Legacy Networks Have Some Catching Up to Do
by July 7, 2017

Filed under: Industry Insights, Networking Technology

Are you using multicloud in your enterprise? No? Are you sure about that? This look at multicloud notes that many businesses are actually using multicloud without knowing it, citing an IDC study that 95% of businesses are using multiple public and private clouds. This unknown use of multicloud is a sort of outgrowth of shadow IT, which isn’t so harmless when new cloud services are using bandwidth without IT teams knowing about them. This can be even more prevalent at remote locations, where you may not be able to see exactly which applications or cloud services those employees are using. What may be a quick download or trial subscription for them can cause a big headache for you in IT as you try to figure out what’s hogging bandwidth and slowing down other more important apps. This is especially challenging since legacy networks aren’t often upgraded appropriately for cloud deployments.

That’s a challenge that many enterprises probably recognize—you and your company’s leaders are ready for cloud, but your legacy network isn’t. The network has lagged behind other technologies in the data center—think server virtualization and ever-faster and more dense chips and memory. The concept of SDN emerged some years back, but businesses are still figuring out how that will work in practice. This piece cites SD-WAN—a promising but still emerging tool—as the way forward to get around legacy networking. Enterprises running cloud and SaaS applications over legacy networks, meanwhile, may run into visibility issues because of the device-centric slant of those networks, and the tools that monitor them.

More on that subject here, with a discussion of how hybrid cloud specifically will need a top-notch, flexible network to really be successful. One tip is not to leave networking considerations till last, but rather take a good look at what kind of network optimization you’ll need before you implement a hybrid cloud. Both physical changes and management changes are needed to upgrade most legacy networks. And on the vendor front, there are various products emerging to address hybrid cloud, such as infrastructure mapping tools. In addition, some cloud providers are now offering customers direct ISP connectivity to avoid last-mile issues.

Network service providers are also carefully evaluating how they can meet their customers’ needs with the onslaught of cloud and SaaS apps. One provider estimates that 80% of network traffic in the past would have gone to a company’s data center. Now, 50-80% of network traffic is going to the internet. Some providers and customers are looking to edge computing to ease bandwidth issues, since many customers want to extend more bandwidth to their remote locations. As with nearly everything in IT today, this general desire for better network performance is driven by the need for positive end-user experience.

Till next week, think outside the current network box.