Enterprises today face a technology landscape that is shifting very rapidly. What they see is a world where BYOD is expected, launching new services and applications quickly is required, and tearing them back down months later in favor of something better will be routine. It’s a world where picking the best component or platform -- and being able to do so with complete freedom and flexibility -- will be an absolute necessity if an enterprise is to remain competitive.
Unfortunately, the reality for many larger enterprises -- particularly those with tens of thousands of employees, many locations and high-bandwidth needs -- is that their networks were not designed with these demands in mind. It’s clear that traditional approaches to enterprise IT infrastructure must change.
This infrastructure needs to transport and manage vast amounts of data and multimedia content as well as serve increasingly mobile and distributed workforces that are demanding the latest devices, applications and productivity tools. As a result, enterprises need open and interoperable platforms that allow them to avoid vendor lock-in and the ability to choose best-of-breed solutions.
While enterprises are grappling with these infrastructure changes, we are seeing three key industry trends that may make this transformation easier than it first appears: the exponential growth of the cloud,the emergence of new technologies such as virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN) and an all-new web-scale IT approach to building IT networks and delivering IT services.
Cloud & emerging technologies
The first of these trends, cloud computing, frees enterprises to adopt new business models, maximize the effectiveness of shared resources, and become increasingly flexible while managing IT infrastructure costs. High-performing companies are already harnessing the cloud to transform their businesses by using dynamic services to operate more efficiently, improve their user experience, compete more effectively and break into new markets.
To make full use of cloud-based services, enterprises not only need dynamic services, but they also require dynamic networks and operations. The key to that evolution will be emerging technologies such as SDN, virtualization, and open communications and collaboration platforms.
SDN improves business productivity, accelerates development, strengthens business continuity and security, and simplifies compliance. Virtualization technology enables enterprises to reduce costs, simplify IT operations and respond more quickly to changing business demands. Additionally, an open communications and collaboration platform can cap legacy telecom silos and enable a new world where communications can be embedded in every app or service.
Coupling the cloud with these new technologies opens up the potential for “web-scale IT,” a term coined by Gartner to explain the approach employed by organizations like Google and Amazon to deliver the kind of service levels that are the envy of many enterprises today.
Web-scale IT is not about a specific technology, nor is it a “one-size-fits-all” model. Instead, it’s an approach that reduces time to market for IT services and lowers IT infrastructure costs while increasing agility, improving enterprises’ ability to stimulate IT culture change, and boosting quality of service.
These trends don’t just offer the promise of enviable business opportunities, but they also help to deliver the core components of the solutions that enable enterprises quickly, easily and with little risk to create the trusted, simpler, more adaptable IT infrastructures they need.
A framework of SDN, virtualization and cloud-based communications integrated with flexible, open platforms frees enterprises to choose the technologies that best suit their unique requirements, regardless of vendor or hardware.
By combining these technologies with the same web-scale IT approach that runs some of the world’s most powerful networks, enterprises can benefit from self-integrating, open-source technologies that deliver enviable levels of flexibility, automation and agility.
In future blog posts, I will dive deeper into how each of these trends can help enterprises overcome many of the issues they face today by changing the way they run their data centers, network their branch offices, and carry out their daily communications while enjoying the reliability, performance and scalability they still need.