Trends that drove a decade of change in networking

While some changes were minimal, others were monumental.

Last updated on April 29, 2021.

The past decade has flown by and changed the networking world profoundly. While some changes were minimal, others were monumental. As we prepare ourselves for a new decade, we took a moment to look back and reflect on the four biggest trends in networking from the last ten years:

The road to network virtualization

We know that network virtualization has been around for a while now – the decoupling of infrastructure services from physical assets helped many enterprises scale up and achieve cost efficiencies. Over the past few years, the industry has come to understand that virtualization doesn’t necessarily lead to a decline in security and configuration management workloads. It only means that those workloads have moved upstream.  In a recent discussion, our Chief Strategy Officer spoke with Dell Technologies and Cerner about the major reasons that led them on the road to network virtualization and the impact of moving to a policy-driven approach.

It’s all about security… in the cloud

Over the last decade, significant security breaches became an everyday occurrence. The cost of implementing a comprehensive security strategy versus the impact of a breach is a no-brainer. But moving to the cloud introduces a whole new world of complications for securing a network. It’s a new attack surface, and the shared responsibility model leaves users with much to do. In this brave new world, IT security teams are looking to the foundations of networking itself, using DNS to secure complex hybrid environments in the cloud.

New school of thought: running IT like a business

At the start of the decade, IT departments were the gatekeepers that provided a one size fits all solution to the whole enterprise. This wasn’t necessarily effective, and it was very expensive. Over the last ten years, the cloud taught business leaders realized that not all IT services are required at all times. This paved the way for an IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) model where networks have the elastic capacity to provide highly available and resilient IT services to other departments within the organization on an as-needed basis.

The rising need of direct Internet access

Back in 2010, the leased line model was very popular. It ensured all queries went back to the main data center to be resolved. Sure it was secure, but also very expensive and didn’t scale well. Over the past decade, large-scale trends like cloud adoption and an increasingly remote workforce meant more consumption of compute and data. This increased the need for direct internet access to ensure that branch offices and remote workers have access to internal and external applications, without having to go through a central corporate data center.

With so many exciting things happening simultaneously, it has hardly been a boring ride. We cannot wait to see what the coming decade has in store for us.

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