Trends Contributing to Increasing Network Complexity

Trends Contributing to Increasing Network Complexity

Over the last few years, creating and managing IP networks has become increasingly complex. Technology and business trends mean this process is gathering speed, and levels of complexity will continue to be driven higher still over the coming years as a result. Here are some of the trends driving this process.

Commercial Network Dependency - As commerce depends more and more on networks, performances, and subsequently complexity, of networks rapidly increases. Network outages and unplanned downtimes can deal serious financial blows to companies.

According to Gartner Group research, the average cost network downtimes cause small to medium sized companies is estimated at approximately $42,000 per hour. Larger companies can expect downtimes to cost them sums reaching into six figures and more. A CA Technologies study suggested that downtimes can reduce the earning power of an average company by around 29 per cent, if not more (this of course, depends on the amount of downtimes).

Naturally, with such large figures at stake, demands and expectations of service levels soar continually. Five nines is the new standard of performance for network administrators, with pressure to reduce recovery time objectives significantly (preferably to zero) being constant.

Mobile Computing - A tidal wave of consumers, employees and professionals exchanging desktop computers for laptops, tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices has heaped a whole set of levels on top of network complexity. Smart phone sales surpassed laptop sales in 2012, and it appears that this trend is rapidly accelerating.

As more and more users are accessing the Internet through a selection of different devices, the need for IP addresses expands proportionally. According to CISCO estimates, 2012 saw numbers of IP-enabled devices surpassing human population. These numbers are set to exceed 10 billion devices (an average of 1.4 per person) by the year 2016.

Virtualization - Cloud computing increasingly drives ever greater network dependency and soaring expectations of service levels. As more and more mission-critical applications and services are provided by remote data centres, requirements for further virtualization and continual proliferation of necessary virtual machines, each requiring its own DNS structure and IP address, complexity is driven to mind-boggling new heights.

Address Space - Device proliferation and continually increasing traffic also speeded up IPv4 address space depletion and transition to the new IPv6 protocol, which requires far more complex provision and administration. What's more, the transition to IPv6 is currently taking place at significantly varying paces, depending on companies, locations and more. This means network managers are also forced to support, at last for the near future, IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously.

Basically, adopting automated provisioning solutions capable of managing entire networks regardless of location, protocol or devices is vital in order to keep in step with these trends.

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