5 Top Cloud Networking Trends

Trends in the cloud networking market shift rapidly, as the enterprise adjusts its hardware and software components to meet the growing data demands of users, both in corporate and residential settings. From helping with remote workers to offering new networking solutions, cloud networking offers more than ever. 

The cloud networking market has made it easier for companies to use intent-based networking, business intelligence (BI), configuration management, and services such as software-defined, cloud, edge, and networking solutions.

For more network trends: Top Network Segmentation Trends

Top 5 Cloud Networking Trends

1. Enterprise Network Strategy In The User’s Home

Changing workforce expectations have led many companies to a more globally distributed remote workforce – a trend that also rises with the cloud. 

As a result, enterprise networking infrastructure now has to support users in their homes.

Drit Suljoti, co-founder and CTO of Catchpoint, a digital experience monitoring platform provider, explained that consumer-grade networking technology does not always offer the levels of support and visibility necessary for remote work, which is increasingly becoming a problem.

“Organizations across the board have experienced the frustrations and performance volatility that can result from consumer-grade WiFi, VPN clients, and increased dependence on the internet from the employee’s wider household,” Suljoti said. “At the ground level, how can IT support desks ensure they have the necessary visibility into the daily digital life of their remote employees? 

“These mission-critical teams need the ability to understand the digital performance of an individual’s device, network, and applications, and the third-party providers they rely on. This is even more essential when employees are working remotely, without on-site support to troubleshoot performance issues.”

Bob Friday, VP and CTO of Mist, Juniper’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven enterprise business, believes that many companies are starting to respond to this remote work shift by increasing networking security and monitoring their employees’ remote work environments.

“[A] major shift is in how enterprise-level networking trends are becoming increasingly important for personal users as well,” Friday said. “Whether you’re an executive at a company or you work in a profession that puts you into contact with sensitive information, the continued normalization of remote and hybrid work environments means that enterprise-grade networking and security will move into the home networking space.

“To ensure end-to-end network visibility, reliability, and security, we can expect enterprise-grade networking solutions to begin permeating remote and hybrid workforces, as enterprise IT teams take an even sharper look at their network edge.”

2. Networking With Remote AI Support

Users and enterprise devices often need technical support that was normally provided in the office. As remote work – again, supported by the cloud – continues to become a standard approach, many companies are adopting AI solutions to assist with customer experience (CX) and support requirements of the network.

“More help is needed in managing this critical infrastructure, which is why AI has become a necessity for network management,” said Friday. “Enterprises and technology providers have already adopted AI assistants in their networking support teams. Cloud AI has enabled a new tech support model, one that has created the volume and quality of data necessary to train AI technologies. 

“This AIOps model has led to incredible progress. At present, AI can answer up to 70% of support tickets with the same effectiveness as a domain expert. Eventually, this AIOps technology will move all the way to the end-user. 

“And like the average human employee, AI has the ability to learn and improve over time, thus providing a better customer experience consistently and proactively. But unlike the average human employee, that skill and expertise is not lost when they retire or quit. The more that AI is used as part of the IT help desk, the more the technology can improve its answers and, ultimately, the end-user experience.”

3. The Growth Of Intent-Based Networking (IBN)

Networking technology continues to grow more sophisticated. Particularly with the more widespread use of software-defined networking (SDN), intent-based networking is being used more in enterprise networks that want additional business intelligence (BI), configuration management, and other features embedded in their networks. All of these feature are part of the growing sophistication of cloud technology. 

Eric McGee, senior network engineer at TRG Datacenters, a data center vendor, explained why IBN is helpful to network administrators who want to better understand and manage their networks.

“One important networking technology trend that network engineers need to take note of is the emergence of intent-based networking,” McGee said. “The main role of IBN is to capture business intent and apply these insights across the network, ensuring that network administration is aligned with business intent. In other words, the IBN framework will receive an intent from the business and translate it, or encode it into the configuration of the network, resulting in the desired changes. Now, the network infrastructure is aligned with the business’s current needs.

