By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO


As agencies look ahead to the new year, I wanted to share an insightful blog about the evolution of network technology written by my SolarWinds colleague, Leon Adato.


We are entering a new world where mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT), and software-defined networking (SDN) have dramatically changed the purview of federal IT pros. The velocity of network changes is expected to pick up speed in the next five years as new networking technologies are adopted and mature. The impact this will have on network administrators will be significant.


To help prepare for this new world, we have put together the following list of positive changes we expect federal administrators—and the tools they use to do their jobs every day—will experience between now and 2020.


Streamlined Network Troubleshooting


Today, network administrators spend a lot of time troubleshooting. Moving forward, this process will become far more streamlined by using data that already exists to free up administrator’s time.


The vast majority of applications in place today hold a lot of data that could be used to help in troubleshooting network issues. Unfortunately, they don’t quickly and easily bubble that data up to administrators. Soon, systems will be able to arm the administrator with enough information to fix problems much more quickly. The future will see administrators steeped in automated intelligence, where an emailed alert not only describes a present problem, but also includes details of similar past incidents and recent configuration changes that could be related.


Greater Ability to Resolve Potential Problems Before They Arise


With the development of advanced network management capabilities comes the ability to increase automation by tapping into a historical knowledge to predict problems before they happen.


Every agency would like the ability to have its systems effectively take care of themselves with a greater degree of automation. There is an emerging need for network technology that distinguishes from simply alerting administrators to problems, to alerting, fixing, and escalating a notification when conditions are ripe for an issue based on historical context.


Greater Awareness of Virtualization by Network Management Tools


Virtualization is increasingly common, yet many network management and monitoring tools have not evolved. All the tools that make up that portfolio of network management necessities need to be aware of the construct of what network virtualization is and the specificities it brings—in particular, how to operate, gather, and relay information within a more hybrid and software-defined world.


Increased Connectivity Across Devices


Finally, there’s IoT, which will, without a doubt, bring dramatic complexity to the evolution of network structures over the next three to five years.


The concept of IoT is really about connecting and networking unconventional things and turning them into data collection points. Think everything from sensors in military materiel shipments to connected cars. A lot of these “things” are being tested to see where we might consider the boundaries of the network edge to be, and where that data processing needs to take place.


The best approach is somewhere between decentralized and centralized—which is where network management will be heading. Network management tools and Federal network managers will need to build internal capability – staff and technology – to maintain visibility, awareness, and control over a growing evolution of network technology.


Find the full article on Federal Technology Insider.