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For virtually all companies in all territories, 2022 has been a year of global change and uncertainty – and IT priorities are shifting as businesses adapt to the new environment, according to the Cisco 2023 Global networking trends report.
The report surveyed more than 2,500 IT decision-makers in 13 countries on the role of the network in a successful cloud strategy. It revealed that for IT teams, the pressure is on like never before as they strive to keep up with the ever-evolving demands on them, developing their network technology, talent and operations to drive digital transformation and multicloud initiatives.
One of the standout findings was that lines of business are making their voices heard and are having an increasing influence on network operations planning. For the first time in the history of the Global networking trends report, agility and business performance have overtaken cost and network management as the key concerns for IT teams, with 42% of respondents citing a more agile development environment as their top reason for moving to multiple clouds.
At the same time, organisations were found to be grappling with unprecedented levels of complexity and uncertainty, which in turn was fuelling a search for simplicity and security, which are now must-haves. Cisco said solutions that offer end-to-end visibility, automation and an easy on-ramp to a cloud-based operating model were in high demand, while challenges and objectives related to network complexity in the multicloud world were key drivers.
Some 56% of respondents said security was the top networking challenge they faced when managing distributed and hybrid workloads, and the complexity of end-to-end management was not far behind, cited by 53% of respondents.
Faster problem resolution was found to be the feature/benefit of hybrid cloud networking most in demand, indicated by 50% of the sample, while faster provisioning/change was indicated by 48%. As regards technology priorities, the report showed that the most-wanted tools offered visibility and automation, with key networking technologies improving cloud application connectivity.
Half of IT teams rated end-to-end visibility as a top priority, while just under that number said multicloud software-defined networks (SDNs) were on their most-wanted list.
The bottom line in this area, said Cisco, was that although an unpredictable world challenges IT organisations, it also presents new opportunities for those that use technology to support dynamic business needs. It said IT needs to adopt an agile, cloud-like operations model for everything it does, including network operations.
Cisco also remarked that as endpoints and applications become more dispersed and distributed, network complexity multiplies. While adoption of public cloud is growing, 50% of workloads are still deployed on-premise, and as a result, most environments will continue to be a mix of public cloud, hosted, private cloud, edge and on-premise environments, it said.
CloudOps and NetOps figured highly in both operational and organisational trends and there was greater alignment between the objectives of both. In all, 49% of CloudOps and 42% of NetOps respondents said security was their top motivation for using multiple clouds, and both said business performance, security and agility were top priorities.
The report also showed a corresponding rise in benefits from more cross-functional collaboration between CloudOps and NetOps, with 45% of respondents saying that improving cloud security was their main motivation for increasing collaboration, while 41% indicated that greater efficiency was driving the shift.