Chapter 1

Networking challenges in a digital world

Networking challenges in a digital world

We are in the age of digital disruption — where speed, quality and agility mean everything to businesses. 40% of CEOs rank digital transformation as their top imperative, according to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey. Estimates are that in 2018 alone, spending on the software, hardware and services that will enable digital transformation will reach nearly $1.3 trillion. And in just three years, or 2021, IDC expects that digital transformation spending will reach nearly $2.1 trillion.

Yet today’s networking often still resembles traditional networking from 20 years ago. These legacy networking solutions that were designed to solve the challenges of the 90’s, are proprietary, archaic, inflexible and expensive. They are fundamentally not able to keep up with the new technologies and applications needed to deliver innovative services. It can be argued that working with traditional networking tools — those that are hard to deploy and manage, and difficult to upgrade or adapt — is the largest impediment to achieving digital transformation. In fact, Gartner stated, “the top networking challenge our clients face is improving agility why is this the case? ... established networking vendors have not led their customers towards operational innovation.”

Today’s network must deliver richer application experiences to customers and rapidly connect an ever-increasing number of diverse devices, systems and sensors. Technologies like server virtualization, IoT, big data, mobile, cloud, OpenStack and containers are the new trends that are transforming the ways organizations bring innovative solutions to the market in order to compete and build brand loyalty.

The vitality of the network is of the utmost importance to support the applications that we haven’t even dreamed of yet. Without a fast, agile network, digital transformation becomes impossible.

A 2017 global survey of over 1,000 IT decision makers found that 98% felt that a next-gen network was critical to keep up with the needs of their businesses and end users. Yet, 85% of these same decision makers said they were still several years away from reaching the full potential of digital transformation, mainly due to their legacy infrastructure.

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