The State of the Network is … In the Clouds. Guess Where Your Applications Are?
May 17, 2016

Steve Brown
Viavi Solutions

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We've come a long way from the days when all enterprise applications were hosted on-premise in the internal data center. The enterprise network is being propelled further and further away from the data center … and into the cloud. Viavi's ninth annual State of the Network global study provides ample evidence of this and also shows how incredibly rapidly this is happening.

The State of the Network study is conducted each year to highlight network trends and examine the challenges that IT teams are facing. In fact, the seismic shifts occurring in the enterprise network are presenting a number of interesting challenges for Application Performance Management (APM), both for today and the near future.

Based on insight gathered from CIOs, IT directors, analysts and network engineers around the world, the adoption of next-generation infrastructure technologies is accelerating at an ever faster pace. Fifty-four percent of State of the Network study respondents expect bandwidth requirements to grow by half in 2016, and 48 percent expect them to double by the end of 2017. As a result, enterprises are significantly increasing their deployment of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE), public and private cloud, and software-defined networking (SDN).

Moving to the Cloud

The expected growth in bandwidth demand is clearly a factor behind the transition to the cloud, but it's not the only driving force. Enterprise networks also are being held to a higher standard of availability and performance than ever before, and the cloud enables improved service availability, reliability and network resource provisioning. And, yet, despite the strategic motivations for cloud-based architecture, it is the almighty dollar that is providing the biggest push into the cloud. 62 percent of study respondents were seeking lower operating expenses with a cloud infrastructure and 53 percent were looking to reduce capital expenses.

This year's study found that 66 percent of respondents have turned to public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, Google's Cloud Platform and Microsoft's Azure, and 54 percent have deployed private cloud platforms. In fact, nearly 90 percent of study respondents have at least one application in the cloud, and 28 percent already host the majority of their applications there.

By 2017, more than four out of five will be using public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure, and more than half expect to have the majority of their applications in the cloud. A particularly interesting finding is that more than half of all respondents are using two or more public cloud vendors, potentially creating unique challenges for application visibility and management.

Additionally, two out of three respondents have already deployed some facet of SDN as well. This was surprising, given that in the 2015 study, SDN adoption was projected to be just 51 percent by the end of 2016, with slightly less than half of respondents saying they had no plans at all.

Cloud Forecast: Reduced Visibility

As cloud and hybrid cloud networking becomes more commonplace, applications can now span across environments. Today's IT professionals are being challenged to manage workloads and provision interconnections between on-premises, private cloud and even multiple third-party cloud vendors.

Among the challenges cited in the 2016 State of the Network study, the top issues related to application monitoring in the cloud are reduced visibility and control, tracking end user experience, and SLA enforcement. Almost nine in 10 respondents cite each of these issues as being very or somewhat challenging.

In fact, for the first time in the study's nine-year history, the top challenge in application monitoring is no longer "isolating the problem to the network, system or application." Instead, 60 percent defined the primary issue as "tracking application bugs and patches."

For enterprises deploying or operating hybrid clouds, the move outside the internal data center presents significant risk of losing performance monitoring capabilities of resources spread across physical, virtual and cloud hosting environments. When it comes to comprehensive monitoring of an increasingly hybrid network environment, it's important for IT teams to work closely with application performance management vendors to keep a close eye on enterprise resources as they navigate this uncharted territory.

Steve Brown is Director of Enterprise Solutions at Viavi Solutions.


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