Stronger network software revolution and NFV adoption
In 2015, the network software revolution continued and, in 2016, this will get even stronger as more network stalwarts release software versions of their legacy products. Companies on the leading edge of the network software revolution are shipping more than 75 percent of their products as software - and that adoption curve should continue. While the industry continues to navigate its way through the deluge of varying SDN technologies and products, the adoption of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) within service providers will start to take off. Service providers are starting to realise that they can start virtualising network functions using software today. As a result, there will be a significant increase in the adoption of NFV, independent of SDN roll-outs.
The emergence of more powerful analytics and visibility techniques
Over the next year, powerful analytics and visibility techniques will also emerge as a growing trend. Indeed, as the amount of network health information collected increases, enterprises will want to identify broader usage trends and gain insight into the gigabytes of raw network data to find the 'needle in the haystack' when troubleshooting network and application issues. Service providers will also play a critical role here in helping to deliver these techniques, not least because SD-WAN technology is capable of bringing agility and automation to the network. For example, if there's a new security threat that's emerged and a new network policy needs to be added, the entire process can be automated with SD-WANs, saving huge amounts of time, costs and risks involved when hiring an engineer to remove the security threat.
Ultimately, 2016 will be a big year for service providers as SD-WAN becomes the enterprise norm. This will be driven by the onslaught of 4G LTE deployments, the adoption of software solutions and NFV, and businesses looking for greater insight into the health of their network. Service providers must, therefore, ensure that they stay one step ahead of these trends, otherwise they could find themselves falling behind their competitors.
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