Networks are the lifeblood every 21st century enterprise. Networks connect cloud applications, data, IoT (Internet of things) solutions, ecommerce systems, digital marketing mechanisms, employees, customers, and all of all other elements that comprise today’s business landscape. But often the needs of networks exceed what the traditional networking model can supply. The truth is that networks, ironically, can stall innovation rather than foster it the way they are intended.
As an example, look at the ever-growing IoT sector. Experts predict that we’ll see about 50 billion IoT devices deployed by the end of 2020. And anyone in the technology and telecom space will tell you that IoT is complex technology that requires a significant amount of bandwidth to function properly. But again, the demand for sufficient bandwidth may not be met, making the network itself a potential barrier to growth and profitability.
This IoT example is just one reason why today’s digitally-driven businesses must reimagine their paths for growth. Networking simply isn’t the way it used to be – in fact, we’re in an entirely new era that’s transforming the connectivity solutions offered by service providers. Outdated models must be swapped out for fresh approaches to accelerate the delivery of vital network services. The question is, how will service providers adapt to these critical challenges?
While networking is the basic conduit for communicating, sharing data and plain doing business, it must evolve to keep up with the times. Networks must be redefined in terms of what they can offer, especially now that they support – or at least are trying to support – the digital transformation occurring across the globe. Fortunately, many are waking up to this reality: Networks can’t hamper the speed of innovation. Organizations across all industries are investing in DevOps, which allows developers to build applications quicker than ever before. By relying on the oldest technology of all – human creativity – they are overcoming problems for companies and deploying reliable software more often.
We also have to examine how the cloud gets affected by inadequate network performance. Today over 80% of enterprises use cloud computing to store and access data, so it’s vital that these systems work at maximum efficiency. But slow network evolution hinders cloud speed and functionality. So although cloud computing deployments have continued at an ever-increasing rate, cloud-based services require agile and flexible networks. Just as the IoT needs a rich network to thrive, so does the cloud. All technology, whether it’s the cloud, IoT, or an ecommerce application, require highly scalable networks that can accommodate millions of users and devices. But current networks, which were originally created to serve consumer mobile demand and basic enterprise applications, simply can’t meet the gigantic demands of digital transformation.
The good news is that networks can evolve. In fact, there is already mainstream adoption of 100 gigabyte per second (100G) connectivity driven by high bandwidth demand from e-commerce, digital services and media content. This way, service providers have been able to provide the necessary bandwidth while allowing for future growth of their offerings. Another innovation is the use of Software-defined networking (SDN) platforms and APIs, which eliminate the need for legacy processes from networking. By just using a single platform, networking services can be quickly delivered and, at the same time, provide a better customer experience. In the end, you have a networking model that supplies the real-world tools enterprises need while offering a clear, unobstructed path to innovation.
Service providers can decide to stick with the traditional networking model and hold their customers back, or they can build a new type of network that allows for limitless innovation and the growth that accompanies it. By choosing the latter, they can serve customer needs today and gain increased revenue tomorrow.