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      HCTS 2020 Panel Recap: The Future of Datacenter Networking and Interconnection


      Network is integral to the future of hybrid infrastructure solutions, but many companies are just coming to terms with the back-end complexity of how the latest networking technologies figure into the performance, reliability, scalability and visibility of their entire footprint.

      “When you introduce hybrid into the mix—and we all see that it is a trend that is accelerating—it’s just making the network more complex. And that’s the area where most enterprises have a skills gap,” said Jennifer Curry, INAP’s SVP, Product & Technology, at this month’s Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit (HCTS), hosted by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

      Curry discussed this topic and more on a panel entitled “The Future of Datacenter Networking and Interconnection” during week one of the event.

      Networking Needs and Customer Perceptions

      During the presentation and panel, hosts Craig Matsumoto and Mike Fratto, both 451 Research senior research analysists, shared how customers are looking for direct connection to public cloud and interconnection from their colocation providers. Furthermore, interconnection services were deemed as a high-priority ask for colocation clients in the context of COVID-19.

      Colocation Provider Offerings

      While there is a need for a strong network, enterprise understanding in this area is often lacking. Curry noted that interconnection and network design are the foundation of a successful hybrid environment, but it is easy for people to not think about network, as it is often bundled with a solution from a provider. Behind those solutions, however, network engineers are working hard to make everything work as it should, creating a skills gap in this area within the enterprise.

      Despite this gap, recognition that this hybrid world is making the network more complex is on the rise. Traditional networking requirements are still top of mind—performance, reliability, scalability, visibility—but customers have to account for them across multiple platforms and providers. In 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise survey, participants named “high complexity” as the biggest pain point related to networking.

      Networking Pain Point

       

      Giving Network Control Back to the Enterprise

      With this complexity comes several pitfalls associated with giving control of the network back to enterprise end users. Curry specifically noted the careful balance between cost control and performance, especially with the on-demand nature of the current infrastructure landscape.

      “There’s still a lot of focus on cost. If you start to get into the on-demand nature, and you have these tools at the ready that allow you to rapidly scale or have some control over peak usage, the next thing you know, you get a bill where the sprawl is 2-3 times what you thought it was going to be,” she said.

      Providers will have to work to get customers comfortable with forecasting their network usage and be able to translate that into the appropriate management. Curry found it interesting that, in the first slide shared above, interconnection and connectivity were top of mind for many participants, but only 26 percent were thinking about network management.

      “The easier you make it for customers to make changes, the more you introduce some of that variability that maybe they’re not thinking about,” Curry said.

      With a hyper-focus on cost optimization, enterprises can get themselves into situations where they may unintentionally starve some areas of the network. Or, conversely, the costs might skyrocket. Curry noted there are a number of unknowns as self-management tools become more prevalent.

      “There are a lot of pitfalls, as well as a lot of opportunity as you get into self-management,” she concluded.

      How Network Figures into 5G and COVID-19

      In an interview with the INAP ThinkIT blog after the session, Curry shared additional information on how network has and will continue to be impacted by 5G and COVID-19 demands.

      The 5G revolution is going to impact multi-tenant data centers (MTDC). Curry noted that 5G spending is predicted to double from 2019 – 2020, but there is still uncertainty around what 5G means to all aspects of infrastructure.

      “For data centers, there are the ‘known’ changes that will have to take place, including upgrades and changes to routers, switching, etc.” Curry said. “There is an expectation of changes coming to SDN and NFV (network functions virtualization), but the extent is unknown. There is a breaking point in transporting data from the edge to central data centers, and this is where the MTDC will need to evolve.”

      The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on NaaS/on-demand network. Curry stated that while many businesses support remote working, an overnight pivot to full remote workforces further highlighted the need for flexibility and scale in all parts of the infrastructure.

      “Some verticals experienced almost overnight saturation of their infrastructure as the daily usage model was completely altered,” Curry said. “And security, while always a priority, resurfaced again as the enterprise was forced to take a new look at the ways their users interact with the systems and data.”

      Simplify Your Hybrid Infrastructure with INAP

      Networking is an essential element of any successful hybrid strategy, but the complexity doesn’t have to burden your team.

      Cut through the complexity and get the performance, reliability, scalability and visibility you need with INAP’s network solutions. Take advantage of our 90+ points of presence, 27 public cloud-on ramps, route-optimized IP transit and global high-speed backbone. To top it off, our experienced solution engineers will design right-sized data center and networking solutions for unique needs.

