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by Gareth Streefland 03.08.22
The onset of the pandemic accelerated global firms’ plans to redefine how their businesses operated, in particular how they managed their wide...
The onset of the pandemic accelerated global firms’ plans to redefine how their businesses operated, in particular how they managed their wide area networks (WANs), with software-defined WANs flourishing and secure access service edge (SASE) emerging.
Software-defined WANs deliver clear benefits and have reached a maturity level that warrants consideration for customers with branch offices. However, enterprises must also weigh the challenges and have an accurate anticipation of SD-WAN advantages and disadvantages before they decide to adopt this technology.
Advantages of SD-WAN
Users always enjoy long term cost savings when using SD-WAN. Compared to a MPLS deployment, SD-WAN allows cost savings of almost 50%. Except for critical data, all the low priority tasks can be assigned to expensive links. And for the important tasks, expensive connectivity links can be used.
Whatever application that is used in SD-WAN, it is able to improve its performance. Each of the network traffic works differently. All the traffic those are critical and real time can be automatically routed to links with higher bandwidth. This ensures that there is less latency issues and packet loss which eventually leads to improved application performance.
Most of the networks are subjected to additional layers through the process of digital transformation. This often leads to poor network performance. SD-WAN is able to reduce this concept by simplifying the infrastructure. Moreover, it is necessary to consider looking for the right SD-WAN service provider with less capacity.
SD-WAN comes with various transport mediums all which can provide alternate paths. For an example, if the SD-WAN is two or more mediums. Imagine Fiber, DSL and LTE. In case of a failure, SD-WAN is able to use other two mediums.
One of the reasons why many companies prefer adopting to SD-WAN is its cloud access. Even if a branch is located remote, the employees can still access cloud applications. This too with improved application performance. When there is business critical applications, the traffic can be directed through the data center.
Disadvantages of SD-WAN
SD-WAN lacks when it comes to on-site security features. Although SD-WANs are equipped with some standards and methods for security, still it is not adequate enough. Therefore, a data breach in one single machine could affect the entire organization.
Businesses have a problem adapting to SD-WAN solutions. The existing staffs may find it difficult to understand this technology which rises the need to have skilled staffs. Now this can be expensive for companies with low budget. This is one of the reasons why business are still depending on old connections.
Not all the SD-WAN solutions are able to support WAN routers. If a SD-WAN configuration is used in a WAN router, its ethernet connection will probably interfere with WAN architecture. For preventing this, it is advisable to use methods like time-division multiplexing.
All the units and connections are centralized in SD-WAN. As a result, having a SD-WAN always creates new errors. In some instances, small errors resulting from incorrect configuration can cause major errors. Besides that, SD-WANs also experience jitters and packet loss.
On default, routers are equipped with the functionality to work without updates. But for routers those with SD-WAN configuration requires regular firmware updates.
If the updates are not provided, the routers may eventually experience failures or even stop working. These updates make sure that the routers are bug free and their functions are fastened.
by Lewis Andrews 18.07.22
According to Gartner, Inc., enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will surpass investment on traditional IT in various market segments in...
According to Gartner, Inc., enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will surpass investment on traditional IT in various market segments in 2025.
Only those enterprise IT categories within the markets for application software, infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure are included in Gartner's "cloud shift" research. By 2025, traditional solutions will account for only 41% of IT investment in these four areas, while 51% will have moved to the public cloud. In 2025, cloud technologies will account for over two-thirds (65.9%) of application software investment, up from 57.7% in 2022.
As organisations adjusted to a new business and social dynamic during the past two years, the transition to the cloud has further intensified as a result of COVID-19. The risk of technology and service providers becoming obsolete or, at best, being relegated to low-growth areas is increasing, according to Michael Warrilow, Research Vice President at Gartner.
Traditional products will make up 58.7% of the addressable revenue in 2022, but their growth rate will be substantially slower than that of cloud. Long-term digital transformation and modernization activities will be accelerated until 2022, which will further accelerate the migration to the cloud due to demand for integration capabilities, agile work processes, and composable architecture. Technology product managers should use the cloud shift as measure of market opportunity.
