1. SDN will Go Mainstream Globally
SDN is already being implemented by Web 2.0 companies like Google and Facebook who have outlined their strategies and commitment to the technology. Other global companies will undoubtedly follow suit and as disruptive industry trends like mobility, cloud, social business and big data/analytics initiatives continue to stretch IT budgets, SDN will drive toward the mainstream in 2014 with its ability to reduce operation expenses and scale network resources. It will become essential for companies to adopt solutions that bridge the physical and virtual, encouraging SDN to flourish while protecting existing hardware investments.
Ashish Dhawan, Managing Director - Enterprise, Juniper Networks, Asia
2. Networks Become More Sophisticated With Built-In Intelligence
Built-in network intelligence and analytics will continue to become more sophisticated and automated. Organizations will have the ability to proactively monitor network traffic on all ports and detect micro-bursts of traffic which will allow data center network administrators to identify potential network hotspots. As a result, organizations will be able to adapt to the changing needs of their networks and workloads can be redistributed to cool down hot stops and prevent network congestion from impacting overall application delivery.
3. Enterprises Will Fully Integrate Their Networks into Cloud Workflows
Cloud computing will become even more fundamental to business strategy and IT leaders will need to rethink the role of the network to deliver on the promise of cloud. Enterprise data centers typically operate in silos and the lack of integration between compute, storage and networking has prevented businesses from achieving the goals of agility and operational efficiency. As enterprises begin to realize the benefits of cloud to achieve these goals, and the deployment and orchestration systems like OpenStack and CloudStack mature, managing data centers will be about managing workflows. As a result, there will be full integration of the network into the cloud workflow, making it more operationally efficient and easier to quickly meet changing demands.
4. Calls from the sky-high metal tube?
Forget for a second about whether or not you could mentally tolerate that many chattering people at 35,000 feet with no escape. From where we stand, there's a fascinating technical challenge involving much more than a flip of the switch. Mobile networks are not currently designed for moving base stations and so service delivery is challenging at the moment. Expect to see carriers this coming year put big bucks behind beefing up an infrastructure capable of maintaining data service seamlessly - even in the clouds.
5. IPTV forces innovation
They say content is king, so traditional cable hookups with live sports may be here to stay for a while (and the subscriber numbers show it), but OTT providers like Netflix and Hulu are increasingly providing people reason to cut the cord. 2014 is the year we see Internet-based television broadcast become a reality for many more, forcing traditional cable players to innovate and provide similar flexibility to keep up. Look no further than incoming FCC chairman Wheeler's initiative to transition all networks to IP-based in the near future. Also, look out for Netflix to continue fighting with cable providers over their Open Connect platform. Ultimately, however, cable providers will have to give in and partner.
6. Mobile data reaches a new echelon
If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want some milk. We've all heard various spins on the numbers, essentially all boiling down to: faster speeds = more data consumption. LTE networks have put unprecedented power in the palms of consumers, and it's going to continue growing. By the end of 2014, we see mobile device activity comprising a third of all Internet traffic. Considering seven years ago just before the first iPhone came out, mobile data consumption was relatively zilch, the shift will continue giving service providers unique challenges to meet the growing needs of end users. Expect to also see service providers boost the seamlessness of the Wi-Fi offload process to relieve stress on their mobile networks. No more manually logging in - it'll just work.
7. Carriers virtualize
Speaking of virtualization, we know SDN has made its way through the hype cycle mostly in the data center and enterprise environments. But service providers are also eyeing the abstraction of physical resources for more flexibility, faster service spin-up and ultimately easier management. Some carriers have even already announced their intent to demand more software solutions from suppliers. So in 2014, expect to see the term "network functions virtualization" thrown around in more than just a theoretical capacity. Carriers will actually start implementing such measures.
8. Mobile malware continues to feast
Mobile malware has snacked on consumer devices for years, but 2014 will see the floodgates open, especially as more ubiquitous LTE networks unearth unique security threats. The result will be an even more tilted mobile ecosystem, in which Google's Android consolidates its position as the most popular mobile operating system, and the primary target of attack for malicious actors interested in compromising mobile devices. While direct attacks on Android are possible, we expect that the current focus on Trojan-izing mobile applications to continue, as attackers are still garnering plenty of success in penetrating official and third-party Android application marketplaces.