“IBN also enables the automation of network administrative tasks involved, such as the configuration of networks, mitigation of risks, as well as the reporting and solving of network issues. Implementing IBN as a form of network administration makes the process of creating, managing, implementing, and monitoring network policies easier, simpler, and less labor-intensive. A lot of the manual effort put into traditional configuration management is made redundant when IBN is implemented.”

4. Holistic Networking Offerings

Traditional networking solutions typically need a variety of hardware and software components to work properly. 

However, as networks continue to evolve their software-defined, cloud, edge, and solutions, many networking vendors are offering more holistic networking packages to manage every aspect of the network.

Patrick MeLampy, Juniper Fellow at Juniper Networks, a top global networking company, believes that enterprise client-to-cloud connectivity is one of the biggest drivers behind more unified networking packages.

“I’d have to say that there are a few key networking trends that are gaining steam,” MeLampy said. “Enterprise client-to-cloud connectivity service offerings will take off. This means we’ll see Wi-Fi, wired, routing, and security capabilities pulled together, all in one simple offering, making it more efficient and effective for teams to manage ever-expanding networks.”

For more on cloud networking: The Cloud Networking Market

5. Managing Network Data With Different Ops Methodologies

With more software- and cloud-based networking solutions used across the board, several companies are looking into new ways to manage and read their networking data.

Richard Larkin, manager of North America sales engineering at NetBrain, a next-gen network operations company, believes that the knowledge and approach of different ops teams are particularly applicable to new ways of automating network data management. 

“The days of managing networks with SNMP polling and traps as well as Syslog data are almost over,” Larkin said. “Many enterprises still leverage these telemetry sources, but it’s not enough. We need a more comprehensive solution harvesting data, from API, CLI, packet, netflow, and other sources, to get the complete picture as well as visibility into SD-WAN, SDN, cloud, and SaaS offerings.

“A trend that I am seeing is the blending and blurring of lines between NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps. With networks becoming more software-defined and cloud-based, organizations are trying to fill the gap of the traditional network monitoring data (SNMP, Syslog, etc.) with homegrown solutions using Python, Ansible, and other coding. What would be interesting is if there was an easier way to codify the knowledge of the NetOps teams that required minimal coding and can be produced in minutes, not hours, days, and weeks.”

For more on networking management: The Network Management Market

The Future Of Cloud Networking

With the vitality in cloud networking for businesses, these trends above will further develop in the future, offering more opportunities for the growing market. From automation and network efficiency, businesses will see more benefits than ever.

Looking ahead, the future developments in cloud networking may include:

  • Networking automation: Using network automation will help a company with a variety of tasks, including configuring, provisioning, managing, and testing network devices.
  • Network-as-a-Service (NaaS): NaaS is a cloud model that allows users to control their network and attain the performance they expect from it without having to own, build, or maintain their infrastructure.
  • 5G Cellular: 5G, the latest cellular update, allows a new network designed to connect virtually, including machines, devices, and more.
  • Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6 is the new release for Wi-Fi network protocol that can be faster than its predecessors due to more focus on traffic and other technologies.
  • Network Efficiency: With improved network scalability in the next couple of years, traffic will be aggregated for IP and Ethernet platforms. 
  • Universal Networks: In the future, networking will have the ability to add new protocols and functions for better service. This can include services such as Ethernet services, mobile services, and more.

Along with the listed predictions and processes, more technologies are developing in networking, including AI, ML, the cloud, edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and more as they continue to play an increasingly important role in the future of networking

Bottom Line: Top Cloud Networking Trends

With remote training becoming a necessity in businesses, networking can help manage workers at home with a network strategy and remote AI support – a trend that leverages cloud networking to a great extent. 

Companies can use tools such as software-defined networking (SDN), intent-based networking, business intelligence (BI), and configuration management through their networking infrastructure.

Networking used to be based on hardware-defined networking, increasingly also offers services such as software-defined, cloud, edge, and networking solutions. 

For more information: Top 10 Enterprise Networking Companies

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