The virtual ‘living’ network: the backbone for future businesses


The way in which network services are delivered is going through an unprecedented shift — the biggest shift we’ve seen since the broad adoption of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) back in the early 2000s.

Traditional networks worked well when market demands on enterprises were less dynamic, but businesses today have to be more innovative and agile.

Yesterday’s networks have become increasingly more complex and operationally difficult to manage over time.

Most don’t allow applications to scale as quickly as required which can lead to lengthy and painful deployment cycles.

Additionally, today’s networks need to work harder to keep up with increased bandwidth demands.

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In fact, industry analyst firm IDC predicts digital transformation will drive connectivity levels 50% higher across all industrial sectors in 2016 alone.

Networks now need to transition to a virtualised model by using similar technology that drove the disruption in the data centre market.

It is all about businesses being able to balance agility, performance, cost and security necessitated by the growth of mobile-to-cloud applications and the Internet of Things.

What does this mean in reality?

Virtualised networks deliver on the promise of the software defined network (SDN) world and basically help businesses turn their physical network into an on-demand virtual network.

Instead of having to deploy specialised hardware appliances, they can spin of virtual instances of network services like security and WAN optimisation on demand – providing businesses with the fast-paced agility that their network and services require.

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The virtual services link together in a way that lets them seamlessly work with each other.

In essence the network becomes a living asset that can be changed quickly to address the number of company locations and users, bandwidth required by application, and application use by employee to enable a secure, high performance and efficient network.

These new services can be delivered as-a-service and will fundamentally transform the network into software-based solutions running on open platforms.

This will result in a significant departure from how network services are provisioned and consumed today.

Driving this change is digitisation of business, IP communications, internet video, and mobile to cloud.

New way of thinking

Virtualised networks are ideal for enterprises with; distributed organisations and multiple remote locations; aging networks requiring a hardware refresh; restricted or decreased capital expense budgets and early technology adopters looking for new innovative ways to propel their business.

Technology has been highly disruptive of late – offering new ways to collect data, communicate and increase business outcomes, but not every organisation has been able to adapt its mindset to these changes so quickly.

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The IDC research highlighted that many organisations are struggling with the complexity of technology and the new partner ecosystem, as well as a lack of digital skills.

However this isn’t slowing investment as only 20% say they have no plans to invest in SDN.

IDC suggests organisations face a “potentially perilous” situation if they’re making decisions to invest in new technologies without adequate internal skills or partner support.

Businesses should rest assured that help and advice is out there.

It is necessary to have partners that share their same strategic vision and have the global market experience and technological credentials to understand their industry and infrastructure in order to help support them in using the latest technologies to capture market share; serve customers better and maximise opportunities now and in the future.

Sourced by Tony Judd, MD UKI & Nordics at Verizon

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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