Enterprises Cannot Have Automation Commitment Issues and Be Successful

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

• Blending intent-based networking with traditional network management paradigms, while a necessary transitional requirement, is fraught with peril.
• Committing fully to intent-based networking will drive all subsequent workflow and product changes and will result in overall better IT.

I recently wrote about the nascent developments around intent-based networking (IBN), specifically, that a system can automate the provisioning of a network based on a very high-level state of what the result should look like. It’s a laudable goal and, I think, still a few years and a few iterations away from reality, but getting there – even any widespread adoption of automation and orchestration – starts with your company’s unwavering commitment to IBN and automation. Read more of this post

Intent-Based Networking: Nascent but Hurdles Remain

M. Fratto

• Intent-based networking (IBN) promises to optimize network operations by shifting IT from a configuration focus to an outcome focus.

• The promise may be a stretch today but IBN is evolving as a technology and a practice and improvements will come from early adopters.

IBN faces significant technical and operational challenges in gaining market acceptance within enterprise IT. The challenges start with defining and understanding what IBN is, but then quickly progresses to include things such as organizational and technical implementation.
Read more of this post

Nokia AP Analyst Summit: Going Beyond Infrastructure and Getting Closer to the Enterprise

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Entering the enterprise services market, Nokia has defined its market position and target segments, but its direction is still unclear, especially with its multiple sub-brands.
  • Nokia’s brand visibility is still low in Asia. Solid strategies are required to win the market, especially with greenfield accounts.

At Nokia Asia-Pacific (AP) Analyst Day in Hanoi, Vietnam last week, Nokia shared its AP business updates and plans, covering topics from hardware to software, products to services and carriers to other enterprises. As one of the pioneers in digital communication technology, Nokia’s capabilities in providing network infrastructures to carriers do not need any introduction. Nokia is rated as a ‘leader’ in GlobalData’s product assessments for small-cell, GPON and next-gen edge solutions, just to name a few. However, Nokia may not be the brand you would think when it comes to the enterprise services market. While it has several enterprise offerings through its sub-brands or previously acquired brands, its overall direction in this market is still not very clear. One of the key topics discussed at the event was Nokia’s initiative to streamline its strategy, portfolio, position and target segment in the enterprise services market. While the AP market is promising, it is also highly challenging. Can Nokia win and survive in the enterprise market? Will it have a clearly defined value proposition and potentially be able to compete against its traditional channel partners? Read more of this post

SD-WAN Competition Between Resellers and MSPs Will Heat Up

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • New products, technologies, workflows and architectures used by ISPs as well as IT’s growing acceptance of managed services are laying the groundwork for expansion of SD-WAN managed services.
  • Competition in the SD-WAN segment will increase as existing MSPs and resellers with MSP offerings enter the market.

SD-WAN is disrupting more than WAN services. It’s also the catalyst for the launch of a new round of managed services, which will have a significant impact on the SD-WAN competitive landscape. The clearly defined choice of how enterprises acquire products – via the channel versus managed services providers – is collapsing as MSPs launch new services based on the very same products being sold through the channel. It’s the rare case where a trend that’s great for buyers because of the flexibility it offers is also great for equipment vendors as they can sell more products, but there is a chance for hidden conflicts in the sales cycle. Read more of this post

The Competitive Impact of Cisco’s Acquisition of Viptela Is Yet to Come

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco intends to acquire Viptela for $610 million (USD), but it’s one more SD-WAN product in a sea of products.
  • The competitive impact will take a year or more to be realized, and will largely be determined based on Cisco’s integration strategy.

Cisco Systems intends to acquire Viptela for $610 million. That’s a pretty good chunk of change for a company that already has two SD-WAN products, IWAN on the ISR routers and Meraki’s SD-WAN. Until the deal closes, Cisco and Viptela will be pretty quiet about future plans, but since Viptela will be added to Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group, it is safe to say it will augment Cisco’s networking portfolio and at least, for a while, be offered alongside IWAN. Read more of this post

SDN Offers Hidden Benefits That Enterprises Shouldn’t Overlook

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Core network enhancements can benefit enterprises from a network performance and service cost point of view.

