Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how Network Performance Management (NPM) and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018.
The end to finger-pointing in network outages
2018 will see an evolution of relationships between service providers and their clients as these relationships become increasingly data driven. We will soon see less finger pointing between service providers and corporate IT and network teams when service outages occur. Instead there will be more mutual accountability as clients are able to independently access more forensic data sources associated with an outage and determine exactly what happened and where everything went wrong. This is causing service providers to move beyond simple outage portals to greater transparency with clients. Organizations no longer have to rely on their providers to tell them when there is a problem.
VP of Product Marketing, ThousandEyes
Truly real-time network performance monitoring (NPM) will become critical to the success of enterprises. In 2018, real-time NPM will break through to become a vital part of network troubleshooting. In the past, NPM solution providers had called their products "real-time" even though their dashboards had delays of several minutes. Those delays are no longer acceptable. We're now moving into an era when real-time has a gap no longer than a few seconds.
APPLICATION AWARE NETWORKS AND NPM
For enterprises, the existing lack of SLA and performance visibility into business-critical applications in use at remote and branch offices will only increase as applications continue their steady march toward SaaS-based turnkey solutions and hybrid or fully public cloud architectures. We're seeing an application evolution. We're also seeing increasingly broad availability of lower cost, high-capacity (but highly variable quality) public Internet connections and corporate-owned MPLS-based (and steadily increasing LTE) networks. This combination of trends will render traditional infrastructure and application-agnostic, metrics-only monitoring techniques near useless.
AI AND ML APPLIED TO NPM
Machine learning and artificial intelligence consistently make the year end lists of predictions of what's going to be hot in the coming year. Yet the focus has primarily been on applications. In 2018, we'll see more machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to network performance management. As software defined and multi cloud networks become the new normal, NPM platforms will need to gather deep analytical insights across these complex environments to proactively support the network engineers and IT operations to deliver optimized application, device and user performance across the network. This will enable the network to continuously learn, spot and address abnormalities in network traffic, and dynamically adjust network policies to account for changes in usage or user behavior. This helps prevent network problems before they occur, resulting in faster responses to incidents, and delivers better online experiences.
Director of Product Marketing, LiveAction
Enterprises want to be in complete control, and engineers want to have the ability to customize workflows and processes to best suit their needs. Intent-based automation takes software-defined automation to the next level. Automation gives enterprises the flexibility to customize and predefine internal network workflows. Once users define the pathway, intent-based automation will manipulate the network to enforce policies and deliver the desired outcome.Intent-based automation eliminates the need for manual scaling by automating the process with pre-defined intent. Although it is still in its early stages, it has the potential to play an integral role in software-defined implementations by making automation smarter and more intuitive.
In response to the growing adoption of technologies like SDN and NFV orchestration, along with maturation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, we will see a whole new level of automation for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) where the network can begin to anticipate failures or overruns, mitigate risk and preemptively prevent problems before they happen. Recognized as intelligent automation, it will lead to more streamlined and responsive service delivery, which will ultimately lead to better customer satisfaction.
Senior Director of Solutions, Ciena's Blue Planet Division
Cloud continues to make enterprise networks and IT systems more efficient and cost-effective. But since cloud migration pushes more traffic across networks and services that are outside the corporate borders, old expectations of network performance don't necessarily hold up. Service level agreements that have stood for years will suddenly find themselves in jeopardy in the cloud era. Network engineers may find themselves in the position of having customer success teams ask them to restore service to a level that never existed nor was possible in the first place on cloud networks. Savvy network teams will spend a lot more time this year baselining both app and underlying network performance levels to define what is the new normal in the cloud era as network traffic navigates more and more dependencies between the origin and destination.
VP of Product Marketing, ThousandEyes
CONVERGENCE OF NETWORK AND SECURITY OPERATIONS
Network and Security operations have been converging for several years, and this trend will accelerate in 2018. This will be driven by the fact that each discipline requires similar information about the network, which is based on access to the network traffic and the reported metrics of network and application activity.
THREAT INTELLIGENCE GATEWAYS
Despite spending more than $80B annually on security measures, the past 16 months have seen network outages of unprecedented proportions, with more than 1 billion crucial records lost to data breaches. With billions of IP addresses, how many should have access to the network and its assets? Current approaches filter and manage every part of the traffic, the good, bad and of course the ugly. By managing and filtering everything, the process becomes complicated and overwhelming. What is on the horizon to help with these attacks? Prediction: A new breed of security solutions called Threat Intelligent Gateways will emerge as organizations need to stop the increasing volume of threats. This perimeter protection provides an opportunity for regional carriers, hosting & service providers and CDNs to create more value for their customers. Ultimately, the Threat Intelligence Gateways will deliver better-managed network traffic and provide a powerful dynamic security perimeter that scales with threats from outside sources.
VP of Product Management, Corsa
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