Bold Predictions from the Gartner Data Center Conference

by Sorell Slaymaker

By 2020, 30% of your strategic network suppliers will change.   Your current incremental network strategy will not meet the future needs of your enterprise in the area of digital business.   This plus the other predictions from Gartner show that lots of change is occurring in the network industry.  Incumbent networking vendors such as Cisco should be worried as enterprises were talking publically on how they are moving to cloud or SD-WAN start-ups for their networking needs.

Other predictions in the network market from GDC16 include:

  1. Intent based networking is coming – Today, 85% of network changes are made manually through a command line interface. This is crazy!  In the future, networks will get enough intelligence that they will be able to self-configure and continually tune themselves to optimize application performance and costs.  So, by 2020, only 30% of network changes will be CLI based.  CCIE’s will need to up their skill set to include DevOps tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible.
  2. Opensource will drive network innovation – Opensource has transformed most other areas of IT, and it is finally coming to networking. OpenStack, OpenSwitch, OpenDaylight are examples.  Opensource also gives new networking startups a base foundation which they can then innovate on top of to add value.
  3. SD-WAN is hot – By 2018, more than 40% of WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will be based on vCPE or SD-WAN, up from less than 2% today. 2,000 enterprises across 50,000 sitess have deployed SD-WAN, but no one vendor is dominiating the market.  Cisco’s Meraki is their primary deployed solution and Cisco’s flagship IWAN is lagging due to costs and complexity.  Zero touch deployments are important.
  4. Containers are the new way to host apps – By 2018, more than 50% of new workloads will be deployed into containers. Me, I am still learning what a container is, and how its networking requirements will differ from virtualized servers.  I also do not understand how containers will impact the hosting of real-time voice/video applications.  But, according to this prediction, I need to learn.Containers and VMs
  5. 30B IoT Devices by 2020, up from an earlier forecast of 20B – But no one single IoT solution – Through 2020, 75% of midsize to large organizations will employ three or more Internet of Things (IoT) point solutions.
  6. Business change starts with culture – By 2018, 90% of IT organizations attempting to use DevOps without specifically addressing their cultural foundations will fail. This holds true in networking as well.  Network leaders are very conservative in their decision making and not agile.  Incumbent vendors feed on the fear, uncertainty and doubt of hyper converged infrastructure that is all software.  The number one reason the cloud is succeeding is enablement of agility or speed of change.