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Networking's generational divide

by Trusted Contributor on ‎08-16-2017 09:01 AM

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Typically when we talk about a generational divide, we are talking about an age gap in our workers. In an IT context, we might imagine differences in the way that millennials and their predecessors interact with the devices for which they are responsible. 
 
But while there is indeed a generational divide that is beginning to take firm root in IT, it is the companies more than the workers that are driving changes.
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FCC suggests mobile connectivity might be substitute for home broadband

by Trusted Contributor ‎08-13-2017 08:31 PM - edited ‎08-13-2017 08:33 PM

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Somewhat lost in the middle of a pretty newsworthy couple of weeks is some technology news that people really ought to be paying attention to. Last week, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry as part of a regular assessment of broadband penetration in the US. In the notice, the FCC led by Ajit Pai asked for public comments on, among other things, whether mobile broadband is a suitable replacement for fixed Internet connectivity.
 
While no policy has changed as of yet, lowering the bar on US broadband standards would surely slow adoption at a time when the Internet is increasingly important and the US, despite its economic and technological advantages, sits at a disappointing 20th in the world in terms of average connection speeds. 
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The lingua franca for IT is acronyms. On the networking side, we speak primarily in protocols, abbreviations, and certifications. Our vocabulary is already full, but we seem to add more to it every year. And the rate of change only feels like it is accelerating.
 
With each new technology, we envision a more capable network. But what if the real area that needs improving is not the network but rather networking?
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Networking's next era: Age of Removal

by Trusted Contributor on ‎07-31-2017 03:49 PM

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From a purist’s point of view, networking has been around since the 60s. But the real heyday of networking started with the Internet boom. And for the better part of the two decades that followed, networking went through a growth spurt that we will likely never see again. New protocols, new transport mediums, new features, new management tools. Through the middle of the 2000s, networking was in the Age of Addition as we incrementally built up what we have come to know as networking today.
 
But the Age of Addition is over. We are entering the next networking era: the Age of Removal. 
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From private to hybrid to multi-cloud

by Trusted Contributor on ‎07-26-2017 10:57 AM

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As enterprises plot out their cloud strategies, it’s perhaps less about the final architecture and more about the migration strategy. Companies that started their cloud journey years ago might have private cloud initiatives. Those that are less certain about either their ability to build their own or dump their legacy stuff talk more about hybrid.
 
But the future for most large companies is probably best described as multi-cloud. 
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It’s pretty in fashion these days to talk about datacenter innovation. After all, it’s where the cloud folks are. It’s where a lot of the security focus is. DevOps? Yeah, that’s mostly a datacenter thing in most peoples’ eyes. Microsegmentation? Datacenter. White box? You guessed it—datacenter.
 
But I think that access is shaping up to be a potentially more interesting part of the network over the next 5 years. Why?
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A quick survey of the top technology trends in networking would certainly include things like DevOps, SDN, NFV, overlays (microsegmentation), and now intent-based networking. Each of these has arrived on networking’s main stage to much fanfare about the transformational changes they promise.
 
But have you hugged your midsize enterprise network engineer today? If not, go find her and ask her how much time she has spent today working on these technologies. 
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There has been a lot of news in the past two weeks about intent-based management. Though the trend certainly predates Cisco's entry into the space, whenever the industry leader coopts a term, the technology gets a whole lot more attention. 
 
Coming out of the news, I had an interesting exchange with analyst John Fruehe from Moor Insights and Strategy. He wrote: Actually, #IntentBased will bring an interesting opportunity for “intent-based architects” but none of these exists today. 
 
It’s an interesting concept, and it gets to the idea of who ultimately architects the intent in an intent-based management model.
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There is probably no greater lie in networking at the moment than the blanket statement that disaggregation leads to commoditization. That’s not to say that there is not going to be persistent pricing pressure in networking (spoiler alert: there will be). But it misses the real dynamic, and because of that, the common refrain can lead to uninformed decision-making. 
 
So does disaggregation lead to commoditization? What actually drives pricing? What the heck is really going on here? 
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Network management has been the problem child of networking for decades. The whole notion of managing a heterogeneous set of devices and software from a single tool was going to be difficult at best. The companies that tried to rise to the challenge quickly learned that staying current with other vendor commands and configuration was nigh impossible, never mind the fact that no vendor wants to cede control to someone else.
 
The industry basically decided that we would collectively pursue more open solutions. But while we all debated what the open solution would like, it seems the rest of the world went and changed the user interface on us. 
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