What's in store for enterprise networks in 2002? A new attitude. Gone is the cavalier optimism of 2000 that spawned scads of optical networking firms and the ill-begotten Pets.com and. Now we're lucky if we're not signing up for membership at PlanetPinkSlip.com. And while we're beginning to recover from the shock of this year's layoff after layoff and carrier closures, the outlook going forward will be cautious, at best. Network managers will scrutinize every product and service, and only those that are completely necessary and technologically sound will be deemed worthy. Managing the network you already have, and doing more with it, will be central focus. Other trends to watch for:
- New disaster planning efforts are underway, and many enterprises will start implementation in the New Year. Network engineers must be more aware of critical data and where it is stored, and will find themselves shaking hands with the storage folks more often.
- Network security will be more important than ever. We'll see an unprecedented emphasis on physical security, and developing a corporate security policy will be an agenda item for more IT departments.
- Voice over Internet Protocol will keep gaining ground in the market. Although this technology has yet to find its killer app, businesses that are building new infrastructure or faced with replacing aging phone systems will choose VoIP for the long-term cost savings it offers.
- This is the year that wireless will finally take off! Just kidding. End-users will still think that wireless gadgets are beyond cool, but few enterprise-class network engineers will be implementing wireless on anything resembling a large scale.