Author: Craig Mathias, Principal, Farpoint Group
“KodaCloud is re-defining the organizational network. What we’re seeing here isn’t just the future of Wi-Fi in enterprise, government and beyond, but in fact the re-definition of organizational IT itself away from ever-more boxes and towards easily-scalable and very cost-effective services.”
For the past couple of years, we’ve been asking a single, simple question of some our clients and even a few other networking and IT analysts: what does the network of the next five to ten years look like? Like many other long-term participants in the most important end of IT, we’ve grown up with massive network infrastructures, dozens of different classes of boxes for core and edge networking, security, performance optimization, and, of course, the rapid and downright exciting evolution of Wi-Fi itself.
The answer here, I believe, isn’t really all that surprising: less is more. And by that I mean that the emphasis in networking and IT strategy overall has shifted to simplicity – fewer boxes, flatter networks, simpler infrastructures, and, at least for small-to mid-sized organizations (so far, anyway), an emerging shift to networking (and even parts of the rest of IT) as a service (WaaS, NaaS, ITaaS, etc.). The rise of highly-capable, multi-client-centric managed services providers (MSPs) along with products directed squarely at these suppliers is making it easy for even small firms to have access to big-organization networking.
And that’s an important development, because those big-organization networks depend on a few very important characteristics, as follows:
- Capacity – The ability to handle all types of user traffic and a broad range of approved BYOD devices and other clients (like the emerging Internet of Things), and to easily and transparently scale as traffic demands increase over time – as they always do.
- Security – The requirements for information and network security are irrespective of the size of a given organization. IT infrastructure is either secure, or it isn’t – and isn’t, isn’t an option.
- Ease of Use – Networking has historically been a challenging field of endeavor, at least in part due to the constant evolution of both wired and wireless capabilities, but the convergence we’ve seen in recent years to Wi-Fi access points (APs), Ethernet switches providing power to and interconnecting those APs, and a connection to the Internet form the basis of any network today. Installing, configuring, growing, and otherwise managing this conceptually-simple infrastructure shouldn’t require a degree in computer science – or a full-time staff of on-site professionals.
Especially for small-to mid-sized organizations today, then, those MSPs we noted above are already installing and supporting solutions that meet all of these requirements, and at a cost far below that of the historical strategy of purchasing ever-more equipment that is often obsolete even before it’s fully-depreciated.
And the keys to success for those MSPs lie in Cloud-based solutions designed for multi-client operations, the application of sophisticated artificial-intelligence (AI) techniques for management and analytics, and products designed for ease of use by mere mortals. This new direction is perhaps the most interesting and important for IT overall, because, guess what? Ultimately, even larger organizations are going to adopt this strategy when they discover its inherent flexibility and cost advantages.
Less is absolutely more with IT as a service in the Cloud.