- Mobility will continue to drive enterprise network spend aggressively in the campus.
- Data center fabrics will further coalesce, and interoperability between carrier and private networks will improve (performance and simplicity).
Last year saw a number of new initiatives and exciting developments drive the network industry forward. WLAN growth was enormous, due to both the proliferation of wireless-enabled devices being brought into the enterprise and the sheer economics of not having to re-cable a plant or campus for increased productivity. This year will only see this investment increase, and the WLAN sector will benefit for it. Look for Aruba, Cisco, HP, Motorola, and more to articulate and differentiate based on their existing market share and technology breadth. As device proliferation accelerates and more enterprise applications become tablet-friendly, enterprises will begin to establish processes and some will even go so far as to provide company-sponsored tablets which they can control and administer directly. Whoever purchases the tablet is secondary to the additional increase in WLAN traffic that will come with these devices. If your architecture is more than two or three years old, it is time to evaluate and plan for traffic contingencies to ensure that productivity applications will have sufficient bandwidth to perform well. Those applications will include VDI, mobile video conferencing, and new and creative use cases for bi-directional multimedia (multi-site classrooms, multi-site faculty participation, etc.).
On top of this acceleration of data consumption over wireless is the need to deliver this data. Most of these application and content sources reside in a data center which has seen its own revolution and revitalization over the last 18 months. With fabrics advancing and true, ubiquitous data and storage convergence on the horizon, enterprises will soon be able to wire a server once and have near non-blocking bandwidth from any point to any point with a few mouse clicks, or even autonomously in some cases should the application request/demand it. Standards-based technologies have been in development for some time to address certain limitations in existing protocols or connectivity, and several vendors offer proprietary means to provide for massive bandwidth, flattened trees (or even a spider web where any device can connect to any device through one physical hop or less), and of course above all, scale. What is missing is the ability to choose a vendor and know that a solution will work optimally at LAN speeds (1G, 10G, 40G) from the private network out to the semi-public network, where employees can access company resources with no noticeable effect on performance relative to being in the office.
What was your network resolution for 2012? Is your DC ready? How about your campus WLAN solution?