Fundamental Networking Industry Trends to Expect in 2014

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1 Fundamental Networking Industry Trends to Expect in 2014

2 What does 2014 have in store for the networking industry? We asked three top industry analysts to predict the key networking industry trends for this year. Read on to discover what we might see happen in the and the data center, cloud encryption and virtualization security arenas. money and silicon Chuck Moozakis What will the new year bring for data center networks? Fabrics, merchant silicon and a resurgence in investments in fundamental networking components will dominate data center network engineering in 2014, even as enterprises mull the best way to adapt to emerging technologies, such as software-defined networks and. Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at New York-based 451 Research, shared his data center forecast for the next 12 months. Fabrics redux as enterprises are reluctant to abandon spanning tree It's fabrics all over again. Interconnection platforms like Brocade VCS, Cisco FabricPath and Juniper QFabric are nothing new, of course, but as reluctance among enterprises to move away from traditional architectures begins to melt, fabrics are once again becoming front and center, Hanselman said. "We are living in a world today where many enterprise data centers are getting themselves off legacy architecture and are beginning to look at transitions to some level of fabric and interconnect capability," he said. The advent of next-stage hardware, meantime, is offering data centers options that go even beyond fabric. "But because there has been so much hesitation [to abandon legacy systems], it seems like an anachronism, but these are Page 1 of 10

3 steps most enterprise data centers have taken very cautiously. Getting them off spanning tree has been the largest challenge." Contents Hanselman said the shift to the more efficient fabric interconnection may also be fueled by an increase in capital spending for core network components. While a 451 Research study revealed that wireless spending tops the list of IT investments enterprises will make in 2014, Hanselman said wired networking-related spending occupies the next four slots. Enterprises need to make these investments because a significant chunk of legacy equipment is reaching end of life, further accelerating a move to newer network designs. "There has been a hold-off in networking infrastructure spend[ing] and we are seeing that lift. We are now starting to hit the end of depreciation. People have stretched equipment lifecycles. We have gotten to [the] point where there is a lot of gear that is getting a little long in the tooth, so we are now seeing a lot of unlocking for some of these transitions," Hanselman said. At the same time, enterprises want to maintain sufficient Layer 2 density as they move from what has been a fairly integrated environment to one encompassing next-stage architectures like leaf-and-spine. "That [migration] gives enterprises the ability to interconnect better and start making transitions that give them options for better interconnect density and better resilience -- primarily headed toward Layer 2," Hanselman said. These shifts will occur as port costs continue to drop -- another critical consideration, Hanselman said. "That will permit more interconnected architectures --such as [leaf-and-spine fabric] -- to be more attractive." Network virtualization moving ahead, but on a scattered basis Fueled by advances in software-defined networking (SDN), virtual networking will gain traction in 2014, but absent a unified foundation or industry-wide strategy. "There are a lot of pieces beginning to move ahead without any direct interplay with the networking infrastructure on where they are running," Hanselman said. "We are starting to see folks on Page 2 of 10

4 virtualized platforms using tunneling protocols to extend networking, but that is happening on a very disconnected rollout." Contents That said, virtualized network functionality is moving ahead, Hanselman said. In his view, network functions virtualization (NFV) encompasses any functionality that can be recreated in a virtualized instance -- from virtualizing domain name system environments to spinning out virtual firewalls or load balancers. Enterprises will "invest cautiously in NFV," he said. "If you want to move any of this stuff into your operation, it has to be integrated into how they run their business and integrated into the process of all the government, risk management and compliance issues, and that is a fairly complex set of steps to get to a final production implementation." Data center forecast: Leapfrogging over initial SDN? Because many enterprises have choked off their capex in recent years, some organizations may decide 2014 is the year to dive into SDN -- or at least dip a toe into the waters. "There is the potential to step toward functionality like OpenFlow, or [to] move toward some of the more sophisticated overlay capabilities [in order] to take some of the steps to claw back a bit of that network control and create programmable capabilities," Hanselman said. To that end, Hanselman said organizations will take a long look at Cisco and its Application Centric Infrastructure initiative, if for no other reason than they are already Cisco customers. Although the components of ACI won't ship until mid-2014, "because you have a single vendor that so dominates the market, there are decisions to be made about the gear that's deployed, but there is an opportunity on both sides to move forward with new technologies." White-box networking will appeal to small group of potential customers Bare-metal switching will gain more of a toehold, but so-called white-box networking will still only appeal to a select group of customers in "All of Page 3 of 10

