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Looking ahead to the future IT networking landscape

(Image credit: Image Credit: Ra2Studio / Shutterstock)

Networking solutions are a critical requirement of every business’ IT department. Network technology has the ability to connect a breadth of technologies, including: computer networking, software, communications and hardware devices on a network. As businesses continue to digitise, move IT infrastructure to the cloud, and invest in emerging technologies, there is huge pressure to build professional network infrastructures that can sustain and support digital business models, at a cost-effective rate.

We can expect to see the IT networking landscape continue to develop and adapt to keep up with business and market demands. Understanding these trends can help businesses stay competitive and relevant in today’s business world. This will allow the company to better prepare themselves for the increasing expectations that are assigned to the network, get the most out of its current technologies and make the right technological investments moving forward.

Surge in multi-cloud adoption

When selecting where to run its networking infrastructure, security, flexibility and cost are of the utmost importance to businesses. Driven by company’s dispersed needs, there is not one cloud vendor that can or does provide a total end-to-end network solution suitable for all. This has led many businesses to consider multi-cloud environments. Multi-cloud architecture allows businesses to distribute its workloads across multiple cloud environments, offering higher return on investment while mitigating risks associated with individual cloud environments.

As the adoption of multi-cloud systems increases, hybrid networking solutions will be needed to monitor them to ensure their cloud applications are compatible across different platforms. These developments promise to eliminate some of the problems associated with this type of infrastructure while maintaining its advantages. This means multi-cloud environments have the potential to become the best of both worlds: giving companies the mobility and flexibility of cloud-based solutions, whilst also allowing the development of bespoke, business-specific software.

Dongle servers protecting virtual environments

A single security solution is no longer sufficient for virtual environments. Today, businesses should consider a multi-layered approach, as it can provide the protection needed against increasingly sophisticated security threats. This approach means deploying many different levels of security to protect data and intellectual property, working across multiple technologies and applications. By working together, these security layers provide a better chance to prevent security breaches to the virtual network compared to just a single security solution.

As part of this multi-layered approach, dongle servers are becoming increasingly popular. Dongle servers are a virtual cable extension via the network, with safe and simple dongle management, plus maximum network availability through two network connections. This encrypts a point-to-point connection between the user and the dongle server, meaning the potential for unauthorised access to the virtual environment is removed. Dongle servers can also be easily scaled up for new business capabilities or as security requirements change.

Improving networking automation with machine learning

Many businesses are looking to automate mundane network operations and we can expect to see an increase in the availability of machine learning driven analytic tools. These tools are great at learning what normal network behaviour looks like and highlighting anomalies relative to it. This awareness enhances the utility of machine learning in networking in relation to: performance management, health management and security.

Machine learning tools help with ongoing traffic management and with longer-range capacity planning and management, in addition to spotting when a network component is in the initial stages of failure and predicting when those initial stages will appear. It will also assist businesses in spotting anomalies in network behaviour to help cybersecurity teams reduce security breaches.

Continued SD-WAN infrastructure growth

Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) use software to control the connectivity, management and services between data centres and cloud environments. It is one of the fastest-growing segments of the professional network infrastructure market for a variety of important factors. Firstly, traditional business networks are increasingly not meeting the evolving needs of today's modern digital businesses. Secondly, businesses are becoming increasingly interested in easier management of multiple connection types across its network to improve application performance and end-user experience. 

SD-WAN solutions are expected to best address enterprise requirements for the next five years, as they provide a mix of performance, price and flexibility compared to alternative hardware-centric approaches. With its advanced features making it an attractive choice for customers, the market has also established a number of choices with multiple vendors competing in the market.

It is set to be an exciting period for the IT networking landscape, with big changes ahead in the realm of network automation, multi-cloud environments, dongle server adoption for virtual environments and SD-WAN infrastructures. To remain truly competitive in today’s digital landscape, businesses must be able to respond to these changes happening around them. If organisations resist evolving with continuous changes, they will soon find themselves left behind while the savvy competitors who learnt to keep pace will reap the rewards.

Alan Hayward, Marketing and Sales Manager, SEH Technology UK & Ireland (opens in new tab)

Alan Hayward is Sales and Marketing Manager at SEH Technology UK and has been with the company for 19 years. In this role, Alan’s responsibilities include overseeing all sales and marketing activity in the UK, as well as collaborating with clients including resellers and distributors.