Where New-Gen Networking Is Going in 2014: 10 Predictions

1 - Where New-Gen Networking Is Going in 2014: 10 Predictions
2 - SDN Will Go Mainstream Globally
3 - Calls From the Sky-High Metal Tube?
4 - IPTV Forces Innovation
5 - Mobile Data Reaches a New Echelon
6 - Enterprises Will Fully Integrate Their Networks Into Cloud Workflows
7 - Carriers Virtualize
8 - Mobile Malware Continues to Feast
9 - More Popular Trusted Websites Will Host Malware
10 - Active Defense Will Gain Acceptance
11 - Networks Become More Sophisticated With Built-In Intelligence
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Where New-Gen Networking Is Going in 2014: 10 Predictions

by Chris Preimesberger

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SDN Will Go Mainstream Globally

SDN is already being implemented by Web 2.0 companies such as Google and Facebook. Other global companies undoubtedly will follow suit. As disruptive industry trends such as mobility, cloud, social business and big data/analytics initiatives continue to stretch IT budgets, SDN will drive toward the mainstream in 2014 with its ability to reduce operation expenses and scale network resources. It will become essential for companies to adopt solutions that bridge the physical and virtual, encouraging SDN to flourish while protecting existing hardware investments.

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Calls From the Sky-High Metal Tube?

Forget for a second about whether or not you could tolerate someone chatting on their phone at 35,000 feet with no escape. From where we stand, there's a fascinating technical challenge involving much more than a flip of the switch. Mobile networks are not currently designed for moving base stations, and so service delivery is challenging at the moment. Expect to see carriers this coming year heavily invest in beefing up an infrastructure capable of maintaining data service seamlessly—even in clouds.

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IPTV Forces Innovation

Content is king, so traditional cable hookups with live sports may be here to stay for a while—and subscriber numbers show it—but video providers such as Netflix and Hulu are increasingly providing people with a reason to cut the cord. 2014 is the year we see Internet-based television broadcast become a reality for many more viewers, forcing traditional cable players to innovate and provide similar flexibility to keep up. Look no further than incoming FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's initiative to transition all networks to IP-based in the near future.

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Mobile Data Reaches a New Echelon

Faster speeds equal more data consumption in networks. LTE networks have put unprecedented power in the palms of consumers, and it's going to continue to grow. By the end of 2014, we will see mobile device activity comprising a third of all Internet traffic. Expect to also see service providers boost the seamlessness of the WiFi offload process to relieve stress on their mobile networks. No more manually logging in; it'll just work.

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Enterprises Will Fully Integrate Their Networks Into Cloud Workflows

Cloud computing will become even more fundamental to business strategy, and IT leaders will need to rethink the role of the network to deliver on the promise of cloud. Enterprise data centers typically operate in silos and lack integration between compute, storage and networking. Deployment and orchestration systems such as OpenStack and CloudStack will improve to fully integrate the network into the cloud workflow, making business more operationally efficient and easier to quickly meet changing demands.

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Carriers Virtualize

Speaking of virtualization, we know SDN has made its way through the hype cycle—mostly in the data center and enterprise environments. But service providers are also eyeing the abstraction of physical resources for more flexibility, faster service spin-up and ultimately easier management. Some carriers already have announced their intent to demand more software solutions from suppliers. So in 2014, expect to see the term "network functions virtualization" thrown around in more than just a theoretical capacity. Carriers actually will start implementing such measures.

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Mobile Malware Continues to Feast

Mobile malware has snacked on consumer devices for years, but 2014 will see the floodgates open, especially as more ubiquitous LTE networks unearth unique security threats. The result will be an even more tilted mobile ecosystem in which Google's Android consolidates its position as the most popular mobile operating system; it will become the primary target of attack for malicious actors interested in compromising mobile devices.

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More Popular Trusted Websites Will Host Malware

Driven by the diligent blacklisting efforts of Google of illegitimate Websites hosting malware, attackers will use techniques such as cross-site scripting to place malware on legitimate sites. As attackers increasingly see their own channels blacklisted by Google and find it much harder to rely on sites dedicated to hosting malware for distribution, only those leveraging an extreme degree of specificity and evasion will have success in the long run. Everyone else will fail miserably.

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Active Defense Will Gain Acceptance

Active attackers, and the threats they pose, take advantage of a fundamental asymmetry created by the passive nature of traditional security defenses. In response, more companies will adopt active defense techniques, such as intrusion deception, to dynamically identify attackers and take real-time action to disrupt and frustrate their efforts. While ethical and legal debates about the proper rules of engagement for companies will continue, acceptance of many active defense techniques is likely to grow.

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Networks Become More Sophisticated With Built-In Intelligence

Built-in network intelligence and analytics will continue to become more sophisticated and automated. Organizations will have the ability to proactively monitor network traffic on all ports and detect micro-bursts of traffic that will allow data center network administrators to identify potential network hotspots. As a result, organizations will be able to adapt to the changing needs of their networks, and workloads can be redistributed for improved application delivery.

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