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Flexential 2020 Predictions: Building Secure and Robust Delivery Platforms in the age of 5G

VMblog Predictions 2020 

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

By Jason Carolan, Chief Innovation Officer at Flexential

Building Secure and Robust Delivery Platforms in the age of 5G

While businesses may not be implementing 5G technology directly by 2020, this technology will be a crucial component in the evolution of "always on" network enabled computing, like cloud computing, data center optimization,  AI and more. Organizations are already beginning to reap the benefits of the rollout in preparation for 5G implementation. In the near term, we will see the expansion of fiber for more connectivity and robustness - supporting more bandwidth, diversity of routes, diversity of carriers, and added redundancy to systems that will evolve throughout the next decade. While not 5G yet, we are seeing immediate benefit to this network expansion. Underpinning this expansion and resulting reliance is a layer of security - how can we better secure network traffic as we continue to grow services.

As 5G continues to roll out, 5G site-to-site will also be very useful for organizations. This will allow additional redundancy or bandwidth as an alternative to fiber in the ground, and improve overall network availability as well. This "always on" availability of trusted (aka permission based and secure - see below) network access will continue to power how workloads are delivered in critical scenarios across businesses and organizations worldwide. This is a win for everyone - hospitals and clinics, smart cities, small and large businesses, as it offers more choice and diversity, while increasing critical availability of services.

As we rely more on the 5G network-centric delivery, security becomes even more paramount. As the diversity increases for network connectivity, the risk and threat of on-going security issues continues - with the growth of devices on the network. Cloud users navigate a plethora of network connection options: 5G vs fiber or both, VPNs, NAT gateways, public IP, private connections, and SD-WAN. All these will play a role in providing end connectivity but the workload and how it relates back to the other components of the network, in addition to the authentication of apps, users, etc., are the most important. These "trust relationship" will become more dominant as the network growth continues.  Many technology owners are trying to shift from just blocking traffic - "blacklisting" to specifically allowing traffic or "white listing" or permissioned-based networking which is an area where VMware's NSX network excels. It can be deployed across servers, VMs, Amazon Web Services, desktops and end-points - securing the full end-to-end 5G experience. 

More specifically, this rollout is also having immediate effects on the media and entertainment industries as we see 5G used extensively in video streaming. With consumer demand for diversified viewing experiences, networks are leaning into 5G-enabled networks to support the speed of video. For example, sports franchises like MLB are working to differentiate their fan experience by giving their fans access to live-stream games and have real time data access, both at the time of play and historic. Those live-streams require a robust network and a modernized framework to deploy. A few key enablers for 5G are 5G radio technology itself and 5G towers. 5G radio technology is extremely robust and can shape different frequencies to be used in various ways. Here's how it would work. If you are standing close to a tower, you may have 10-20  Gbps of upload capacity, but if you were farther away, you might have only 1 Gbps. Applications close to the 5G radio have much more throughput, enabled by the unique radio technology developed for 5G and the use of NFV - network function virtualization.

5G deployment wouldn't happen without the fiber in the ground being expanded today. Another benefit of this expansion is the number of devices that can be on the 5G network. Some studies have already estimated that we are near four to five smart devices per person with that expected to grow to seven over the next two years. These devices need access to networks and are increasingly accessing "always on" cellular at least in part, vs WIFI. To achieve this growth, there will be 5G towers in office buildings and shopping malls in any given city or suburb, which will also be closer to large data centers. This increase in cell towers decreases the amount of time it takes to get data from an application to a nearby data center. That proximity will massively reduce latency in metro areas, which will be critical as more applications are deployed in cities, and more data is generated. There will also be a growth in "modular data centers" or MDCs that will provide limited network-enabled capacity near a cell tower or other location, like a parking lot or even on a tarmac. While these services may not have the same level of robustness a true data center might have, they do enable diversified, low latency deployments that power these next gen applications for real time processing. 

Another use case is the autonomous vehicle. A vehicle will produce around 1 terabytes of data a day and consume up to 4 TB of data a day. In conjunction with smart vehicles, another real world use case is controlling traffic, even for our "old school" not so smart cars. Consider three cities or jurisdictions within a ten square mile radius of each other in Colorado working together to manage traffic through synchronizing traffic lights to move vehicles more efficiently. They are doing this through video capture, and they need the data back from data centers in real-time over a robust network. They would not be able to do that unless that video data is sitting close to the source and moving quickly through networks. This data and interface must also be secure - quickly changing traffic lights is not safe. We can only expect this type of collaboration and innovation to grow with the rollout of 5G, as well as the need to secure this connectivity. 

As more and more network services grow, so will the reliance of having multiple network technologies at play like cellular, fiber, WIFI, etc., to enable the "always" on experience we need to have to support our next generation of computing. As an industry we are realizing that data security needs to have more robust model implemented such as "white listing" to be successful; all the way to end points and the "end human." I'm glad it's happening today and excited to see what tomorrow brings!


About the Author

Jason Carolan 

Jason Carolan, Chief Innovation Officer, Flexential, is in a unique position to focus on next-generation technologies and their impact on colocation, interconnection, hybrid cloud and edge computing strategies. He and his team translate the market trends into strategic initiatives that inform the investment decisions across the company’s product development and go-to-market strategies. A seasoned speaker, Jason also maintains executive management of Flexential Professional Services, a growing team of consulting architects, project managers and engineers who assist organizations with complex transformations initiatives. With over 20+ years of industry experience, Jason joined the company in 2011 and has held various leadership roles in product, operations and technical management.
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2020 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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