“The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.” — Mick Jagger
The past 365 days have been nothing short of monumental within the networking industry. No longer is it a case of vendors dictating the conversation; now it’s customers issuing demands resulting in new ways of thinking. As a result, the monolithic approach to networking is being eroded and replaced with agile technologies built to meet the use cases of today and tomorrow – which is why 2014 will be a very exciting year.
With that short backswing, here are 5 predictions for 2014:
1. NFV and Software-Defined ‘Everything’ Will Gain Momentum
2012 was when software-defined networking (SDN) started to become a common topic. 2013 was when we (sort of) agreed on a definition of what SDN is, and also the year when network functions virtualization (NFV) emerged as a complementary solution requirement. Now 2014 is when SDN and NFV will move from the research phase to production deployments by enterprises and service providers. In particular, expect NFV to gain prominence and drive new, immediate revenue opportunities for service providers by enabling faster time-to-service with lower-cost software-based infrastructure deployed in both distributed and cloud data centers.
2. Data Centers and Cloud Architectures Trim the Fat
Networks are more critical than ever for delivering applications, and fabrics will play a pivotal role in accelerating this transformation. The explosion of data is forcing an end to the traditional three-tier network, and with Gartner predicting that by 2014, 80 percent of network traffic will flow from server to server, we expect to see enterprises continuing to flatten their networks. Even at the age of 40, Ethernet will continue to revolutionize networking.
3. Clouds Loom Large
According to Gartner, the push for more personal cloud technologies will lead to a shift toward services and away from devices. In addition, a study by 451 Research forecasts that the worldwide cloud computing market is expected to grow at a 36 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5 billion by 2016. These figures demonstrate that CIOs are aware of the new business models, consumption models, user expectations, security issues, and privacy concerns associated with the cloud — and they will use the cloud to drive growth and innovation throughout their organizations. In 2014, the cloud will develop into a key business enabler and as private clouds mature, the desire to leverage public-cloud elasticity will grow.
4. The Internet Revolution Continues Unabated
As Robert Metcalfe stated, the power of a network increases by the square of the number of nodes connected to it. According to IDC, the total “Internet of Things” market, including technologies and services, will be $8.9 trillion by 2020, with 212 billion devices connected to the Internet, changing networking forever. Although concerns over security and interoperability with devices still remain, the Internet of Things is set to revolutionize industries, with the movement gaining traction in 2014. As a result, enterprises will dive deeper into how the Internet of Things will impact business.
5. Big Data Becomes Too Big to Handle
Enterprises will go back to basics in 2014 and ask fundamental questions of their data-center infrastructures as they look to deal with unprecedented data volumes: What are the objectives? Are we collecting the correct data? How can we use this to enable change in our businesses? Companies who cannot answer these questions adequately will struggle in the next 12 months. Furthermore, expect to see one or two significant cases of network failures — either in production systems or as part of a disaster recovery event — caused by data overload.