According to Gartner, the migration to the cloud will affect enterprise IT investment of more than US$ 1.3 trillion in 2022 and approximately US$ 1.8 trillion in 2025. The development of new technologies, such as distributed cloud, will amplify the ongoing disruption of the IT industry by cloud. The distinction between traditional and cloud products will increasingly become hazy. Enterprise adoption of distributed cloud has the potential to hasten the cloud transition since it expands the addressable market by bringing public cloud services into traditionally non-cloud domains. Due to its capacity to satisfy location-specific needs including data sovereignty, low-latency, and network bandwidth, organisations are examining it.
Gartner advises technology and service providers to actively target market segments where the move to the cloud is occurring in addition to looking for new, high-growth cloud possibilities in order to benefit from it. Infrastructure-related categories, for instance, are likely to grow more quickly than enterprise applications, a segment that has a high level of cloud penetration. With their go-to-market strategies, providers should also focus on certain personas, adoption profiles, and use cases.
by Anthony Ham 01.07.21
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly, as more and more devices become connected each year. IoT is powering many areas of our lives –...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly, as more and more devices become connected each year. IoT is powering many areas of our lives – from lightbulbs, wearable tech, to the creation of complex Smart Cities – automating day-to-day processes.
Besides consumer advances, IoT is becoming an essential component of successful and cost-effective business transformation.
Given the consistent growth of IoT, Business Wire predicts that the global IoT market will reach $1.1 trillion in revenue by 2024, with 80 billion connected devices.
How are we using IoT in our daily lives? And where do we expect it to take us looking forward?
What is IoT?
IoT is the connection of multiple appliances/objects to each other and the internet, which are monitored remotely. These devices are interconnected and track and receive data, which is then processed in the cloud.
A smart home is an example of IoT – appliances such as the thermostat, doorbell and security system can sense their surroundings and interact with one another, which can be monitored over a mobile app.
This involves complex communication between devices and accurate processing of data. Sensing devices are used to monitor things such as temperature, humidity and water level.
IoT in the world
Complex uses of IoT already exist in today’s world. Amazon’s fully automated supermarket where you can “just walk out” uses IoT technology to fully automate the whole shopping experience. You scan a barcode when you walk in and then there is no need to scan or pay for any items.
Smart Cities are being created across the globe, where IoT tech is used to monitor everything from traffic, recycling and energy use. Citizens interact with a smart city through their smartphones, connected cars and homes. The smart city can do things such as cut costs of energy, improve sustainability and manage traffic flows.
Like with many industries, the Covid pandemic highlighted the true potential of the IoT, as it was used for things such as enabling remote operations to manage distancing policies.
One example of this is the NFL, who used wearable connected sensors to manage the safe return of players and staff. Connected through IoT, these sensors provided real-time data on the movements of everyone in the stadium – meaning if someone tested positive for COVID-19, the data could determine who needed to isolate.
As with all growing technologies, there will always be potential problems and setbacks. IoT relies on a speedy and reliable connection as it often analyses data in real-time, meaning network issues can impact how well IoT performs.
As more and more devices are connected, some networks are unable to manage the increased traffic. The ability to scale as demand grows will be essential if businesses want to continue to digitally transform.
Perhaps the most obvious problem is the security issues that come with numerous connected devices. Poorly secured IoT devices are a common target of hackers, as one unsecured device can act as a portal to the whole network.
Organisations can manage this by delivering security functions through the cloud, to ensure that all devices will receive the same level of security.
Looking forward, it’s clear that the potential of IoT is exponential. Smart living and smart cities are already embedded in society, and will only continue to grow.
Where else do you see IoT being utilized in the future?
written by Evangeline Hunt
What do Bitcoin, Charlie Bit My Finger, and Beeple’s digital art all have in common? They’re all powered by blockchain – a digital...
What do Bitcoin, Charlie Bit My Finger, and Beeple’s digital art all have in common? They’re all powered by blockchain – a digital list of records that are linked together using cryptography.
Blockchain-powered tech has risen in popularity, most notably in the form of cryptocurrency. But more recently, the sale of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) online for often millions of dollars has created a new buzz around blockchain.
Blockchain was originally created in 1991 with the purpose of timestamping digital documents so that they couldn’t be tampered with. This new tech went mostly unused, until it was adapted by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 to create the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
A blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is open to anyone. The complex properties of a blockchain make it near-impossible to tamper with. Each block contains a unique “hash” – like a fingerprint, plus the hash of the previous block. If a single block is tampered with, the hash will change and won’t correctly match the hash of the next block – invalidating the chain. This makes blockchains a very secure way of storing data.
