IDC's state of the network at Interop: Change, or be left behind

IDC's state of the network at Interop: Change, or be left behind

IDC analysts say the confluence of mobile, social and Cloud technologies will force businesses to rethink their IT strategies.

The confluence of mobile, social and Big Data trends are driving a tectonic transformation and businesses that do not change with these trends will be left behind, analysts from research firm, IDC, said at Interop 2015.

IDC says the so-called third platform, which includes those mega-trends of cloud and mobile workloads, will disrupt one-third of leading businesses across all sectors.

"The third platform is already fueling a digital transformation across enterprise IT, and the only way IT will succeed is by transforming itself," said Rohit Mehra, research vice president for network infrastructure at IDC. "If you're an IT manager or CIO, you need to be thinking about how you'll transform yourself before changing your infrastructure."

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A major part of this transformation will be adapting the network to accommodate these new uses cases, which is something enterprises have been doing for three to four years now. "Yesterday's infrastructure isn't going to cut it," Mehra says. "If you're in IT, if you're the network manager, you have to think differently."

By 2018 the average person will have five network-connected devices and there will be four times as much data traveling over networks.

"Networking will be a key pillar to provide the infrastructure needs of tomorrow," Mehra says. Eighty per cent of companies that IDC surveyed are already actively using or are considering using the Cloud, whether that be public or private. Ninety percent of new commercial applications being created are developed specifically for the Cloud. These profound changes will require that the network change with it.

"If your workloads change, then the network needs to change to support those new use cases," says IDC Research Director for data center networking, Brad Casemore.

One of the hottest emerging trends to deal with these issues is software-defined networking (SDN), which decouples the network hardware from the management allowing for increased automation when creating and scaling up networks.

The SDN market is expected to explode from a $US1 billion market last year to $US8 billion by 2018, Casemore predicts. "We've seen significant strides this year," he says, mostly in service provider deployments, but enterprise use cases as well.

LAN, WAN, campus and remote networks are going through changes too. More users are connecting through different means, from MPLS to broadband, and they're connecting to IaaS and SaaS Clouds that sit outside the company firewall. These services that exist outside of the datacentre lend themselves well to new types of services like intelligent path selection, Cloud VPNs and abstraction of network management.

Mehra says the first step to addressing these shifts is developing a strategy for digital transformation. In this new era no one vendor will provide a complete set of products to address these challenges, so what he calls an ecosystem approach will be important that includes products from multiple vendors.

Companies that are able to manage information more effectively, optimize their business processes and create a flexible human resource model will be able to create new revenue streams, win talent wars and be one of the disrupting businesses, not ones that are being disrupted.

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