2015 Trendwatch: Internet of Things and SDN

With 2015 just a few days away, folks at companies like ours are reflecting upon the past year while predicting and planning for the New Year ahead. Our recent “Happy Holidays?” survey, polled 206 IT professionals in the U.S. and asked about their 2015 resolutions. Forty-three percent of all respondents resolve to increase IT security measures. The same number of respondents pledge to solve network and IT problems faster while a much smaller percentage (14 percent, to be accurate) seek to find their network’s wireless bandwidth hoarders.

Looking outside our own walls, I’ve recently read through Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 and here’s my take on a few of them:

Gartner Top 2015 Strategic Technology Trends (Source: Gartner)
Gartner Top 2015 Strategic Technology Trends (Source: Gartner)
  • Internet of Things (IoT): While Internet of Things-inspired usage models will open up new go-to-market opportunities, these opportunities will first require technology bets. Secondly, we also believe that proprietary competing systems for communication, data aggregation, workflow integration will proliferate – however, in order to scale well a person will need not to have picked Betamax. Additionally beyond this, Gartner’s larger point remains very important: it is time to embrace paradigm shifts and adopt new business models wherever they may come from.
  • Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure: Many hardware constraints are giving way to configurable flexibility and elasticity, just we saw with virtualization. However, the “you can do anything” mentality has to be constrained by “so what should you be doing?” It is a classic design problem: the same components can be used properly or improperly. This is the start of an adventure, missing rules of thumb, mature standardization and, yes, knowledge that we will have a few years from now. For IT to step into this future requires: an investment in the smartest people, openness to the new, training and commitment to prudent risk training within the usual cost constraints. Speed will also be integral to gain competitive advantage – everyone is in this race.

Speaking of the Internet of Things, wearable technology and other portable Internet-enabled devices will put more and more strain on network resources including wireless bandwidth. Our Flow Monitor tool can help IT pros understand wired and wireless bandwidth consumption and network traffic. If you like, give it a try for free for 30 days.

As we head into 2015, what will the New Year have in store for IT? Only time will tell!

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Network Operations Integration and IT (and Network) Services – Gartner’s Most Challenging Trends

Read the series introduction here

Trend #7 – Network Operations Integration

The convergence of formerly distinct network technology platforms – take telephony systems and LANs, for example – is precipitating a major networking operations transition, including alterations in IT organizational structure.

Gartner recommends network managers adopt an ITIL approach, creating an organization centered around processes that deliver IT services. To enhance end-to-end IT service delivery, consider greater integration of the Network Operations Center (NOC) with IT infrastructure operations.

This trend is driving complex IT organization changes, subordinating technology to processes, with the ultimate goal of seamless service delivery across all of IT.

Trend #8 – IT (and Network) Services

Gartner prediction: by 2012 as many as 30 percent of large enterprises will define core business-oriented IT services, along with formal service-level agreements for each service. The number of enterprises engaged in this analysis will rise from 15% in 2010.

As a result of this trend, IT is tasked with proving its enterprise value and with identifying metrics for service levels.

Because IT organizations increasingly define their services as processes, it’s not always obvious how to demonstrate the value of a process to the business.

Gartner proposes IT organizations tackle this perception gap in three phases.

Phase 1: Consider how the enterprise actually uses IT

Example: processing enterprise applications and computations; storing/retrieving essential data; and communicating among employees, suppliers and customers to make decisions and complete transactions.

Phase 2: Subdivide each category into sub-categories

Example: communications can be divided into telephony, messaging, conferencing, collaboration and data transfer, and presence.

Phase 3: Analyze each sub-category in terms of service-level requirements

Example: establish service-level uptimes by sub-category (such as data transfer) and for various enterprise sites (such as headquarters, field office, home).

Gartner cautions IT organizations: “Our key principle is to define services in the way the enterprise uses them, not necessarily what IT delivers as processes.”

Coming next: Our Ten Most Challenging trends series concludes with trends #9, Automation, and #10, Cloud computing.

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Gartner identifies the ten most challenging infrastructure and operations trends impacting network management now

IT Infrastructure and Operations: Gartner identifies the ten most challenging infrastructure and operations trends impacting network management now

Gartner to network managers: 10 key infrastructure and operations (I&O) trends will significantly challenge enterprise networking over the next 5 years – and transform how network mangers work with their peers.

“Network managers can no longer design and manage networking in a vacuum, because these I&O trends will require considerable interaction within I&O, with the rest of IT, and with the business itself.”

For example, some of the ten trends point to the need for significant additional bandwidth and a re-architecting of planned network designs: “Network managers should be ready to alter their plans.”

Among the chief recommendations:

  • Network managers must be fully involved in the rollout of key I&O initiatives in their enterprise.
  • It’s time to reorganize the network operations center (NOC) around processes – not technology – and to consider integrating NOC and IT operations processes.
  • Test or emulate the performance of cloud-based applications in all geographies where they will be deployed so that latency issues can be identified and managed.

To help you evaluate your organization’s readiness for the 10 most challenging I&O trends, look for our upcoming summaries. Next: trends 1 and 2 – cost optimization and consolidation.

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Our Network Management Division President, Ennio Carboni, shares predictions for 2011 (part 1) – Virtualization

As the year comes to a close its always refreshing to look at where we have been and where we are heading. What better way to gain accurate insight into the industry than going straight to the source? Ennio will share some of his predictions for 2011 in technology with a multi-part blog series.

Virtualization

Server virtualization will become a commodity. According to Gartner, SMBs will deploy more virtual machines in 2011 than enterprises, even though the latter had a few years of headstart. As we’ve mentioned, Ipswitch Network Management hasn’t purchased a single piece of server hardware in 3 years; we rely on virtual servers more than ever before. And we’re not alone-thousands of SMBs have already implemented virtualization and many more are looking to implement it. The need for guidance throughout the process will therefore be prevalent.  Learn about the virtualization process here.

The other thing you can point out was the article I sent you from groofer that talked about utilities stopping incentives for virtualization as it is now commonplace?

Public/Private Cloud Computing

Ennio also thinks that cloud deployments — public and private, will go mainstream next year. This covers all nature of clouds, from infrastructure to platforms and software as a service. Most enterprises and SMBs have embraced cloud based services, but as of 2011 they will build private cloud services with hugely increased capacities through linking to public clouds.

From a management perspective, this means organizations will need to have the tools to manage unified computing environments with network, system, i/o and application layers virtualized. Until now, only a few such tools exist, but 2011 will prove to greatly increase competition in this area.

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Tired of the Big Four’ Complacency

I’ve written about this before and after reading this latest review by Denise Dubie of Network World I couldn’t resist.

If your currently a network and operations management customer of a Big 4 vendor, namely HP, BMC, CA or IBM your likely as upset as 640 of your colleagues and looking for a change in course and performance. After all, Denise stated that 40% of respondents gave the Big 4 a C grade and 30% gave the forbidden D grade. What is going on? You pay hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions and all you get is C & D grade performance, service and respect?

Denise notes a Gartner report that says, “”Continuing customer satisfaction issues, the emergence of new technology and service delivery approaches, and the rise of large technology infrastructure providers expanding their capabilities into management software all contribute to making these industry leaders vulnerable.”

For more years than we care to count at times, visionary vendors like Ipswitch and a host of other SMB management vendors have dedicated productive time and thought to designing products that are effective in resolving pain yet easy to use. For years, the Big 4 dismissed us all as point products while they continued to fatten their products with hard to use features. As markets have matured in knowledge and grown in frustration, I feel exhilarated to know that our plan to build usable products was not only the right plan – it will make a difference in thousands of networks across the globe.

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