Key to creating networks that can enable such productivity improvements is taking an architectural approach to building them, rather than focusing on point products that require significant integration effort. "Point products over time give you less and less value," he said. In thinking about security, wireless, voice over IP, infrastructure, storage and the data center, whats key to guiding the architectural direction of a network are systems, changing processes, applications and value-added services.The network too will have to handle the vast majority of security issues, and then report on the events after the fact. "It has to be an integrated, combination architecture based on standards," Chambers said. IP telephony too will play a part in future network architectures. Adoption of it is now a question of when, not if. Its important to think about it in terms of open standards and productivity. Cisco, he said, recently shipped its 3 millionth IP phone, and it has 14,000 IP telephony customers worldwide. Want to find out if IP telephony is right for your company? Take this Baseline quiz. Chambers also envisions wireless as a seamless extension of wired networks based on a common architectural approach as well as the virtualization of storage as it moves from storage area networks to more of a front-end switch to storage resources in the data center. But moving to architectures that can accommodate that will require partnering with technology providers, and ITs ability to understand "how to strategically partner will determine who wins and loses," he said. Cisco in its own implementations of new technologies and process changes learned that productivity payback comes not just within the first year or two, but even more so within the first six years. "But if you dont change process at the same time you put in applications, you dont get the payback as fast," Chambers said. Cisco for its part saw a $2.1 billion gain from the implementation of seven major applications, he said. "The takeaway message is that if you dont change the underlying business process, you wont get the leverage out of new technology implementations," he concluded. Check out eWEEK.coms Server and Networking Center at http://servers.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
In looking at the future evolution of networks, there are three guiding principles, including Moores Lawdoubling price/performance every 18 monthsbuilding smarter networks that combine services such as security and quality of service in a way that is transparent, and making it lasting. "You need a common network management system where most issues are handled by the network without human intervention."