Network functions virtualization takes off, even without SDN. 2015 will see continued development of SDN technologies, and buyer confusion will not abate as the incumbent switch and router vendors jockey for position. But NFV, already being widely deployed into service providers, will make its way into “classical” enterprise networks without the need for any SDN refresh (which, curiously, may require new hardware). Virtualized network functions allow organizations to dynamically provision networks wherever they’re needed, on an on-demand basis, independent of any underlying fabric.
Data breaches grow larger and more frequent. Unfortunately, the relentless pace of data breaches in 2014 will continue in 2015. Traditional security tactics, such as relying on “hardened” perimeters and rigid mobile device management will have little effect at slowing down the bad guys. Enterprises should shift investments and spend more on detection and response. Visibility across all applications, networks, and devices is the first critical step toward improving overall security posture. Establishing a baseline of what’s “normal” helps to better isolate actual threats and respond accordingly.
Hybrid architectures become the norm. Even though cloud computing and third party hosting will continue their rapid expansion, on-premise IT will remain a reality for 2015 and beyond. The resulting hybrid infrastructure stack will create challenges for most organizations—including architectural “collisions,” where design patterns for on-premise development and deployment don’t translate well (or at all) into cloud. Working through these challenges will require more sophisticated models, policies, identity/access controls, and coding practices to ensure that end-user needs are met consistently across all platforms.
Decision-making becomes primarily driven by actionable analytics. As visibility, control, and optimization are brought to hybrid networks it will become increasingly important to construct an analytics-driven infrastructure that can take action when problems occur anywhere in the network. In 2015, more IT organizations will begin instrumenting network architectures with predictive analytics to create self-correcting, self-generating networks that respond to business needs and intents. This will be an ongoing trend starting in 2015.
Location transforms from a constraint into a feature. The technologies that will emerge in 2015—full stack virtualization, pervasive visibility, and hybrid deployments—will create a form of infrastructure mobility that allows organizations to optimize for location of data, applications, and people. Regulatory policies that govern data locations will cease to become an impediment, and rapid access to that data will become possible for anyone, regardless of where they may happen to reside. Organizations that adopt these technologies will achieve new kinds of competitive advantages as a result.