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The Future of Network Evolution: Five Trends Driving Change in 2024

February 19, 2024

Hon Kit Lam   

Vice President, Hybrid Connectivity Services, Tata Communications

In a decade of phenomenal transformation and transition, network design has evolved via game-changing technology – from multi-cloud connections to AI and machine learning – to build better, safer, more flexible, and more robust networks. Further, the public cloud accelerated rapidly, even during the pandemic, and the ongoing integration of private and public cloud, especially in industries like manufacturing and banking, will continue at a rapid pace.

While traditional technology will remain an important core component of network deployment, next-gen technology is just around the corner, bringing with it on-demand, self-service, automation and expanding cloud connectivity. The focus on building resiliency into networks is especially top of mind for CIOs and CTOs, who have been surfing an enormous wave of constant change for the past few years. One important way to both build resiliency and stay ahead of the curve is to ensure your network evolves as quickly as enterprises do. Every CIO and CTO across industries needs to be mindful of these trends that will impact their businesses in 2024.


Consolidating Network Service Providers from Hundreds to a Handful

Analysts predict a consolidation in network providers is coming in the next two years. Enterprises also want to thin the herd and reduce the number of their network service providers to a smaller, select group. A lot of this has to do with simplifying tasks across the enterprise by reducing the number of different Network Service Providers they have to work with. At Tata Communications, we’ve found that customers are breaking down their overall network transformation conversations into “underlay vs. overlay,” seeking different solutions for the cable underneath and for the virtualized router network that sits on top of it. Previously, this was all tightly bound together. Now, a lot of our customers have two RFPs.


Equipment Manufacturers are driving this by just selling overlay solutions. And some customers like it this way; it feels easier to them. But if the underlay is not right, whatever you have on top isn’t going to work! Even the most breathtaking supercar (overlay) needs the grip of exceptional tires (underlay) to unleash its true performance. A lot of DIY underlay solutions end up with hundreds of suppliers, but enterprises are starting to see multiple issues with this kind of setup. These include the hidden cost of maintaining hundreds of contracts, finger pointing from local suppliers, the need to add another system integration layer to maintain such complex networks, and the lack of end-to-end SLA, to name a few. Most still want multiple providers to give them flexibility and access to more technology options, but only two or three, not hundreds. Tata Communications is one of those shortlisted providers who can help.


Using Common Cloud Landing Zones to Access Multiple Cloud Service Providers

The emergence of cloud landing zones is taking many of the pain points out of managing multiple providers. For users of public cloud services, multiple logins are the bane of their existence. Who hasn’t forgotten a password or had to log in again after being locked out? A well-designed cloud landing zone, which combines multiple functions in a central place, is the more intuitive starting point to access multi-account architecture, identity, resources, security controls and network activity logging.


Using AIOps to Become a Tireless Co-Pilot of your Network

Full automation and AI-driven networks will gradually become a reality as modern enterprises grapple with ever-expanding networks spanning continents and cloud services. Managing this sprawling complexity manually is unsustainable, riddled with human error and slow response times. This is where AIOps, the marriage of Artificial Intelligence and Operations, shines. AIOps acts as a vigilant sentinel, automating routine tasks, proactively identifying and resolving issues, and predicting potential problems before they cripple operations. AIOps excels in analyzing vast datasets from your global network and cloud deployments, gleaning insights hidden from human eyes. This translates to improved user experience, reduced downtime costs, and increased agility in responding to changing business needs.


Moving to a Multiple Clouds Environment

With more enterprises adopting multiple clouds for their applications, it’s time to address the challenges that come along with it: managing multiple cloud instances, dealing with siloed visibility, and facing those pesky performance issues. Add to these the high egress costs resulting from usage of multiple clouds. Tata Communications IZO Multi Cloud Connect, a software-defined cloud interconnect platform, gives enterprises greater agility and flexibility when they connect users, branches, data centers, clouds, and partners across the globe.


Identifying, and Eliminating, Hidden Costs

Multi-cloud, the combination of multiple public and hybrid cloud providers into a single architecture and deployment, has been a common thread in network design for the past few years. As enterprises continue to add multiple providers, they are also beginning to analyze their networks more critically. They have discovered hidden costs. One company we worked with realized that they were spending 25% of their budget on sending data packets outside the cloud, which is not something that you might expect. Also, the stark difference between public Internet egress versus private egress caught IT managers by surprise. Tata Communications IZO™ Multi Cloud Connect, tackles the architectural complexity, and gives you scalability and agility to set up instant cloud connections and helps you to reduce the egress cost.


Collectively, these five trends driving network evolution are all about making your network more efficient—for your users, for your customers and for your partners. In an environment of constant change, multiple providers, and hybrid solutions, it is important to analyze your network often to ensure it is the best fit for your business.


Learn more about Tata Communications network solutions.