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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.

In Old IP, the vendor is at the center of the ecosystem and in control.  With New IP, the customer is at the center, and can mix and match hardware and software. A key hallmark of New IP is choice. In a New IP environment, IT organizations can use Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) or workload-specific hardware. Provisioning network resources is automated and can be done in a self-service model, further reducing costs.  

In the area of cyber security, New IP truly shines. In a New IP environment, security is built into the network from the ground up, not just bolted on at the periphery. It is based on behavior, not just identity. It’s like having motion and heat sensors in your home and not just a deadbolt lock on your door. It federates across silos, bringing a broader picture of behavior that only a network can provide.  It’s self-learning, not static, so it can keep pace with the hacking economy and the innovators within the dark web.

Global industry leaders like Amazon, Google and Facebook already operate on the New IP architecture -- that’s a big part of the reason they can innovate so quickly and at such low costs. Google released a whitepaper detailing its infrastructure evolution to a New IP environment. It’s a fascinating and sophisticated read, drafted by one of Google’s leading global network architects. It also offers tremendous insights into the New IP evolution now underway. AT&T also sees the long-term value and has declared that it will move to a New IP environment and virtualize 75% of its network by 2020.

To be sure, nobody is suggesting that we toss out all the Old IP networks. These legacy infrastructures served us well and are the foundation of most businesses and organizations today.  But they’re limited in how much further they can be stretched to adapt to the increasing demands on today’s IT infrastructure for many organizations. New IP architectures offer massive benefits, and also go a long way to help close the growing relevance gap that most IT and networking professionals currently face: between expectations on one axis, and delivery speed and costs on the other.

We have no way to predict how the current mega innovation cycle will end up – it’s anybody’s guess, really.  These things have a way of percolating for years, and then coalesce through some magic combination of social shift, economic need, and pure engineering brilliance.  But one thing is certain: networks are the hidden elixir that make everyday life possible. Without a network, the fancy smart phone in your pocket is just a brick and the credit card you swipe to pay for lunch is just a piece of plastic. Absent a strong and secure network, the highly anticipated Internet of Things is just a cool term with little purpose or impact, or worse, a security and privacy nightmare in waiting.


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