosystem. As traditional north–south architectures give way to east–west, southeast–northwest, and any other combination out there, new forms of storage connectivity are starting to drive emerging use cases. Storage networks will make way for storage fabrics. Of course, all of this is assuming that storage fabrics will continue to be the primary drivers of speed and connectivity in advanced data architectures. But this might not necessarily be the case. New generations of non-volatile DIMMs (NVDIMMS) are making it easier and more cost-efficient to build advanced memory architectures to handle the most time-critical workloads. While these solutions will remain more expensive than solid state and hard disk arrays, they will likely emerge as the new tier I level of storage. And that means the need to drive faster and faster performance across distributed compute architectures will likely diminish.

One thing seems certain: the days of simply provisioning more storage regardless of the underlying performance issues are long gone. Going forward, storage architectures will be as closely tied to application and user requirements as compute and networking, pushing the enterprise to deploy a diversity of solutions rather than whichever system is grabbing the most headlines at the moment.

The cloud and virtualization have revolutionized enterprise computing and look set to grow in importance over time. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) liberate companies from the constraints of legacy on-premises data centers; private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud architectures provide a host of options to suit individual business needs. Meanwhile, virtualization has moved beyond the server.

Software-defined networking (SDN) manages networks and separates the control plane from the forwarding plane. It offers a centralized view of the network, giving an SDN controller the ability to act as the brains of the network. The SDN controller relays information to switches and routers via southbound APIs, and to the applications with northbound APIs. Centralized, programmable SDN environments easily adjust to the rapidly changing needs of businesses. SDN lowers costs and limits wasteful provisioning, as well as provides flexibility and innovation for networks.

Network functions virtualization (NFV) offers an alternative way to design, deploy, and manage networking services. It is a complementary approach to SDN for network management. While they both manage networks, they rely on different methods. While SDN separates the control and forwarding planes to offer a centralized view of the network, NFV primarily focuses on optimizing the network services themselves.

NFV began when service providers attempted to speed up deployment of new network services in order to advance their revenue and growth plans, and they found that hardware-based appliances limited their ability to achieve these goals. They looked to standard IT virtualization technologies and found NFV helped accelerate service innovation and provisioning. With this, several providers banded together and created the NFV ISG under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The creation of ETSI NFV ISG resulted in the foundation of NFV’s basic requirements and architecture.

A majority of enterprises are experimenting with SD-WAN, and if current market predictions are any guide, SD-WAN is about to take a big bite out of dedicated MPLS services in support of application workloads in the cloud. We are seeing the first iterations of artificially intelligent WAN platforms that promise things like global fabric-style connectivity, continuous monitoring, and proactive traffic management. But as with most advanced technologies, SD-WAN’s success largely depends on how they are architected. As the enterprise gains real-world experience with the technology, it will likely emerge as a critical factor in emerging data environments – offering superior connectivity to many, but not all, enterprise workloads.

To conclude in the words of George Nazi, managing director, Accenture, “As networks become more software-driven, they generate vastly greater amounts of data, which provides some challenges: adhering to compliance and customer privacy guidelines, while harvesting the massive amounts of data – it is physically impossible for humans to tackle the sheer volume that is created. But the vast amounts of data also provide an opportunity for businesses: leveraging analytics to gather insights that can help network management move from reactive to proactive to assurance.

Once an organization uses analytics on its network data, network professionals can apply AI and machine learning to drive additional, significant benefits. As the analytics captures insights – in the thousands – machine learning can start to develop patterns of understanding. Data flows in from the network, analytics draws insights against the data, and then machine learning processes those insights and creates new automated processes for handling similar events in the future. As the AI powering these algorithms becomes more intelligent, it will find faster and more foolproof methods of anticipating threats in the network.

These evolutionary steps will help lower IT costs, reduce the time needed to invest in network management, and can also help to improve security. Network operators who are able to capitalize on machine learning will reap the benefits the fastest. By allowing machine learning to automate much of the management of the network, operators can focus their time on ways to differentiate their organization’s network and digital platform to develop, maintain, or advance a competitive advantage. As we move into a completely connected world with the IoT and smart cities, AI provides a huge opportunity to revolutionize the networks and will create new business models across all industries.”

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