Top 5 network related things I'm most excited about in 2015
Dec 29, 2014
Below is a list of the 5 network things I am looking forward to in 2015 (in no particular order).
Analytics – Now this term has been around for a while but I think it will start to see some traction. People are seeing the real value in storing lots of information to be able to analyse and make business decisions based on this. From an ISP view we have had this type of information for a while (think netflow information to decide who to peer with). It’s only now we are realising what we can do with it and with Network Engineers looking to learn a programming language to keep ahead of the curve re SDN/NFV then we can write our own programs to extrapolate the information we require rather than looking at off the shelf programs or asking your developers to do it for you.
White box switching – With the recent announcement that Juniper has launched a switch based on hardware from the Open Compute Project and companies like Cumulus and Big Switch contributing to Open Network Linux and Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) we are starting to see the decoupling of the vendor software from the hardware they sell. This move I think has been prompted by the adoption of x86 architecture within the switch and router space from several vendors.
Automation - With the rise of SDN/NFV and the DevOps ‘movement’, Network Engineers like myself are looking at automation tools like Ansible, Puppet and Chef to automate the day-to-day tasks of their job, from router turn up’s to network changes. The more we can automate this the less chance there is of fat fingering and the ability to produce standardised, repeatable work will give us less headaches in the long run. Thankfully having a mainly Juniper Network I can leverage the likes of Junos PyEZ and Netconf to help achieve this.
GPON – The UK has woken up to the fibre revolution with the likes of BT providing FTTC/FTTP. Working with Fluency has shown me that business customers are now regularly asking for higher capacity access circuits to protect their future bandwidth requirements. This requires business ISP’s like ourselves to look at higher density access stacks like GPON. GPON or Gigabit Passive Optical Network is a point-to-multipoint access technology allowing the use of passive splitters that allow a single feed from an exchange or datacenter to serve multiple business premises. Having this type of technology should hopefully drive the growth of Gigabit access services while keeping the costs at a reasonable level.
City Wide Free Wi-Fi – If you are one of the lucky ones to already have this then I will try not to let any loathing and resentment spill out 🙂 In the UK there is no coherent strategy to deliver Wi-Fi enabled cities on a national scale so each individual city is looking to implement it in their own way. Fingers crossed it will be done in a way that I only need to authenticate once when in the city and not every few hundred metres when I switch onto a new AP!