Making your clients’ networks smart enough Posted on May 10, 2017 by Adam Burke The software-defined, self-optimizing network architecture that ’s so essential to your clients ’ ability to stay in business demands intelligence across the entire network – not just your clients ’ network core but their network edge, too. Why network intelligence must extend from the core to the edge It’s at the network edge where the immense data traffic demands of always-on businesses, highly mobile customers, and all those IoT (Internet of Things) devices must be met. This makes the network edge the first line of defense against malware infiltration, a critically important bridge between your clients’ business and their customers, a strategic portal for your clients’ apps and services, and the prime place for collecting the data that feeds your clients’ analytic engines. To accomplish all this, your clients’ networks need intelligence everywhere, whether it’s provided on-site or via cloud and managed services. Are your clients’ networks ready for business? What keeps your clients competitive is changing faster than their network environments, so I offer some questions to ask them about their own operations as well as their service providers’: Network architecture Can your clients’ network architectures support virtualization? Are they end-to-end – i.e., from client to cloud? Are your clients’ network architectures capable of end-to-end automation? Are they open and standards-based? Can they support controller-based programmability? What about enabling cloud services, mobile, IoT, and data analytics? Network security Does your clients’ network security extend from the core to the edge? Can it act as a network-wide security sensor and intelligence dashboard? Can it dynamically enforce contextual network security policies and use predictive analytics to automatically spot and prevent emerging threats? Quality of service Are your clients’ network architectures able to universally apply Quality of Service (QoS)? Can they automate QoS and automatically adapt to ensure app performance and user experience? Network automation Are your clients able to create and configure network-wide policy and services using standard APIs and traditional interfaces? Have they deployed controller-based network automation that stretches across their entire networks, not just a few domains? Have they integrated analytics, policy, and automation to make their network self-optimizing? Network analytics Can your clients’ network analytics deliver visualization of activity from core to edge? Can their network analytics spot anomalies and threats in real time? Do their analytics support distributed and cloud-based IoT analytics and provide real-time insights into customer and employee actions? Often, network intelligence can be built incrementally with an affordable mix of cloud, managed services, and on-site options. A trusted technology consultant with deep network experience can help you help them.