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Every technology-focused article you read these days seems to mention the alarming speed of IT infrastructure innovations. And while this is largely true, we can't simply marvel at the rapid pace and aimlessly chase after the latest and greatest cloud service or money-saving innovation. Instead, now is the time where we as IT decision-makers need to slow our thought processes in order to truly assess which of the countless new infrastructure technologies and trends will have the largest effect on our particular business. In this article, we are going to look at four different infrastructure technologies and how we feel they will make a significant impact on the network infrastructure in 2017.
Network functions virtualization
In 2016, we had a great number of conversations regarding software-defined networking infrastructure technologies and the benefits they could provide enterprise organizations in the form of increased data flow intelligence and automation. And while SDN was successful in affecting portions of the network, such as the WAN, end-to-end SDN implementations were extremely rare because of the need to rip and replace large portions of the network.
In 2017, look for IT to shift its focus away from SDN and onto far more practical and realistic network functions virtualization (NFV) initiatives. By virtualizing network services that were previously run on dedicated hardware, NFV provides the flexibility to scale and pivot networks, depending on where the business needs resources most. In turn, NFV also provides a wonderful foundation to start the eventual migration to an end-to-end SDN architecture in the future.
Internet of things
The internet of things (IoT) has been discussed at great length over the past few years. And it has been predicted that 2017 is going to be the year where projects and funding ramp up to have a significant effect on the infrastructure. But it must be pointed out that looming security concerns are going to delay projects -- and potentially slow the overall effect of IoT in the coming year. So, while the impact of IoT will be felt, it won't be as big as many predicted. And if you do have IoT projects slated to start in the coming months, be prepared to be met with resistance due to concerns over data loss and other security issues.
In the data center, hyper-convergence is going to completely change the game in 2017. Legacy data centers that treat compute, storage, network and virtualization as independent silos -- both physically and logically -- will have to be reworked in order to truly take advantage of what a software-centric approach can provide. And while capital investment will be required to redesign and retrofit data centers to the new hyper-converged infrastructure model, that investment will quickly be recouped in both CapEx and OpEx infrastructure technologies savings in the future.
And, finally, no 2017 technology prediction list would be complete without discussing what effect the cloud will have on your IT organization. In 2016, infrastructure technologies' administrators finally learned to fully trust the cloud computing model. Thus, in 2017, expect to see a host of "critical" applications that absolutely had to remain on premises finally be migrated to the cloud. This includes not only proprietary and legacy applications, but also critical infrastructure services, including unified communication servers for voice and video.
For those of us on the side of IT infrastructure, 2017 is shaping up to be intriguing. The potential for newer, better and cheaper options is all around us. And considering the list of impactful technology trends we've outlined, we should all expect a busy year. The biggest challenge right now, however, is to think and choose wisely about which technologies are most important for your IT department and your organization as a whole.
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How networking infrastructure affects cloud computing
Hyper-converged infrastructure pros and cons
IoT infrastructure takes flight