5 these potentially attractive avenues will really depend on a networking buyer that is working in an infrastructure that can support it" -- primarily very large enterprises that own the entire hardware lifecycle process, Hanselman said. "The number of midmarket companies, though -- the ones who want to go out and buy directly from the white-box guys -- will remain very small." Then there is the Trident II chip, which Broadcom made widely available to switch vendors late in The silicon, Hanselman said, is ushering in a new crop of more affordable networking gear from established vendors like Dell and Hewlett-Packard Co. The devices, such as Dell's S6000 switch, might compel some midmarket enterprises to forgo the white-box route in favor of switches from legacy vendors. Gina Narcisi With the ac standard -- or "gigabit Wi-Fi" -- approaching ratification, network administrators will need simplified performance management tools that combine both wired and wireless network management in order to help the wireless LAN live up to its potential, an increasingly critical role within businesses. Jim Berenbaum, research director of mobility, wireless and network technologies for Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Research Inc., shared his insight on wireless LAN market milestones in 2013, as well as his vision on what network administrators can expect in ac: Breathing new life into the The soon-to-be-ratified ac standard was on almost every WLAN vendors' mind in 2013, with a slew of new Wave 1 gigabit Wi-Fi access points -- both modular and purpose-built -- introduced to the market from the likes of Aruba, Motorola, Cisco and Xirrus. Page 4 of 10

6 A Wi-Fi network powered by ac gives WLAN technology comparable bandwidth to wired access switches, making Wi-Fi plausible as the default choice for network infrastructure. "The fact that there is a new technology available with increased performance capabilities is allowing WLANs to better position [themselves] as replacements for wired networks moving forward," Berenbaum said. The education segment has led the way for ac deployments so far, but while adoption wasn't widespread in 2013, the standard's ratification -- slated for the beginning of should help increase interest and growth among other industries, Berenbaum said. "One of the nice things about [802].11ac is it's a bit ahead of the demand curve, as [802.11n] is still meeting the needs of many organizations," he said. "But organizations are becoming aware that the rest of their network infrastructure -- like the wired LAN and enterprise WANs -- need to also expand to take advantage of the capabilities that.11ac has to offer." While Wave 1-enabled ac products are already on the market, Wave 2 -- a system of additional capabilities, like multi-user MIMO for ac -- won't be a big factor in 2014 for enterprises. "Wave 2 will require new chips, not just a software upgrade," he said. "These products probably won't be available until the end of the year, so they won't have a market impact in 2014." HotSpot 2.0, small cell networks could influence the 2014 HotSpot 2.0, a standard for public Wi-Fi access developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Association, could be a game-changer for the by allowing users to roam between Wi-Fi networks, as well as between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, without the need to reauthenticate. Some businesses have begun investing in Hotspot 2.0 to address mobile user needs, but it's still yet to been seen how the standard will play out within enterprise environments, Berenbaum said. "The value of Hotspot 2.0 is much clearer for a carrier-based Wi-Fi environment than it is Page 5 of 10

7 for enterprise environments right now, but there is potential for the standard to be realistically deployed within enterprises." Contents Enterprise small cell technology for cellular services has also been slow to gain traction within the enterprise, but has potential to blossom in the coming year. Small cells can serve as another mechanism for enabling cellular connectivity into enterprise facilities, but there are still some technology hurdles related to multi-carrier support that need to be worked out, Berenbaum said. Will wireless trump wired networks in 2014? With WLANs graduating from a "nice feature to have," to a critical business network, enterprises will be asking for tools that increase ease of management for combined wired/wireless networks, and overall performance across their entire environment, Berenbaum said. As users bring in more new devices without Ethernet ports -- like some laptops and all tablets -- the pressure is on for IT to ensure their Wi-Fi network is up for the challenge. "Interest and expansion for the all-wireless enterprise is on the rise, but it's not going to increase tremendously fast this year; it's still going to be more common to mix wired and wireless because the wires are already there in most cases," he said. in focus for the New Shamus McGillicuddy he breach of 40 million credit card records disclosed by retail giant Target has reminded us that the battle to secure data will never be over. It is a war without end. Page 6 of 10

