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Juniper Networks, Forrester: Networks are at a "breaking point"

Big data, the cloud and mobile computing offer plenty of opportunities -- but those all come at a cost, which could be the networks they run on.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Juniper Networks and Forrester Consulting have released a new report revealing that new demands from big data, mobile and cloud computing have pushed networks to a "breaking point."

The study, "Building For the Next Billion: What The New World Of Business Means For The Network," posits that 86 percent of IT executives have not been able to provision new services or support business demands because their networks weren't up to the task.

Here's a glance from the report at how big data, the cloud and mobile devices are contributing to the overflow of traffic on networks:

  • Cloud: 44 percent of businesses replied that they have seen increased use of cloud services on everything from software and infrastructure to business processes-as-a-service offerings.
  • Big Data: 52 percent of businesses admitted they are struggling with data storage needs due to company growth.
  • Mobile: 47 percent of businesses have seen increased demand from employees bringing personal devices to work during the last 18 months.

Researchers asserted in the report that one of the most complex problems facing businesses trying to take advantage of these three trends is that they are using all of these technologies to try to both consolidate yet grow the company at the same time.

Taking a page out of lean process thinking, companies are continuing to drive waste out. Redundant software, hardware, and operations from branch and remote locations continue to be consolidated. On the flip side, business decision-makers are expanding operations by scouting for new revenue streams while remaining relevant to their customer base.

Juniper's chief information officer Bask Iyer explained in a blog post on Monday that networks have reached an "inflection point."

Exponential growth in the billions is part of it. Exhausted infrastructure is also a major factor, as our networks are simply not designed to keep up with today’s business needs. But our attempt to play catch-up is only hampering our business agility. In fact, 74% of businesses reported that their network was complex and 35% said it was rigid to manage...

Essentially, Iyer warned that while the cloud and big data have offer many opportunities and possibilities, they also come with a world of challenges that need to be addressed first.

For reference, Forrester conducted an online survey of 150 respondents in the United States between August and September 2012, asking what enterprises need from the network to be more responsive to business needs while preparing for the future. Survey participants included senior IT decision-makers with a majority of respondents working at businesses with over 1,000 employees.

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