Public Clouds Are Disrupting Enterprise Network Management

Sep 14, 2018 3:31:41 PM

Network managers who are supporting the migration of critical applications to the public cloud will need a new set of tools for engineering and operations.

For our Network Management Megatrend 2018 research, EMA asked 250 network managers to describe their overall tool strategy for monitoring and troubleshooting external cloud services, only 16% said they were using their incumbent tools. Instead, 72% say they need new tools. This includes 32% who use new management tools in combination with their incumbent tools and 26% who use new tools exclusively for cloud management. Fourteen percent are still searching for a solution.

This is not a trivial adjustment. Tools are often the foundation of the network team’s established processes and best practices. When the cloud forces them to acquire new management solutions, there will be pain.

Network Management Challenges in the Cloud

EMA’s research also asked network managers to identify their top external cloud management challenges. Their top problem is securing access to public cloud services (34%). This is unsurprising given that previous EMA research has found that more than half of distributed enterprises allow their branch offices to connect directly to public cloud services. The hub-and-spoke WAN with a central security architecture doesn’t work in a cloud-centric enterprise. Engineers can’t backhaul cloud traffic from the branch to the data center without introducing latency. And cloud-based UC applications like voice and video conferencing will be especially sensitive to any jitter and packet loss introduced by hub-and-spoke security architectures. Network engineers need a new secure access approach for the cloud.

Several other issues are secondarily challenging to network managers. Twenty-six percent said monitoring and troubleshooting internet-based cloud connectivity is leading challenge. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) presents two significant challenges. Twenty-five percent identified network segmentation in IaaS as a major struggle and 24% are daunted by monitoring and troubleshooting IaaS performance.

The number of network teams tackling all of these problems will only increase, so ignore them at your own peril. Today the average enterprise attributes 45% of its network traffic to external cloud services. Also, public cloud is the second most influential broad IT initiative (35%) on network management decision-making today. Only software-defined data center projects have a bigger impact on network management strategies today. It’s time to prepare for cloud network management. EMA will plans to research this topic extensively toward the end of this year.

Shamus McGillicuddy

Written by Shamus McGillicuddy

Shamus has more than nine years of experience in the IT industry, primarily as a journalist covering the network infrastructure market. At Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), he is the senior analyst for the network management practice. Prior to joining EMA, Shamus was the news director for TechTarget's networking publications. He led the news team's coverage of all networking topics, from the infrastructure layer to the management layer. He has published hundreds of articles about the technology and competitive positioning of networking products and vendors. He was a founding editor of TechTarget's website SearchSDN.com, a leading resource for technical information and news on the software-defined networking industry.

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