As part of APMdigest's list of 2022 predictions, industry experts offer thoughtful and insightful predictions on how Network Performance Management (NPM) and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2022.
Network performance management (NPM) vendors will start evolving toward network observability to serve an IT industry that is embracing multi-cloud, edge cloud, work-from-anywhere, and internet-based WANs. Deep visibility into traditional on-premises networks simply isn't enough for modern IT Operations teams. Via organic development and mergers and acquisitions, NPM vendors will add AIOps, security monitoring, cloud monitoring, and digital experience monitoring to their core NPM capabilities to provide total visibility into digital operations. NetOps teams are trying to align with SecOps and DevOps, and network observability solutions from their traditional NPM vendors would certainly help them accomplish this.
VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Network observability will continue to be important. We spent a lot of time with the magnifying glass on the "work from anywhere user," and that will swing a little bit back into the physical locations because of office openings.
Senior Technical Evangelist, Riverbed
IMPROVING USER INTERFACES FOR NPM
IT Central Station users are looking forward to seeing an improvement in the user interfaces of network management applications. It is currently difficult to transfer an interface from one virtual domain to another and our users would like to see this transition simplified.
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station, (soon to be PeerSpot)
CONVERGENCE OF NPM, APM AND SECURITY
Accelerated digital transformation has propelled the move to cloud and SaaS applications. Cloud provider selection is now being driven more by business outcomes instead of IT requirements, forcing a diverse multi-cloud environment. This is creating big visibility challenges for NetOps teams as they're tasked to deliver optimized performance securely. In 2022, IT operations will finally adopt a single source of visibility for application performance management and network security that will allow NetOps and SecOps teams to be truly aligned. This will likely come in the form of network performance monitoring solutions that are adding security functionality, like the ability to see into encrypted traffic (or NDR solutions).
Director of Security Products, LiveAction
CONVERGENCE OF NPM WITH BROADER OBSERVABILITY
As IT environments become more hybrid, more distributed, more complex, IT teams will evolve their network monitoring practices to support broader observability objectives. This requires breaking down traditional IT silos, capturing full-fidelity telemetry from the entire digital ecosystem, and transforming massive amounts of data into actionable insights that can be used across IT domains to accelerate decision-making and problem resolution.
Senior Technical Evangelist, Riverbed
AI ASSISTANTS AND AIOPS JOIN NPM
AI assistants that can manage and troubleshoot networks on par with human domain experts, will be promoted to a member of the IT team in 2022. In the enterprise, AI, machine learning and AIOps ultimately have the potential to become as trusted a source as the most experienced IT domain expert. While we're not there yet, in the coming year we can expect AI assistants and conversational interfaces to take on a more serious and trusted role in the enterprise. At present, AI conversational interfaces can answer up to 70% of support tickets with the same effectiveness as a domain expert. As network complexity and distributed workloads increase, AIOps and virtual AI assistants will become viewed as an essential member of IT teams. Further, as cloud services continue to scale to provide unlimited, cost-effective processing and storage, both enterprises and technology providers will be empowered to adopt AI assistants across various support teams — feeding in the volume and quality of data necessary to train AI technologies to increase their accuracy.
VP and CTO, Juniper Networks AI-Driven Enterprise
AI/ML ENHANCE NETWORK PERFORMANCE
The industry will see significant growth in investment in AI/ML and automation. Based on testing, we see significant growth in AI/ML and automation to enhance network performance and fault management. In particular, more operators are investing in active testing and assurance systems to inject synthetic traffic into their networks to emulate real users and services, instead of relying on static, passive probes. And they're seeking to pair these systems with AI/ML algorithms that can make good decisions in real time for where, when, and what to actively test to improve services or isolate faults, without requiring human intervention. We also expect to see early efforts in using AI/ML to enhance security, and in running testing workloads from public cloud.
Head of Market Strategy, Spirent Communications
LOAD BALANCERS WILL DISAPPEAR
Centralized load balancers will disappear within 3-4 years. Unlike many of our processes and technologies for managing modern applications, load balancers have remained largely unchanged and are ripe for disruption. Centralized load balancers simply do not make sense in a decentralized world. They add an extra hop in the network, increase latency and are not portable.
CTO and Co-Founder, Kong
RIP AND REPLACE NETWORKING
There's going to be a lot of refresh activity in the enterprise as offices with in person employees ramp back up. I expect IT spending will change. Prior to the pandemic spending was focused on endpoint and security and cloud, and now I see spending shifting towards hardware refresh in the coming year. Security will still be an active topic, but it's going to push more to the cloud because more and more workloads are moving to the cloud.
Senior Technical Evangelist, Riverbed
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