Real Time Communications Featured Article

Most Organizations Will Need to Make Major Changes to Manage Tomorrow's Networking Requirements

March 17, 2016

It’s a familiar scenario. You download an app on your smartphone because it promises to make life easier for you. You open the app, attempt to engage with it and find that it doesn’t meet your expectations, so you never use it again. According to a study by Digital Trends, only 16 percent of people who download an app will ever use it a second time. It may be because the app is poorly designed, or it may be that it’s simply too slow.

Going forward, smartphone users – particularly business users – will begin making demands of networks that today’s infrastructure simply can’t meet, according to a recent article by CA’s Jeremy Rossbach.

“Building a network fit for the application economy means transformation, optimization and virtualization,” he wrote. “Today’s networks and processes will not be sufficient to meet digital consumers’ expectations for agility and availability. Services will suffer downtime. Applications will be slow to respond. And digital consumers will be quick to find an alternative.”

More consumers and business customers will begin relying on their digital devices for applications such as real-time communications via the WebRTC (“Real-Time Communications”) standard. For this to happen, organizations will need to invest and innovate wisely in technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), according to Rossbach. They’ll need to do it carefully, however, since these technologies could wind up creating even more challenges for organizations if implemented improperly.

“When implementing SDN or NFV, businesses must plan not just for technological change but also operational and cultural change,” he wrote. “Performance and fault management will no longer just be about fixing individual issues, but optimizing an overall service to enrich the experience for digital consumers.”

Organizations will require new management and service assurance tools to take advantage of the benefits of SDN and NFV. Most companies aren’t there yet. A recent study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) on SDN and network virtualization’s impact on network management found that only 32 percent of communication service providers and enterprises feel confident that their performance management and troubleshooting tools are ready to support SDN and NFV technologies.

“A major threat to SDN and NFV success looms. Before SDN can help companies boost productivity and grow revenue, IT organizations must make sure they have the right network management tools in place,” said Shamus McGillicuddy, Senior Analyst for Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

These tools will be needed to enable automated workflows, provide physical and virtual network stack visibility and service chain frameworks and metadata, perform transient data collection and enable actionable analytics. Only when companies are prepared to meet production and development demands without compromising agility or availability will they be able to take full advantage of the speed and performance that SDN and NFV will be able to offer them. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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