Last night we opened up ITEXPO 2017 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a diversity of visitors who had a lot to talk about. We here at Fiber Mountain like to have survey questions and ask booth visitors one question per day of the conference. Yesterday’s question: “What trends do you predict will drive the most networking change in 2017?” Experts love to discuss their perspectives and challenges they are experiencing and we like to share with our readers. All those who take the time to participate are entered in a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate, and the first fifteen to answer each day also get a Starbucks gift card!
The responses covered a wide range of topics, which is what I would expect in an independent conference that is a general "IT for business" type of event and non-vendor specific. Three of our participants discussed the growth of bandwidth needs from a service provider perspective.
One was moving many business clients directly from DSL and copper deployments to broadband fiber. At first glance, you might not think of this as a jump in bandwidth, but it makes sense if the clients have not upgraded from 10/100 MB Ethernet on site and now are moving to 1/10 GB capabilities as they upgrade to modern networks. Other respondants mentioned a large number of clients moving to higher speeds and driving the need for fiber.
We also had multiple responses relating to the movement to NFV, SDN and SD-WAN implementation. Service providers are implementing feature services using NFV (Network Function Virtualization) and SDN services for clients. These responses are consistent with what we have learned from our customers.
You need to ask many more questions however, to understand what they mean by "SDN". The definition still is very broad and eventually gets to applications being upgraded and implemented using SDN architectures. In this case, they point to APIs and integration with existing systems as the only way to migrate customers. This is what opens up opportunities for systems integrators/resellers/consultants to help both service providers and clients to prioritize and implement.
One interesting response came from a former Gartner analyst. He has moved to the software space but sees the big trends being SDN, tunability of networks, elasticity of networks and everything on demand as a service. Because of Fiber Mountain’s offerings, he also discussed innovation at the physical layer. He believes it is great to see the previously forgotten physical layer getting attention to finally bring the network foundation to new levels of software controlled and managed state.
Other responses covered the always-important energy efficiency and PUE in data centers needing to be improved in the changing landscape of network upgrades; the continued growth of BYOD and associated security and management of these devices in a corporate environment; and the growth of wireless in corporate environment is driving the need for fiber in their specific network.
One last respondant (one of three colleagues) felt that all questions regarding trends in 2017 require the same response: “Trump.” We never discussed the politics of it, but couldn't deny that it's an interesting “What’s trending” angle.
Overall, we thank everyone who took the time to participate in our survey. We will ask a new question today and I will write a post tomorrow to share what we learned.