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ThousandEyes 2020 Predictions: Four Fearless Forecasts for the New Year

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Angelique Medina, Director of Product Marketing, ThousandEyes

Four Fearless Forecasts for the New Year

As we near the end of the decade, we're looking back at another eventful year in the evolution of the Internet and public cloud, with some notable (and controversial) developments.

On the Internet, 2019 gave us the "Summer of Outages" - one of the most active  period of major outages in recent history, as Google Cloud, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram (twice), Google Calendar, Cloudflare, Reddit and Apple iCloud all experienced significant downtime - all in a six week period during June and July. 

2019 also saw the continued political fracturing of the Internet, most notably in Russia, which passed a Sovereign Internet law that effectively attempts to disconnect the Internet from the rest of the world. These efforts, echoing Iran's successful disconnect in November represents the extreme spectrum of governmental control over flows of traffic and access to web-based services.

So where do we go from here? ThousandEyes peers into our crystal ball for our Fearless Forecast of what's ahead in the coming year:

The ‘Splinternet' becomes more splintered

In 2019, Russia passed its ‘Sovereign Internet' law to block off its Internet from the rest of the world, and Iran implemented a near-total Internet shutdown. In 2020, this "Splinternet" trend of a fragmented Internet will accelerate, as more countries will attempt to create restrictions of their Internet using government control over flows of traffic and internet-based services. The most likely candidates to extend these restrictions? Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Saudi Arabia. 

Backbone networks increase dramatically

As the amount of Internet traffic grows by the minute with every TikTok video, business traffic is competing against cat videos on a network that it wasn't designed for. Just as the ThousandEyes Cloud Performance Benchmark report found Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure preferring to use their own private backbone networks (with AWS and IBM also offering this option), we'll see more SaaS companies and cloud-based service providers creating private backbone networks to optimize their own network traffic instead of relying on the unpredictable public Internet. 

A Chinese ISP causes major global collateral damage 

The Great Firewall doesn't just isolate Internet users in China, as many people believe. Government censorship is implemented by Chinese ISPs far beyond the borders of mainland China. Given how even an innocent routing error can send traffic directly into this censorship path, we're likely to see an incident of major collateral damage in the coming year. A major ISP will knock hundreds of sites and services around the world offline for a meaningful period of time as a result of firewall policies meant only to impact users within China.

DNS Snafus will be responsible for the most outages in 2020

Many things can lead to future outages, including natural disasters, attacks or even simple human errors. Foundational Internet systems, BGP and DNS, can also fall prey to error and exploitation that leads to major outages, particularly given that they were built to suit an earlier, more innocent time in the history of the Internet. BGP-related outages caused major collateral damage in 2019, leading many ISPs to adopt better Internet routing hygiene measures, which will dramatically decline these issues in 2020. Similarly, DDoS attacks will decline overall, particularly in the US and Europe. 

DNS, as an often overlooked service, may be ripe for a major disruption or compromise that could cause ripple effects across the wider Internet. Past DNS attacks such as Dyn have had a huge blast radius, causing widespread outages and creating a devastating impact on businesses - so enterprises should prepare (or brace) themselves for the inevitability of a DNS breakage.

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About the Author

Angelique Medina

Angelique has spent years in technical marketing roles related to network infrastructure and network visibility. When not writing, she enjoys lifting heavy barbells and jumping on boxes.

Published Thursday, December 19, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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