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Reflections: Adam Judd, Juniper Networks

We saw increased demand for power and cooling, redundancy and high availability, because of new blade servers and virtual machines technologies. -- Adam Judd, vice president for Asia-Pacific, Juniper Networks
Written by Staff , Contributor

Adam Judd, vice president for Asia-Pacific, Juniper Networks, says the increased office connectivity throws up new security and application delivery challenges

Q. What was the top industry news of 2006?
In 2006, we saw enterprises building their own data centers to gain better control of security, operations and costs, confirming a trend toward data centers which, in this part of world, are becoming more complex and multi-faceted than those elsewhere. We also saw increased demand for power and cooling, redundancy and high availability, because of new blade servers and virtual machines technologies.

Customers continued to ask for more features, bandwidth and quality in their networks--and, in particular, in their branch networks. According to Gartner, approximately 80 percent of enterprise employees now work from a branch office. Productivity is a huge factor for the businesses we talk to; if you're going to raise productivity you have to enable those branches by giving them secure and reliable network connectivity. This is happening, but the increased connectivity is introducing new security and application delivery challenges. That's why we're also seeing demand for a new branch office solution--one that provides robust protection from both external and internal threats while consolidating security and networking abilities.

2006 was the year...
Security and high availability in networks became crucial. And small wonder--network managers felt increasing pressure during the year from three quite distinct areas:

  1. Regulatory compliance--Many different local, national, and international regulations now require strict controls over the delivery and use of financial data.
  2. Network and data center consolidation--Natural growth, mergers, and acquisitions resulted in multiple, independent networks and data centers, which are difficult and expensive to manage, and inadequate for changing application requirements.
  3. Cost control--CChanging technologies, proliferating services and branches, and expanding regulations increase CapEx and OpEx, pressuring profits and customer responsiveness.

What do you foresee will be the three hottest trends or technologies in 2007?
Hottest technologies will be in the areas of endpoint security and keeping networks secure, or the benefits of access control. Enterprise networks are growing increasingly complex and mobile with a multitude of devices, such as laptops, handhelds and PDAs. The wide variety of users, including employees, guests, partners and contractors, requiring access to critical business information from diverse parts of the network adds to the complexity. As a result, securing the network now requires administrators to combine user identity, endpoint integrity and location information to consistently enforce access policies to networks, resources and applications. We will see enterprises focusing on access control and best practices to dynamically and securely deliver LAN services to user constituents.

Enterprises are also concerned with enabling sufficient monitoring and control of access to corporate resources. This is critical in helping them meet their regulatory and compliance requirements which mandate that enterprises tightly control access to sensitive assets. Enterprises clearly recognize the value that a network access control solution provides. Unfortunately they have also found that implementing such access control across their entire network can be a complex and expensive undertaking.

Enterprises will also face this dilemma in 2007: On one hand, they are expected to provide consistent application performance to all their employees, regardless of where they are and whether they’re in the HQ, a branch office or using a laptop in a hotel room. At the same time, they are expected to cut costs by centralizing servers, web-enabling their existing client-server applications, and so on.

While these initiatives do save money, they do so at the expense of application performance by placing more pressure on data centre resources. For example, Web-enabled applications consume at least 10 times the bandwidth of their client-server counterparts, creating performance problems for users accessing applications over a wide-area link. Some enterprises may consider buying more bandwidth, but even that won’t fix all the problems as the distance between the data centre and remote and branch-office users imposes application-killing latency.

While granular access capabilities and endpoint security technologies let IT departments control access to applications and resources, merely restricting access to only what a user requires is not enough. It does not prevent attacks that can come from either unintentional or malicious authenticated users. So the result: We see enterprises demanding secure, assure and fast application delivery enabling high end user productivity while protecting information assets.

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) will also be a hot technology. The adoption of the Internet as a strategic business tool is driving the rapid growth of IP as the foundation for multi-service networks and IP-based Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). In order to support these enhanced IP services, IP networks must offer specific quality of service (QoS) and traffic segregation capabilities. The need to provide different levels of service along with VPNs via a connectionless IP network has given rise to MPLS. We will see companies moving from an old IP network, which is best effort connectivity, to a NGN (next-generation network) IP infrastructure which is a network infrastructure with application acceleration, MPLS, integrated branch solutions and UTM.

Name one issue that you think the industry should collectively work harder to address?
That would be standards in network access control. Network access control is essentially the ability to control network access based on compliance with network policies. It has its share of standards and protocols that ensure compatibility and interoperability, including 802.1X, RADIUS, and EAP. There are many compelling reasons why organizations should consider standards-based solutions for access control when determining what solution to select, or by vendors building a network access control solution. Standards emphasize interoperability between components and provide interoperability with other technologies and products. And this isn't just rhetoric--Juniper recently extended its commitment to open standards for network access control through the new Unified Access Control (UAC) 2.0 solution.

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