With the ability to run on plain, commodity hardware, and no vendor lock-on or a need for specialized hardware, the writing is on the wall that virtualization is changing everything. Companies are moving aggressively to adopt software-based networking solutions and reaping the benefits of flexibility and cost efficiency.
5. Optimizing SaaS performance — Five to ten years ago, enterprise WAN was a network that connected physical locations from headquarters to branches. Now, there is so much traffic flowing from branch to SaaS offerings, instead of the traditional branch-to-branch, or branch-to-headquarters routes. As the number of SaaS services used by businesses increase, the need for SaaS optimization moves beyond Office 365 and Salesforce.com and follows users to all SaaS offerings.
Enterprises today and tomorrow should look for comprehensive, well thought out SaaS optimization solutions to support a huge range of SaaS services, as opposed to bolt-on products/partnerships that only address single SaaS applications.
6. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) picks up — SaaS adoption has gone mainstream, and IaaS is now following in its footsteps. Enterprises are moving from smaller departmental pilots to strategic, broad-based cloud implementations.
However, the biggest impediment to IaaS adoption is the initial on-boarding process, which requires an organization to be able to get data from existing physical data center(s) into the cloud — in order for workloads to be reduced. Another problem is the issue of replicating data between physical sites and cloud, or from cloud to cloud.
A new generation of products and enhanced services are emerging to address this. One such solution enables users to move data between different service providers and data centers to build a virtual WAN to connect both physical and virtual locations.
7. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) — Although frustration continues with SDN, one of the bright spots lies with NFV. There is no need for service providers to wait for SDN adoption in order to take advantage of NFV. The concepts of SDN and NFV can be separated. NFV does not have so many dependencies — a virtual appliance is all it takes to get going. However, with SDN, businesses are likely to have to change things in the data center from the bottom up.
Service providers are waking up to the notion that they can start virtualizing network functions using software today. Come 2015, core NFV adoption that is independent of SDN roll-outs is expected to be seen.
8. Vendor categories get turned upside-down — The blurring of the boundaries between the Internet, cloud and corporate networks is forcing a convergence of the branch router, Content Distribution Network, and managed network and cloud services. Historically, these have been distinct categories, however, emerging solutions are beginning to blur the lines between boxes, software and services.
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