Posts Tagged ‘Broadband WAN’

The year 2015 is almost in the books. That means it’s time to say, “I can’t believe the year is almost over,” and time for many of us in the industry to make some bold predictions as to what we think the future holds. I had intended to write a post with some standalone thoughts on what the coming year will bring, but then I read the recent piece by David Hughes filled with 2016 networking predictions and thought I would weigh in on his prognostications instead.

A few weeks ago I presented on the state of Software-Defined Networks (SDN) at this years Open Networking User Group (ONUG) conference. During the section on SD-WAN I made a comment that I thought that hybrid WAN was an unnecessary step on the journey towards a broadband WAN. It appears I touched a nerve on that topic — the minute I stepped off the podium I was inundated with people asking to me to explain myself further — so I thought I would give more details.

One of the quotes that Albert Einstein is credited with is: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that is indeed how insanity is defined then there is no part of IT that is more insane than the corporate WAN. I’ll explain why I say that below.

I moderated a workshop on the topic of software defined WANs (SD-WAN) last month and I’m continually baffled that the focus of software-defined networking remains on the hardware for so many individuals. This is clearly a hangover from the early days of SDN when many of the start ups were hammering home the point that hardware is expensive and businesses should move to a software-defined model and cut capital costs.

The Hills was a popular MTV-produced “reality” TV show that created pop culture icons such as Lauren Conrad, Brody Jenner (son of Caitlyn) and one my favorites, Kristin Cavallari. The theme song from the show was called “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield which contains the lyrics “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten”. The song is fitting for the show as it features younger people at a crossroads in their life trying to find their way; however, I think the song is also apropos for networking engineers, as the industry sits at a crossroads today. The old is going away, the new is coming in, and network engineers need to think about what to do next with their careers.

Evolving the network to a next-generation architecture is all the rage now. A digital business needs an agile, dynamic network to use as a foundation for innovation, so the network must now evolve. This is one of the reasons my fellow analysts and I are pushing the concepts of SDN, broadband WAN, and Network Functions Virtualization so hard – not evolving the network will start to cause companies to miss out on business opportunities.



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