These days, blockchain is essentially a peer-to-peer network that enables trusted trade between individuals without the need for a mediator. Mediators can be anything from banks, online servers such as eBay or Amazon, or physical shops.
This is all well and good, but it sounds a bit hypothetical. Where is blockchain being used in our lives as of now, and where can we expect to see it in the future?
Like any new technology, its potential is still being unlocked. The most commonly known use for blockchain tech as of present is Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency uses blockchain encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify their transfer between users of the peer-to-peer network. This removes the need for banks and even physical money.
In theory, blockchain can be applied to any sort of trade – be it goods or services, energy, or something like voting.
Most recently there has been a surge in the sale of non-fungible tokens, which are powered on the Ethereum blockchain. Non-fungible means something unique and can’t be replaced with something else – like a piece of art, or a song. Bitcoin, or a dollar, is fungible – one bitcoin can be traded for another bitcoin and it’s exactly the same.
The Ethereum blockchain is the cryptocurrency used to support NFTs – it stores extra information that makes them work differently. NFTs can really be anything digital, such as art, music, tweets, memes, videos, etc. A lot of the excitement surrounding NFTs is around digital art. Yes, artist Beeple did sell a piece of digital art at Christie’s Auction House for $70 million… The exact piece of art can be viewed online by anyone – yes anyone. But only one person “owns” it. The authenticity of this ownership is powered by blockchain.
Is paying $70 million for a piece of digital art crazier than buying a tweet from the founder of Twitter for $3 million? I can’t decide…
What makes blockchain so interesting is that its potential is only just being unlocked. Until recently, we wouldn’t have thought that it was possible to “buy” a tweet – but apparently it is. Who knows where this exciting new tech will go next… any ideas?
by Anthony Ham 26.02.20
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been...
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been steadily increasing. Whilst Uber’s rise doesn’t wholly depend on automation (one-tap-app wizardry notwithstanding), it brings into focus the important question of whether the evolution of technology, and with-it self-healing networks, comes at the cost of well-established jobs.
At first glance, the idea of a ‘self-healing’ network seems to logically imply that fewer engineers are needed; after all, if it can fix itself, what’s left for the engineer to do? According to Michael Bushong, Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud Marketing at Juniper Networks writing in NetworkComputing.com, the answer isn’t quite so simple. “Automation is about growing, not cutting,” he says, adding that the goal of automation is to grow and support scalability. As the company grows, it will in turn need to increase its headcount, not reduce it.
Technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it
David Mihelcic, the Federal Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper Networks writing in Nextgov.com, says the move to automation will redefine a network specialist’s remit to focus on software programming rather than network management. In effect, technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it, he says. This might not be palatable to everybody though, for the obvious reason that many specialists are happy with their role as it is. But network engineers, of all people, are used to technology constantly adapting - obsoletion is a core part of the industry, so they should be happy to go with it.
It goes without saying that the shift to a software focus is massive. Those who wish to remain more hands-on and hardware focused will still obviously have a place, however, as these upgrades can’t be performed by AI. The competition for these roles will arguably be lower, too – network specialists who wish to pursue a more software-defined track, and even those on the fence, will be won over by the inevitably higher rates and salaries on offer. SDN and machine learning specialists are in high demand, and understandably companies are willing to pay more for such skillsets.
Somebody still needs to automate the job
So, the answer to the question of whether engineers will still have a job once networks are fully automated is most likely yes, they will. As Bushong points out, a business’ ultimate goal is to scale up, and when the business scales the network will too – and that’s something that can’t be automated. The goal of automation is to aid scalability, and scalability entails more jobs. Another factor is risk: in an enterprise-scale network, there are a lot of variables that can and will go wrong. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost on average $5,600 per minute. 10-20 minutes of downtime, and a fully automated company will likely be rethinking whether it was a good idea to cut back on network engineers.
With all that said, the spectre of automation is not unique to IT. A study by PwC estimates that 30% of jobs are at potential risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This only suggests that the job could be automated, however. Somebody still needs to automate the job, and to remain on hand to make sure the automation goes smoothly - lending more fuel to the fire that an engineer may need to shift their focus, not necessarily be replaced.
To date, we’ve managed to keep Skynet (the fictional AI supercomputer from the Terminator movies) at bay. It seems that, at worst, engineers will be forced to adapt and take a more software-centric approach to networking, picking up some programming along the way. Fears of automation are spread across every industry, but perhaps the theories of job replacement can be mitigated by adaptation.
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