      INAP Network

      Explore INAP’s Global Network.

      LEARN MORE

      Laura Vietmeyer


      READ MORE



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      HCTS 2020 Panel Recap: The Future of Datacenter Networking and Interconnection


      Network is integral to the future of hybrid infrastructure solutions, but many companies are just coming to terms with the back-end complexity of how the latest networking technologies figure into the performance, reliability, scalability and visibility of their entire footprint.

      “When you introduce hybrid into the mix—and we all see that it is a trend that is accelerating—it’s just making the network more complex. And that’s the area where most enterprises have a skills gap,” said Jennifer Curry, INAP’s SVP, Product & Technology, at this month’s Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit (HCTS), hosted by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

      Curry discussed this topic and more on a panel entitled “The Future of Datacenter Networking and Interconnection” during week one of the event.

      Networking Needs and Customer Perceptions

      During the presentation and panel, hosts Craig Matsumoto and Mike Fratto, both 451 Research senior research analysists, shared how customers are looking for direct connection to public cloud and interconnection from their colocation providers. Furthermore, interconnection services were deemed as a high-priority ask for colocation clients in the context of COVID-19.

      Colocation Provider Offerings

      While there is a need for a strong network, enterprise understanding in this area is often lacking. Curry noted that interconnection and network design are the foundation of a successful hybrid environment, but it is easy for people to not think about network, as it is often bundled with a solution from a provider. Behind those solutions, however, network engineers are working hard to make everything work as it should, creating a skills gap in this area within the enterprise.

      Despite this gap, recognition that this hybrid world is making the network more complex is on the rise. Traditional networking requirements are still top of mind—performance, reliability, scalability, visibility—but customers have to account for them across multiple platforms and providers. In 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise survey, participants named “high complexity” as the biggest pain point related to networking.

      Networking Pain Point

       

      Giving Network Control Back to the Enterprise

      With this complexity comes several pitfalls associated with giving control of the network back to enterprise end users. Curry specifically noted the careful balance between cost control and performance, especially with the on-demand nature of the current infrastructure landscape.

      “There’s still a lot of focus on cost. If you start to get into the on-demand nature, and you have these tools at the ready that allow you to rapidly scale or have some control over peak usage, the next thing you know, you get a bill where the sprawl is 2-3 times what you thought it was going to be,” she said.

      Providers will have to work to get customers comfortable with forecasting their network usage and be able to translate that into the appropriate management. Curry found it interesting that, in the first slide shared above, interconnection and connectivity were top of mind for many participants, but only 26 percent were thinking about network management.

      “The easier you make it for customers to make changes, the more you introduce some of that variability that maybe they’re not thinking about,” Curry said.

      With a hyper-focus on cost optimization, enterprises can get themselves into situations where they may unintentionally starve some areas of the network. Or, conversely, the costs might skyrocket. Curry noted there are a number of unknowns as self-management tools become more prevalent.

      “There are a lot of pitfalls, as well as a lot of opportunity as you get into self-management,” she concluded.

      How Network Figures into 5G and COVID-19

      In an interview with the INAP ThinkIT blog after the session, Curry shared additional information on how network has and will continue to be impacted by 5G and COVID-19 demands.

      The 5G revolution is going to impact multi-tenant data centers (MTDC). Curry noted that 5G spending is predicted to double from 2019 – 2020, but there is still uncertainty around what 5G means to all aspects of infrastructure.

      “For data centers, there are the ‘known’ changes that will have to take place, including upgrades and changes to routers, switching, etc.” Curry said. “There is an expectation of changes coming to SDN and NFV (network functions virtualization), but the extent is unknown. There is a breaking point in transporting data from the edge to central data centers, and this is where the MTDC will need to evolve.”

      The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on NaaS/on-demand network. Curry stated that while many businesses support remote working, an overnight pivot to full remote workforces further highlighted the need for flexibility and scale in all parts of the infrastructure.

      “Some verticals experienced almost overnight saturation of their infrastructure as the daily usage model was completely altered,” Curry said. “And security, while always a priority, resurfaced again as the enterprise was forced to take a new look at the ways their users interact with the systems and data.”

      Simplify Your Hybrid Infrastructure with INAP

      Networking is an essential element of any successful hybrid strategy, but the complexity doesn’t have to burden your team.

