Network Infrastructure Is Changing – Don’t Be Left Behind
Networks are at the heart of every enterprise, especially nowadays with increasingly complex environments where – a mobile workforce, decentralized office model, the need for a hybrid network environment, as well as more stringent cost controls – are highly sought after to ensure efficiency and strategic business growth.
While traditional network architectures are stable and reliable, what enterprises need and increasing want are agile, flexible and cost-effective solutions to the above challenges.
With the slow but steady rise of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), the industry is realizing the benefits that a simplified and streamlined network could bring, especially for enterprises operating in the highly-fragmented Asia-Pacific market.
A Fragmented Network Story In The Asia-Pacific Region
The problems that arise from a fragmented network landscape is most evident in the Asia-Pacific Region. Enterprises have to deal with problems such as geo-political lines, which means that each country has their own regulatory environment or that many areas are separated by physical barriers. What’s more, enterprises may work with numerous local network service providers, each with their own challenges.
More specifically, the problems that a fragmented network landscape pose come down to four key points: a wide area network adds complexity; bulky networks lack agility, flexibility and cost efficiency; end-point security is an issue; and poor application performance and end-user experience will affect productivity and increase costs.
This is also where NFV and SDN technology can play a key differentiating role, and CIOs in the Asia-Pacific Region are fast realizing their potential. A recent IDC global research study commissioned by NTT Communications revealed that 18% of respondents from Asia are currently using NFV to address network challenges in the region, and over 70% plan to deploy NFV within two years.
NFV & SDN At A Glance
The combination of NFV and SDN offer enterprise networks two main benefits – agility and flexibility – all from the cloud.
NFV removes the need for proprietary hardware by virtualizing and centralizing network functions into software. This gives enterprises greater control over networks, and improves network access flexibility, security and performance.
Complementing NFV is SDN, which enhances network capacity by giving administrators better control over the flow of data. This is especially useful during peak traffic times when there’s a demand for more bandwidth. More importantly, SDN is the architectural model that enables network virtualization and network programmability to data centers and enterprise networks; and it does this by decoupling the control plane from the data forwarding plane, creating a new layer of abstraction in networking to allow management flexibility and lower operational costs.
Together, NFV and SDN offer enterprise network administrators more control and customization options, which ultimately improve the end-user experience and give them more centralized business applications.
Opportunities For Enterprises
By enabling flexible, virtualized on-demand WAN, NFV and SDN have the potential to redefine the telecommunications landscape by changing the fundamental building blocks on which network infrastructures are built, allowing networks to be programmable based on open APIs.
Looking at the numbers, this is even clearer from the same IDC survey, which showed that the majority of global CIOs were interested in deploying – Cloud-based SSL VPN (63.5%), Virtualized/Cloud VPN (55.2%), Cloud-based Secure Web Gateway (45.3%), and Cloud-based IPSEC VPN Gateway (43.2%) – as flexible solutions to answer their main pain points.
More flexible network services with all the benefits of the cloud come with NFV and SDN, and the demand is driving the creation of services such as NTT Communications’ Arcstar Universal One global network.
With increasing reliance on analytics for making business decision, together with the growing demand for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, enterprises face increasing pressure, especially if they wish to keep their businesses competitive in the Asia-Pacific Region. If network infrastructures don’t adapt and change with the times, they’ll become the bottleneck that hinders innovation and sustainable growth.
NTT Com Asia
Executive Vice President
Global Network Business Division
Arcstar Universal One uses SDN and NFV technology to dynamically deliver high performance cloud-based network services to enterprise end-users.
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