Most enterprises by now have invested in modern network capabilities. It is a foregone conclusion that networking is at the heart of digital transformation and a network that cannot think for itself to some degree will be the chief barrier to everything from product and market development to customer engagement and strategic planning.
Constant efforts are being made to improve existing modes of network management, leading to more agile, user-friendly data environments. Intelligent automation, and machine learning are very much on the cards for most. Networking challenges are likely to mount as technology enters production environments and emerging IoT environments, and applications that rely on trusted data sets will incorporate blockchain before long rather than stick with more restrictive and costly proprietary solutions. IBN-Internet based networking is the latest truly big thing. It is the ongoing transition from hardware-centric to software-driven networking, which provides the underlying construct to define network architectures according to how they need to be used rather than what the technology allows. Users spell out what they want, and the network operating system creates it, using the available pool of physical and virtual resources.
IDC expects that by end-2017 about 70 percent of enterprise customers will have evaluated or deployed SD-WAN, and 40 percent of these plan to implement integrated SD-WAN solutions obtained from communications service providers. Using NFV, carriers can consolidate the devices/services and shift revenue from hardware to software – and keep a larger percentage of the end-to-end service profits. SD-WAN provides the connectivity glue that transports customer traffic from individual sites to intermediate NFV service end-points before it reaches its final destination. Ultimately, the biggest advantage that SD-WAN provides carriers is end-to-end control over services to the customer premises.
The CSPs can work toward completing the digital transformation by deriving analytics from the vast amounts of data they hold, aggregating the analytics to provide valuable insights, and then consolidating IT and communication platforms to build an ICT infrastructure. And leading vendors, including Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE; and network specialists are assisting them with service agility and analytics, which ultimately can help CSPs become DSPs and provide the services that their customers are demanding.