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IP is running out of gas. It's time for the New IP

Christine Heckart, CMO, Brocade Communications | March 1, 2016
The classic IP networks that support everything today were simply not designed to meet the needs of the connected world that is emerging.

Although vendor-written, this contributed piece does not promote a product or service and has been edited and approved by Executive Networks Media editors.

The technology industry operates on micro and mega cycles of innovation. Micro cycles happen every hour, day, week and year. Mega cycles are far more rare, occurring every 20 years or so, like the leap from mainframes to client-server computing.

We are now entering the next mega innovation cycle. As with the previous seismic shifts, the benefits will be massive for those who adapt and potentially catastrophic for those who do not.  We all know the compute layer is moving to the cloud – we’ve been watching this shift for years. Big Data, mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are well on their way. Security, which seems to grab all the headlines lately, is still clearly a work in progress.

Here’s what isn’t talked about enough: the classic IP networks that support everything today were simply not designed to meet the needs of the connected world that is emerging.

And no wonder.  When our IP networks were engineered 20 years ago, few contemplated today’s IT realities.  Most of us had a mobile phone back then but it only handled voice calls. Old IP infrastructure wasn’t designed for billions of people using their phones to stream music and video, do email, shop online and do banking. It wasn’t designed for connecting billions more sensors and IoT devices that monitor our homes and businesses, or track our luggage and pets. It wasn’t designed for virtualization, or applications and data sets that live in the cloud.  Old IP networking, now entering its third decade of life, is struggling to keep up, and simply not equipped to deal with the network demands that we’ll quickly face as 25-50 billion devices and sensors come online in the next decade.

Security is perhaps the biggest concern of all. At the dawn of IP networking, nobody really worried about cyber thieves. Back then, pundits were still debating if commerce on the Internet would ever take off.  Security was more or less an afterthought in old IP networks. It focused on protecting user access at the edge and was never designed to deal with the hard realities of nation-sponsored hacking, malware, ransomeware, attacks from inside the network, and all the rest. Simple firewalls and password-based security protections, in the context of the modern IT world, aren’t just merely outdated – they’re downright dangerous.

We need a new IP architecture.

The next mega-cycle in networking is the New IP. Like Old IP, this modern version is based on the same basic and enduring IP protocol. Unlike Old IP, which is hardware-based, closed, and labor intensive to manage and maintain, New IP networks are highly virtualized, agile, flexible, and incredibly cost efficient. Even more important, they are designed from the ground up to meet the modern compute environment of cloud, Big Data, social, mobile, IoT, and the need for pervasive, behavioral-based security.


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