Industry experts offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM, AIOps, Observability, OpenTelemetry and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2023. Part 8, the final installment, covers NetOps and Network Performance Management (NPM).
NPM GOES BEYOND THE NETWORK TEAM
Network Performance Management will become increasingly important to ops and SRE personnel, well beyond the network team. Enriched network performance data is essential for resolving issues with dynamic software in real-time, so such data will continue to earn a greater place among all the data that ops people take advantage of.
NETWORK MANAGEMENT EXPANDS FROM NPM TO IPM
As companies move workload to SaaS, cloud, and external datacenters and a large percentage of the workforce is remote, network management as a skill set will continue to expand from traditional NPM, which is focused on internal networks (routers, switches, access points, VPN, etc.), to IPM (Internet Performance Management) to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize all aspects of the broader internal and external network, from ISPs and CDNs to SASE and SD-WAN, to internet routing protocols.
THE NEED FOR MULTI-CLOUD VISIBILITY
Increased multi-cloud adoption will drive network infrastructure and operations teams will adopt new tools and architectures to improve control and observability. EMA research shows that across multiple clouds, NetOps teams are struggling to impost consistent configurations and policies, and they lack operational visibility. Multi-cloud networking solutions from SD-WAN providers, data center networking vendors, and multi-cloud networking specialist vendors will all vie to address these requirements in 2023 and beyond.
VP of Research, Networking, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Read the blog from Shamus McGillicuddy: Network Observability vs. DevOps Observability
Multi-Cloud network visibility will become a C level issue — Many companies have started to rely on multi-cloud usage for their workloads to prevent being cloud-locked, reduce single points of failure, and create operational diversity. One of the major challenges of this approach is that the clouds act thoroughly unaware of each other's existence, and any workload distribution across multiple clouds cannot be traced with hyperscaler-provided tooling. The need to observe and manage cross-cloud workloads will create a huge demand for multi-cloud observability tooling to allow companies to drive efficiencies and keep cost under control.
Director of Product Management, NS1
EDGE COMPUTING CREATES OBSTACLES FOR NETWORK VISIBILITY
The rise in Edge Computing will create obstacles for network visibility and observability — Edge computing is becoming more commonplace. Enterprises are reassessing security, cost, and performance needs and are deciding on the best location for their applications, analytics, and decision-making. Some opt to keep capabilities closer to the epicenter of their needs, on-premises at the edge. New challenges will arise in 2023 from this multiplicity. Digital transformation has already increased diversity in network connectivity, but increased edge networking to support expanding IoT and other use cases will strain visibility and observability capabilities. As a result, companies will require a greater mix of edge, on-premises, and multi-cloud visibility. The efficacy of cloud-native observability within the network layer will decrease when faced with edge computing that runs on infrastructure outside a cloud vendor platform. Challenges in network layer visibility to support edge, multi-cloud, SD-WAN, SASE, and on-premises will become commonplace. As a result, the increased scope of the network footprint will require greater integration to gain visibility.
Co-Founder and CTO, LiveAction
EXPERIENCE-DRIVEN NETWORK OBSERVABILITY AND MANAGEMENT
Experience is becoming an essential data source for network operations (NetOps). From the network perspective, experience is data generated from app-aware and user-aware active monitoring. It's time to go beyond the network health monitoring approach of the past, and focus instead on how user experience is impacted by network conditions. In 2023 and beyond, NetOps teams will be expected to do just that as their business goes full steam into digital transformation. Their responsibilities will extend to both the networks they own and the ones they don't — third-party networks, like home networks, ISP networks, and cloud environments. This will drive the adoption of Experience-Driven Network Observability and Management as a superset of network monitoring. We will see NetOps teams take advantage of this approach, applying active and continuous measurements to radically improve the network operations workflow by reducing false alarms, validating change and compliance, providing reliable visibility and closing the automation loop.
Head of Network Operations Software Business, Broadcom
Experience will become a key driver of networking investment in 2023 — IT teams that are already facing a staffing shortage are overburdened by increasingly busy, complicated networks. And when an IT team can't properly manage the network, user experience falls accordingly. Investments in networking technology in 2023 will focus on tools, including those powered by AI and ML, that can simplify processes for network engineers, giving them much needed breathing room.
EVP, AI-Driven Enterprise, Juniper Networks
AI-driven Support will become essential across IT Operations teams in 2023. Networks will continue to expand and increase in complexity pushing network support teams to their limits. In 2023 many IT operations teams will realize they need the assistance of AI-driven support tools and issue resolution mechanisms to stay ahead of the network failure game. We expect to see more AI-driven support adoption to proactively address network issues and decrease time to resolution for network failures to reduce operational costs and mitigate the staffing shortages IT operations teams are facing today.
VP, Enterprise Marketing, Juniper Networks
OPEN SOURCE ESSENTIAL TO NETWORK MONITORING
As long as networks have needed to be monitored, open source contributions have propelled the space forward — both in terms of technology and the ability of the community to act collectively. In terms of technology, there's no better example than SNMP, the community-built, standardized protocol for network management. Monitoring has relied on SNMP since the beginning and we still haven't seen another standard emerge that has the support or capabilities that SNMP does. That said, we have seen recent open source projects like OpenConfig/gNMI and OpenTelemetry that approach monitoring in new and exciting ways. Ultimately, the technologies that make the most sense will see mass support and use — propelling them to being the next standards and frameworks. I think we'll see a lot more maturity and progress out of these projects in 2023, and look forward to supporting them along their journey. The other side of open source is the community aspect. Building network monitoring solutions requires the ability to test against all possible hardware, devices, and configurations — a lab, of sorts. The importance of open source is invaluable here. No single company could ever do this alone; the community is the lab. Having a community to run changes, create new code, and contribute feedback is critical. Without this, our ability to test things under the conditions of thousands of different deployments and scenarios or configurations wouldn't be possible. Open source will absolutely be essential in the future of monitoring.
CEO, The OpenNMS Group, a subsidiary of NantHealth
CONVERGENCE OF SECURITY AND NETWORK SOLUTIONS
Consolidation of security and network solutions will create hyper-focus on Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Zero Trust Integration — Expect steady momentum around combing network and security functionality into single solutions. The need for this combination will increase alongside the frequency and severity of breaches and continued staffing issues. These factors will drive us towards integrated SASE solutions that include Zero Trust capabilities. Vendors like Cisco have single-vendor SASE solutions within their security portfolio and SD-WAN management systems. But traditional network performance management (NPM) solutions tend to lack the integration to support SASE solutions, like integration to SD-WAN or network security analysis. Keeping security and network solutions separate will become less viable as customers look for comprehensive approaches.
Co-Founder and CTO, LiveAction
CONVERSATIONAL INTERFACES AND VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS FOR NETOPS
2023 will be the year of the conversational interface and virtual assistants for networking teams. While several virtual assistants have come to market, vendors have been slow to adopt this technology that is transforming IT experiences today. We expect to see more vendors adopt this technology to simplify network operations while boosting the networking experience for end users. We also expect to see these capabilities similarly span the full-stack to provide insight and automated operations from client-to-cloud.
Senior Director, Enterprise Product Marketing, Juniper Networks
Check back for more 2023 predictions covering cloud, work-from-home (WFH) and e-commerce
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