|By Unitiv Blog||
|September 17, 2012 06:00 AM EDT||
There was a time – perhaps a decade ago, perhaps more – when the network was simply the network. It was routers and switches and cables and power. It was responsible for carrying data to and fro, and for acting as a hard wall gatekeeper that would prevent data from getting from one place to another.
As time went on, the network added more functions. It connected the network to the Internet, it measured traffic, it acted as a firewall, blocking traffic based on any number of criteria. It dabbled in security, as well.
All of that pressure has brought us to the place where it’s hard to find the right network device that does it all. That’s why, increasingly, IT is turning to network add-ons to help with concerns such as web traffic and cloud computing technology.
There’s been a dramatic shift in the way that network traffic moves over the past few years. As more and more organizations move away from a client-server model of operations, their existing network architectures tend to be a bit outdated and inefficient.
These add-on devices help to transition the old “tree” network architectures into a model that supports a flatter architecture that’s more in line with the needs of organizations relying on cloud computing and virtualization models.
Flattening the network
In some ways, it’s all about flattening the network. The old network was multi-tiered, and needed to be. As network speeds increased from 10 Mb up to today’s 10GB and 40GB systems, the pipe has become bigger. Yet, the way that the network handles its traffic faces so many bottlenecks in the tiered network structure.
In many ways, it’s the mark of a shifting network philosophy, especially in the enterprise.
Another reason organizations are turning to add-ons is to try to make their existing networks more efficient without having to invest in new infrastructure. Consolidation, performance monitoring, and optimization are all really methods used to extend the life cycle of existing equipment.
As time goes on, it will be interesting to see whether these add-ons continue to expand, or whether organizations find more appropriate network infrastructure models (i.e. flatter) that make better use of resources.