8 And it's not just the "bad guys" who challenge network security professionals. Edward Snowden's revelations about widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) has taught companies that criminal hackers and hacktivists aren't the only threats to their data. With the New upon us, SearchNetworking asked John Kindervag, principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, to predict what network security professionals will be facing in Universal cloud encryption is essential The surveillance controversy surrounding the NSA has many enterprises worried about their data, especially data they send to the cloud, Kindervag said. Cloud encryption will be a priority. "People want to encrypt a lot more stuff than they ever did before, and a lot of that [desire to encrypt] is for data going to the cloud," he said. To that end, the network security industry will need to deliver technology that helps enterprises encrypt that data. "[Cloud encryption gateways] are essentially a new product category," he said. "They are just a gateway that allows you to encrypt data before it goes to the cloud." Kindervag said his clients at Forrester are typically conservative. They mostly invest in mature technologies. But in the case of cloud encryption gateways, a market that is mostly dominated by startups, conservative enterprises are buying in early. Kindervag said larger network security vendors will probably try to acquire companies in this market in "Microsoft announced they were going to adopt more encryption. Every vendor is adopting more encryption," he said. Enterprises are also worried that their WAN links are vulnerable to government snooping, Kindervag said. As a result, some enterprises will start encrypting data crossing their MPLS networks. "More people will build their Page 7 of 10

9 own WANs by using IPsec site-to-site tunneling on the public Internet. Oftentimes, they won't have an SLA [service-level agreement] from these services, but they are much more simple to build than they ever were." Legacy firewalls and intrusion prevention become dinosaurs Stateful firewalls and intrusion prevention appliances will become less and less relevant in 2014, Kindervag said. In fact, their markets will "dry up." Next- generation firewalls, which have been booming for a few years, will be the undisputed mainstream network security platform next year, especially since wider adoption will lead to lower prices. "Standalone [stateful] firewalls and intrusion prevention will be limited to specialized use cases," he said. "There won't be any reason to not use a next- generation firewall for most companies because it won't be any more expensive to have a next-generation firewall. [Improved] performance and manageability of next-generation firewalls will continue driving that." Network virtualization a boon and an obligation for network security Virtual network infrastructure security will be a major focus for enterprises in 2014 as IT organizations install such products as VMware NSX and Juniper Contrail in their data centers. Kindervag said has the potential to positively affect network security because automated and orchestrated software configuration will replace manual hardware configuration, thus removing human error and bottlenecks from security updates. "It will be incumbent upon security vendors to establish partnerships with virtual network players, as well as software-defined networking players," he said. "I see a huge demand from my customer base for virtual networking." Some network security vendors are already aligning themselves with network virtualization platforms. Palo Alto Networks, for example, has integrated its next-generation firewall into VMware NSX. McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro and Rapid7 have also partnered with VMware NSX. Page 8 of 10

10 Free resources for technology professionals TechTarget publishes targeted technology media that address your need for information and resources for researching products, developing strategy and making cost-effective purchase decisions. Our network of technology-specific Web sites gives you access to industry experts, independent content and analysis and the Web s largest library of vendor-provided white papers, webcasts, podcasts, videos, virtual trade shows, research reports and more drawing on the rich R&D resources of technology providers to address market trends, challenges and solutions. Our live events and virtual seminars give you access to vendor neutral, expert commentary and advice on the issues and challenges you face daily. Our social community IT Knowledge Exchange allows you to share real world information in real time with peers and experts. What makes TechTarget unique? TechTarget is squarely focused on the enterprise IT space. Our team of editors and network of industry experts provide the richest, most relevant content to IT professionals and management. We leverage the immediacy of the Web, the networking and face-to-face opportunities of events and virtual events, and the ability to interact with peers all to create compelling and actionable information for enterprise IT professionals across all industries and markets. Related TechTarget Websites Page 9 of 10

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