Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Bandwidth Demands Drive Next-Gen Net Adoption 

Data networks are emerging as a bottleneck as enterprises cope with an explosion of traffic and a growing lack of bandwidth to handle streaming video services and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

That reality is driving deployment of next-generation networking technologies like 100 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and software-defined networking (SDN) in datacenters as enterprises roll out private and hybrid cloud installations, according to a new industry survey.

The survey of more than 700 CIOs and IT directors released this week by networking vendor Viavi Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAV) found that two-thirds of respondents have deployed "some facet of SDN." That estimate includes implementation of foundational SDN "underlay" technologies (35 percent) and SDN "overlay" technologies (27 percent).

Viavi claimed its survey results point to accelerating SDN deployments as "bandwidth growth reverberates throughout the network" and bandwidth usage increases exponentially with the rise of video services and IoT networks. "Projected bandwidth growth is a clear factor driving the rollout of larger network pipes," the survey found. "But the rate at which bandwidth requirements are growing is also surging."

Bandwidth requirements are driving enterprise adoption of 100 GbE networks, with one in four respondents saying they have deployed it. Two of three IT executives polled said they plan to roll out 100 GbE networks by the end of 2017.

The Viavi survey confirms that the enterprise shift to the cloud is a foregone conclusion, with nearly 90 percent of respondents saying they have at least one application running in the cloud. Meanwhile, four out of five said they using public or private cloud infrastructure.

The emerging issue enterprise cloud deployment is "visibility and application monitoring," the survey asserts. Among the top challenges for network managers in shifting to the cloud are "loss of visibility and control," tracking user experience and enforcing service level agreements. Sixty percent of those surveyed said "tracking application bugs and patches" was their top challenge, "hinting at hurdles in moving hosting outside the internal datacenter," the survey noted.

"The network is being held to a higher level of availability and performance than ever before," noted Shamus McGillicuddy, a senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. "At the same time, hybrid cloud networking is becoming the new normal. That represents a dual challenge to enterprises, as they need to re-tool for a new hybrid environment while finding a better way to analyze performance and manage their resources."

The networking survey underscores growing concerns that traditional "IT silos" that include networks, server applications and security must be converged in order to meet growing service demands. Higher networking speeds up to 100 GbE also will require improved installation and monitoring processes, especially for ensuring visibility into virtualized network components.

And as networks handles more traffic and ever-larger data volumes, hardware components are viewed as the best way to capture user traffic for big data analysis, the survey concluded.


About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).