Greater Cloud Adoption Adds Complexity Into Enterprise Networking: Study

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Increased cloud adoption is introducing the most complexity into enterprise networking, according to a new study from network traffic intelligence company Kentik.

The network traffic intelligence specialist today published initial results from a survey of Cisco Live 2017 attendees designed to gauge how network challenges are affecting enterprise digital transformations.

“The results reveal that cloud adoption is still the most vexing factor in increased network complexity, ahead of the Internet of Things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV),” the company said.

Thirty six percent of 203 IT professionals surveyed during the conference said adopting cloud computing adds the greatest network complexity to their organizations, followed by IoT (21 percent), SDN (12 percent) and NFV (3 percent).

“In addition, while machine learning is strongly embraced as an important technology for network management, most organizations aren’t yet ready for network automation. In fact, most are still in the process of gaining sound operational visibility, integrating network management tool stacks, and implementing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) security for their cloud and digital initiatives.”

Other key findings of the survey released early include:

Most organizations still have room to improve operational visibility for cloud and digital business networking: Only 20 percent of survey respondents think their organizations are doing an excellent job of monitoring the performance and security of their cloud and Internet dependencies — for example, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Web APIs and Web services. Another 25 percent reported that their organizations are doing a below-average to poor job. Organizations need better DDoS detection capabilities: Despite the spike in DDoS attacks, including those hitting Dyn in October and Cloudflare in December, only 32 percent of respondents reported that their company is using DDoS detection technology to manage security of their cloud and internet dependencies. Machine learning is a priority, but most aren’t ready for automation: 60 percent of respondents said machine learning is “extremely important” or “very important” for network management. However, only 14 percent said their organization is ready for full network management automation.

“There is a lot of noise in our industry right now about intuitive systems and new-age machine learning that can monitor, identify and react to network conditions before issues occur. However, dozens of our largest customers have been telling us, and our survey results from Cisco Live support, that the key 2016 and 2017 enterprise efforts have focused on getting complete visibility into increasingly hybrid network complexity; detecting and preventing DDoS; and integrating tools that can provide operational and business value from network analytics,” said Avi Freedman, co-founder and CEO of Kentik.

“Full automation outside of constrained data center and cloud topologies is still a vision that customers are tracking, but network operators say that they need deeper and comprehensive visibility into their network’s performance and security before they can let their networks run autonomously. Real-time network traffic intelligence is a critical component for network operators supporting their organizations with digital transformation,” he added.

In describing the survey methodology, Kentik said respondents came from more than 12 industries and held job titles ranging from network engineers and network architects to infrastructure managers, directors and executives. Most respondents work at organizations with 1,000 or more employees.