Data-center networking was already changing prior to the technology challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and few areas of the enterprise will continue to be affected more than data centers by those modifications in the future.
That’s because myriad technologies are driving changes in the data center—everything from heavy demand for higher-speed networking, support for a remote workforce, increased security, tighter management and perhaps the biggest alteration—the prolific growth of cloud services.
Cloud is key
“The pandemic shifted many multi-year digital transformation and modernization projects to occur rapidly,” said Alan Weckel, founder and technology analyst with the 650 Group. “The way cloud changed networking 10 years ago is similar to the impact COVID is having now—rapid transitions to new technologies to support new workloads, and humans interacting differently with those workloads. This is especially true in edge data centers.”
With increased work-at-home policies, employees no longer sit in the office just a short distance from the data center, Weckel said. “Data had to move rapidly, and networking bandwidth and the ingress/egress needed to be adjusted to support remote workers and remote customers. Networking in the data center must now support more cloud applications and services.”
Indeed, the name of the game for enterprise data center customers is the cloud, experts say.
“Enterprises have known for a long time that the cloud model is the yardstick for achieving agility and responsiveness,” said Umesh Mahajan, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s NSX Networking. “This model is defined by automation at every level and is typically delivered via software-defined infrastructure.”