      Cut through the complexity and get the performance, reliability, scalability and visibility you need with INAP’s network solutions. Take advantage of our 90+ points of presence, 27 public cloud-on ramps, route-optimized IP transit and global high-speed backbone. To top it off, our experienced solution engineers will design right-sized data center and networking solutions for unique needs.

      INAP Network

      Explore INAP’s Global Network.

      LEARN MORE

      Laura Vietmeyer


      READ MORE



      Source link

      COVID-19 Pandemic Shines Spotlight on How Essential Soft Skills are to the Future of Tech


      In the day-to-day life of a workplace, success often hinges on how well a team works together. All the technical skill in the world won’t help an IT team or company reach its goals if it’s plagued by poor communication, poor leadership and lack of flexibility, among other things. These soft skills have proven even more important in the age of COVID-19, with a rise in remote work and the corresponding shift in the ways we work with each other.

      Even before COVID-19 disrupted work as we know it, soft skills were so important that one study found 67 percent of human resources professionals declined to offer a job to an otherwise qualified technology candidate because of a lack of soft skills.

      Prior to the pandemic, we asked 500 senior IT professionals and infrastructure managers to rank the soft skills they thought would be most important for future IT professionals to possess. The attributes were ranked 1-6, with 6 being the least important. Below are the average ranks.

      Most Important Soft Skills for Future IT Professionals

      Soft Skills in Tech

      Since these results were collected, the world has obviously changed. And yet, our “new normal” only underscores the results.

      Flexibility Is the No. 1 Soft Skill for IT Pros

      Based on the rapid changes we’ve seen in tech and the world at large, it should come as no surprise that “flexibility” was ranked most important. Working with a team that’s willing to step up to the plate and roll with the punches will lead to better outcomes than working with players who are rigid and unwilling to bend as priorities shift.

      “Hiring managers need to identify flexibility as a key behavior and skill set during the hiring process,” said Jackie Coats, INAP’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “To evaluate it, have the candidate explain a time when they had to deal with an unforeseen situation, and what they did to accomplish their goal regardless of the surprise.”

      Business priorities are often adjusted and the demand on IT teams will move with them. Or a team member might leave unexpectedly, and the rest of the team will need to fill in.

      “Another question to determine flexibility would be to ask how the employee has helped outside of their role when the team was short-staffed or under a tight deadline,” Coats added.

      As we’ve seen remote work become the norm for many businesses, flexibility is an important trait for both employees and for supervisors to possess.

      “Being flexible during these times is a critical tool we as leaders must leverage,” said Matt Cuneio, INAP’s Vice President, Global Support. “Nothing is more important to the health of a team than confidence that we’re all in this together. We’re going to be flexible with each other, ensuring we all win.”

      A Need for Innovation Necessitates Creativity

      Change often feels unexpected, as we’ve seen with the pandemic, but it’s always inevitable. In another pre-pandemic survey, we wanted to get an idea of what exactly will be driving change in IT roles now and in the future, so we asked our participants to choose the top driver. The need for innovation took the top spot, selected by 27 percent of participants. (Robust security and infrastructure scalability came in a close second and third.)

      All of this change and need for innovation emphasizes the importance of creativity — the second ranked soft skill for IT pros. IT teams are also asked to problem solve on a daily basis and come up with new solutions to help the business achieve its goals or to find solutions to unique problems, like how to adjust networking strategies for a decentralized workforce.

      Undervalued Empathy?

      Empathy is the ability to identify with another person by sharing in their perspective and feelings. This soft skill is commonly valued in the helping professions, like counseling and social work, but can bring great value to teams in all professions by helping develop camaraderie and trust. Yet empathy ranked lowest on our list.

      Cuneio shared his thoughts on the impact of empathy for IT, both within a team setting and with customers. “I had a friend tell me once, ‘Listen to understand.’  A listening ear is a powerful and necessary tool in today’s world,” he said.

      Fostering empathy between individuals helps people feel heard and understood, which in teams can benefit collaboration and brainstorming sessions where colleagues feel empowered to share ideas.

      “Every interaction you have is an opportunity to impact someone’s life,” Cuneio added. “It always amazes me the response I get by asking the simple question ‘How are things?’ The key component to this question is to listen and inquire to the response.”

      It’s also been shown that companies that have a more empathetic culture outperform less empathetic companies by 20 percent. The bottom line: Individual empathy shouldn’t be overlooked.

      Laura Vietmeyer


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