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Enterasys: 2012 Trends Predictions


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

2012 Trends Predictions

Contributed Article by Mark Townsend, Director, Solutions Management at Enterasys

In 2012, networking will emerge as a business differentiator by aiding application delivery and user experience. Server and application architectures will be dependent on optimized networking for efficiency and cost reduction.

1)  Virtualization

Virtualization will continue to evolve in 2012 with some key milestones likely to be achieved. The number of production servers that are virtualized will exceed 50% of a typical company's data center. This is a significant milestone and the tipping point to increased adoption of virtualization. IT architects will shift from a server-centric model to an application-centric model to reduce costs and improve business agility. Additionally, desktop virtualization for specific markets will shift from the lab to production for specific early adopters. The clash of "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) and markets that have a strong focus on data security will be among the early adopters of desktop and application virtualization.

2)  BYOD

In this sense, I see BYOD as a driver for desktop and application virtualization for these markets. BYOD also offers promise to other markets as employees, particularly the millennials, are focused on acquiring the tools they feel are linked to their success. A survey conducted by Enterasys Networks during Interop Las Vegas 2011 found that 62% of respondents consider BYOD programs linked to increased productivity.

BYOD has so much influence that new markets and tools are springing up to meet the concerns of IT shops. Needs such as onboarding devices, security of corporate data on the devices and management of these devices have been met with new products. In 2012 we will see growth in new tools for mobile device management (MDM) and traditional tools such as network access control (NAC) implemented alongside application and desktop virtualization, to address the challenges incurred by BYOD programs.

3)  Fabric

2011 produced many fabric solutions from each vendor. Most vendors have used the term fabric to describe a topology in the data center, with each vendor agreeing on one key factor - network consolidation. There are two competing drafts between two standards bodies to accomplish this; IETF TRILL and the IEEE 802.1aq shortest path bridging (SPB). Most vendors have adopted a portion of one of these drafts, but vendor interoperability has remained beyond reach.

2012 will likely find a winner in the standards race. Enterasys and several other vendors are adopting IEEE SPB as the Layer 2 fabric winner, as it brings greater interoperability with existing IEEE bridging standards already in place. More important in 2012, however, is considering how the term 'fabric' is used in architectural discussions.

In 2012 we will see the term 'fabric' used to describe the network as a single entity for application delivery. Key to addressing the network as a consolidated fabric is the unification of the various components of the network into a single application delivery environment. Data center networks, distribution and edge fabrics become a single fabric managed not by multiple tools, but a single management plane. This will drive IT from provisioning ports to provisioning applications; from tactical to strategic within the business. Properly scoping what the term fabric means to your business in 2012 can influence how IT is viewed within your company.

4)  Trends in Management / Social Media

Consolidation is going to be a key focus moving forward in 2012. We will see consolidation in the data center with both server consolidation via virtualization and network consolidation with new fabric models. One area not discussed often is management consolidation. Each of the new technologies has brought along with it a new set of management tools. This increases the cost of IT to the business. Many vendors are starting to leverage both industry standards and proprietary APIs to integrate and consolidate management of the various disciplines into integrated workflows that are focused on tasks, versus device or feature management.

Consolidation of management tools will be one key area of focus for 2012, and the other will be how IT accesses these tools. Millennials have increased their influence on how tasks are accomplished. In addition to bring your own device programs, they are migrating to new sets of tools such as social media to accomplish their tasks. Within the next year we will see an increase in the number of IT shops that implement social media gateways, such as Enterasys isaac, to accomplish common IT management tasks. Social media gateways will focus less on device management and arcane command line commands and will bring a more human-centric interface that is easily accessible and improves the agility of IT departments. Millennials will most commonly be accessing these new social media gateways with devices they purchased (BYOD) versus those provided by the company.


About the Author

Mark Townsend, Director, Solutions Management

Mark Townsend's career has spanned the past two decades in computer networking, during which he has contributed to several patents and pending patents in information security. He has established himself as an expert related to networking and security in enterprise networks, with a focus on educational environments. Mark is a contributing member to several information security industry standards associations, most notably the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). Townsend's work in the TCG Trusted Network Connect (TNC) working group includes co-authoring the Clientless Endpoint Support Profile. Townsend is currently developing virtualization solutions and driving interoperability testing within the industry. Prior to his current position, he has served in a variety of roles including service and support, marketing, sales management and business development. He is considered an industry expert and often lectures at universities and industry events, including RSA and Interop.

Published Wednesday, December 07, 2011 6:15 AM by David Marshall
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I'd like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the start of 2012! As we begin what will certainly prove to be a fantastic new year, I wanted to make sure to thank all of the loyal member's and readers of Once again, with the help

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