“We are seeing a fundamental shift in information technology toward software-based and services-led architectures, and we expect this trend to become even more resonant in 2014,” said David Hughes, CEO of Silver Peak.
1. Increased cloud deployments will put more focus on wide area network (WAN)/Internet performance
The Internet is often the weakest link in a cloud deployment. In 2014, more enterprises are expected to shift their focus and investment from private cloud services to public or hybrid cloud deployments. As such, more pressure will be put on the IT department to ensure both the network and applications are fully optimized for a seamless and uninterrupted cloud experience. WAN optimization deployment models will hence evolve to address both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services.
2. Hypervisor-centric SDN model will win the day
The hype and interest around software-defined networking (SDN) is at an all-time high, and while the industry continues to sift through the endless marketing messages and potential deployment options, we will see hypervisor-based SDN models win out over switch-based SDN for seamless control of the network. These will be led by vendor-driven architectures, which will continue to dominate over pure open standards.
3. Virtualized data centers will enable new Layer 4-7 service-oriented deployment models
As the adoption of virtualization in the data centre increases, we will see more point-and-click service enablement directly from the virtual domain. This new model of service delivery will rely less on complex network configurations and expertise.
4. IT networking as stand-alone job function comes under attack
Virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN) have started to make most legacy networking expertise irrelevant. A “next-generation” IT organization will start to take shape in 2014 where IT organizations will need to look for diversified skill sets that combine networking, storage and virtualization expertise.
5. Cloud-based replication and backup services become mainstream
As storage becomes more virtualized and cloud services take off, the cloud becomes a significant driver of network bandwidth demands. The business case for cloud replication becomes favorable, and as the cost of cloud storage keeps coming down, we will see storage administrators start to focus more on the total cost of ownership (TCO).
6. Forced networking hardware refresh accelerates shift to software services
Many customers will be facing a vendor-imposed hardware refresh in 2014. This will drive IT organizations to evaluate software-based alternatives. New flexible billing models and usage-based pricing will accelerate a move from hardware to software, and single purpose, proprietary layer 4-7 hardware will start to become obsolete.
7. Internet Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) displace Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks and will eat into MPLS market share
With cloud services becoming easily accessible over the Internet, users will start to realize that if they can connect to the cloud over the Internet, they can also use it everywhere else. Therefore, the managed service provider (MSP) market is expected to reshape itself around the Internet value-add.