Mobility is changing everything—the network and the future of computing. The way we used to think about devices is they were essentially sitting next to an Ethernet port plugged in and not moving. IT directors knew what those devices were including who owned them and what kind of data and applications were installed.

mobilityworkplaceThat type of IT infrastructure has changed drastically over the last several years. Today’s employees are bringing their own devices into the workplace network and they want those devices to be mobile and not tied to anything.

Not only is the growth of mobile devices affecting the growth of wireless in organizations, they’re also affecting bandwidth requirements of the wired infrastructure itself. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2020, 45 percent of organizations will be all BYOD, while 40 percent will offer a mixed program, and only 15 percent won’t have any BYOD program in place.

Mobility has brought about such a change in the way networking functions that it has in essence changed the network itself. Today’s IT must be not just agile but vigilant to what employees are introducing to the network. They must look at how those devices interact with the network and most importantly, how those devices are secured as they access critical data.

Also the cloud is changing the network. Whether public, private or hybrid. The cloud is enabling anytime, anywhere access. That means your applications have to be not just in your data center but now those same applications are going to have to be in the cloud and elsewhere. This means the network has to change to make these adjustments possible. This can translate into possibly months of lost production as an application has to be rewritten so it can be used in the cloud.

Big data’s also changing the network. With the advent of mobile, social, social and cloud, our digital universe has been rapidly expanding. In fact, the International Data Center (IDC) recently stated there will be 40 zettabytes (ZB) of information generated by enterprises by 2020.

40zettabytes

James Staten, vice president and principal analyst, infrastructure and operations professional, Forrester Research says, “The combination of cloud and mobility, predicted and proven in 2013, means there’s no longer a perimeter to your business you can control. Even if you tried to enforce perimeter controls they would not be very effective as so much of the work is shifting outside your perimeter to the public cloud. Additionally, users have so many devices now that you can’t enforce device security such as Network Access Control as the management overhead is too daunting. The focus needs to shift from protecting the network and the devices to protecting the data with a Zero Trust security model. With the network perimeter shrinking and the devices proliferating, your data is the one thing you can control.”

As a result of these tech trends; organizations are starting to deploy software-defined network (SDN) overlay solutions to increase their network agility. SDN makes the network programmable by separating the control plane (telling the network what goes where) from the data plane (sending packets to specific destinations). It relies on switches that can be programmed through an SDN controller using an industry standard control protocol, such as OpenFlow.

Gartner states that the adoption of SDN has the potential to eliminate the human middleware problem that has plagued network operations for the past two decades. The promises of SDN include lowering costs, increasing operational efficiency and fostering innovation. However, SDN applications will deliver substantial benefit to users only if there is an open ecosystem.

Designed to address mobility and agility, HP’s new Software-defined Networking (SDN) architecture coupled with innovative network virtualization technologies will alter the current network landscape by provisioning multi-tenant cloud environments in ways that were not possible with legacy datacenter networks in years’ past.

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