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8 Ways The Network Will Change In 2017

  • Networking is changing faster than ever before and next year promises more rapid change. Cloud adoption and an influx of mobile devices have reshaped networking over the past decade and these trends likely will accelerate in 2017.

    The days of maintaining and storing applications, data and services within a private data center are now long gone. The ability to scale and pivot to new technologies at a fraction of the cost has led many organizations to abandon much of their internal infrastructure in favor of a hybrid model. This shift from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud is not likely to end. In fact, some network changes you'll see over the next 12 months may be due to the fact that organizations move from a hybrid model to an entirely public cloud architecture. The question then becomes: How can an IT department best handle resources in multi-cloud environments?

    The impact of  mobile users and devices on network architecture may reach a tipping point in 2017. If there are more mobile users than users behind corporate network perimeters, then many aspects of the network design change, including security, data flows and a general need for increased flexibility in the form of automation. Network boundaries will be completely eroded, which will re-write the book of enterprise networking in the coming months.

    Organizations that have largely ignored or neglected IT networking must face the reality that in order to have a successful business in 2017, significant investment must be placed into the network infrastructure. Whether you are a small business with only a few employees or a huge enterprise looking to take advantage of the latest Internet of Things (IoT) advancements, investment in the network will be of utmost importance.

    2017 promises to be a great year for networking as a whole. The vast number of changes and disruptive technologies will require a solid foundation that begins and ends with network engineers and administrators. Click ahead to find out what trends will transform the network in the coming year.

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  • Remote sites go 100% to the cloud

    Cloud adoption has reached the point in many enterprise organizations that the traditional MPLS WAN or VPN tunnel back to the corporate office is no longer needed. Everything from applications, to file sharing and even the desk phone can be operated from the public cloud.

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  • Network security-as-a-service takes over

    Because we now live in a world where network borders are becoming meaningless, 2017 is going to be the year where we see a massive shift from on-premises network security tools to a cloud service provider model. Not only does the as-a-service deployment architecture allow more flexibility in protecting network resources in a borderless network, it can lower overall operational costs as well.

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  • Network--based identity management gains traction

    Many small and medium-sized enterprises share a weak spot  in terms of network security: the inability to identify devices and users that connect to the internal network. While identity management tools have been around for years, they’ve largely been expensive and difficult to manage. But network-based identity management tools such as Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) are finally to the point where the benefits outweigh the costs. Additionally, the tools themselves have matured to the point where they’re far easier to deploy and manage in most enterprise infrastructures.

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  • WiFi explodes thanks to IoT

    Like it or not, the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is moving full steam ahead. Most IoT sensors likely will be deployed wirelessly since it's a much cheaper form of connectivity. Even if you don’t see any major IoT projects headed your way in the next 12 months, 2017 is probably a great time to re-evaluate your WiFi network to make sure it won’t buckle under the eventual IoT push within your organization.

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  • Multi-cloud management takes off

    If you have had any experience managing a private network  along with one or more cloud service providers, you know how much work it can be translating traffic and security policies from one architecture to the next. But fortunately, 2017 is going to be the year where multi-cloud management solutions ease that burden. These tools allow you to set policy once, then automate the push to all other spaces within your overall network.

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  • Network automation becomes a necessity

    One of the easiest ways to maintain control over your network is to automate interactions between devices. Networks are growing in complexity and the only way to get a handle on it is to automate many steps when adds/moves and changes occur on the network. Network vendors are putting in a significant amount of time and effort to provide tools that automate many processes, such as Brocade with its Workflow Composer.

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  • Cloud-managed network gear goes mainstream

    When the concept of cloud managed networking devices first came on to the scene, many networking veterans (including me) scoffed at the idea of managing their routers, switches, firewalls and other network components from a SaaS provider. But for many, 2016 proved that cloud-managed network devices strike a great balance between functionality and ease of management. So much, in fact, that 2017 will be the year when cloud-managed networking equipment truly becomes mainstream in the enterprise.

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  • SMBs and startups pony up for enterprise-class gear

    Regardless of whether you're a long-established business with a handful of employees or a small startup with lofty ambitions, 2017 will mark the year when small and midsize businesses realize the benefits of running their network on enterprise-grade hardware. For too long, this segment of the market has tried to limp along on consumer-grade wired, wireless and security components only to find out that they provide an unstable and insecure environment. Since the network has become a critical linchpin to most any organization, SMB decision makers in 2017 will be willing to pay more for quality network components in the hopes of getting an improved network experience.

    (Image: geralt/Pixabay)