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Networking Hype Cycle 2021

By Andrew Lerner | October 11, 2021 | 0 Comments


Driven by cloud, digitalization and the pandemic, enterprises are adopting new networking technologies faster than previous years. In July, we published the Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking, which describes the 30 most hyped networking technologies.

Hype Cycle for enterprise networking, 2021.

In case you’re wondering how we pick the 30, we compile a “hype index” that measures the overall hype associated with specific networking technologies. This hype index was a composite metric that included client interest (inquiry and search), Google trends, articles in popular periodicals, analyst opinion and social media impressions.

For each hyped technology, we define and analyze the value to enterprises, level of adoption and anticipated rate of future growth. Rouhly 1/3 of the technologies covered in this Hype Cycle have changed from 2020, including six in this Hype Cycle for the first time: 6G, private 5G, eBPF, AIOps, network observability and NaaS. Several technologies are at peak hype, including network observability, SDCI, Kubernetes CNI, multicloud networking, 5G and SASE. A few random thoughts on some of these (i.e., snippets from the report)…

  • 6G – There is no action required for IT leaders as 6G commercial offerings are not available in the market.
  • FACs (NextGen SmartNICs) – vendors are actively and aggressively marketing FACs, which are also referred to as data Processing Unit (DPU), SmartNICs, Distributed Services Card (DSC) or Programmable NICs.
  • eBPF – While it is realistic for technology vendors and hyperscalers, most enterprises lack the expertise and skills necessary to use eBPF.
  • Network Observability – “Network observability” is largely a buzzword, with no concrete definition beyond “network visibility.” It’s not meaningfully different from what has long been available in NPMD products.
  • Kubernetes Networking – The default networking capabilities in K8s do not scale to meet production enterprise requirements and/or fall short from a security/visibility and management-at-scale perspective.
  • NVMe-oF – The cost and complexity have impeded the adoption of NVMe-oF solutions in mainstream enterprises.
  • Network Automation – We estimate that greater than 70% of enterprise networking activities are manual as of late 2020 (outside of public cloud environments).
  • Open Networking – Open networking refers to: (a) the disaggregation of hardware and software on networking devices, and/or (b) the use of open-source networking software.
  • Intent-Based Networking – Nearly all products that are marketed by vendors as “intent based” fall short of the full capabilities of an IBNS. As of early 2021, real-world enterprise adoption of full IBNSs is nascent.
  • IPv6 – The continued growth of the internet, especially IoT, will be accommodated using IPv6. Google IPv6 statistics show nearly 35% of users accessing Google do so using IPv6.

Regards, Andrew

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