• Flexible bandwidth services and pricing models are maturing and are worth a second look.

In 2015 and early 2016, SDN was the buzzword du jour of the telecoms industry, but the attention has now shifted to SD-WAN. Perhaps this is inevitable since SD-WAN is the newer technology and is at the forefront of several recent or upcoming service launches from providers such as Telstra, Orange Business Services, and BT, amongst others. SD-WAN also seems to offer more tangible benefits to the average enterprise customer, particularly those with a large number of smaller sites, or those seeking to adopt virtualised network functions such as firewalls and session boarder controllers. Read more of this post

Safe Enough for Government Work? Bringing in the Internet as Part of UK Hybrid Networks

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

• The UK Government Digital Services (GDS) statements about moving to the Internet may be over ambitious, but they are not wholly wrong.

• SD-WAN is making the Internet a more viable and better-performing WAN alternative.

Internet connectivity has been an accepted part of hybrid WAN infrastructure for a while, but traditionally this has focussed on remote/home workers and small branch offices or retail stores. However, the public Internet is becoming a more mainstream connectivity medium. A big indicator of this shift is the UK GDS announcing that it intends to kill off the Public Services Network (PSN) ‘network of networks’ programme in favour of public Internet services. GDS has been lukewarm on PSN for a while now so the announcement is not a wholly unexpected shock. However, the seemingly open-armed embrace of Internet connectivity is more surprising, particularly for a public sector body where the data held is both sensitive and politically charged. Is this announcement a watershed moment or an overly ambitious/foolhardy move? Read more of this post

SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide: A Summary of Potential Technical Benefits

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN complements dedicated IP/MPLS VPNs; it’s a case of different horses for different courses, with certain parts of the IT estate benefiting from both technologies.
  • SD-WAN services offer rapid turn-up for multiple branch sites where typically there might not be an IT technician on site.
  • SD-WAN solutions can be crafted to give cost-effective and agile support for leveraging IaaS environments, and will typically support traffic optimization and robust security.

Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) services received enormous marketing attention during 2016, as various providers and operators sought to gain mindshare among their potential customer bases. As we proceed through early 2017, it is now clear that SD-WAN services can be sourced from a wide variety of company types including telcos, platform developers, hardware manufacturers, cloud providers and software developers. For the average IT manager, this has made the market landscape difficult to understand and navigate to find a solution. Read more of this post

Customer Tracking Using WiFi and Beacons Should Be Dead in Retail

M. Fratto

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi and Bluetooth beacons are inconsistent trackers that can tell retailers little more than ‘some device was somewhere in this vicinity for a period of time.’
  • Beacons and RFID on products open up more opportunities for many benefits, including increasing customer touch and understanding their shopping habits.

The National Retail Federation’s 2017 Big Show in New York was a cornucopia of everything retail, from smart displays to supply chain management to social media analytics. One overall theme I kept hearing was how retailers want to enhance the shopping experience with customers and ultimately sell more products. Online retailer sites like Amazon and Best Buy can gather a wealth of information about user behavior and feed that data back into their analytics to track product performance and make recommendations to customers based on past behavior and the behaviors of similar customers. Brick-and-mortar stores don’t have that advantage and are desperately trying to learn more about the buyer and increase sales. Read more of this post

I Run Applications, You’re Measuring Packets: It’s Time to Revisit Those Network SLAs

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn – Service Director, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprises are increasingly focused on, and making decisions around, applications performance. WAN providers’ stock SLAs are still mired in the language of packets and frames.
  • Network partners already aren’t top of mind for enterprises’ applications performance discussions despite their key role in applications delivery.

Through our regularly conducted global ICT surveys here at Current Analysis, we caught one of the most recent purchasing trend shifts early on: enterprise lines of business are increasing their purchasing influence, even influencing networking-related decisions. More accurately, our surveys have been validating a power shift that we’d already been experiencing in our enterprise inquiries. Read more of this post