Over the past two years, the way businesses think about IT has changed drastically. The truth is that most companies have already begun transitioning their technology infrastructure to the cloud so they can be more innovative for their customers. At Extreme Networks, we believe in the future of the Infinite Enterprise. The concept of the Infinite Enterprise is a way of reshaping our thinking about how we interact with technology and how we deliver services to consumers. Our entire society is now infinitely distributed, and companies must scale services, technology, and even people to provide reliable and secure connectivity everywhere and for everyone. In other words, it’s not just a collection of cool new features and technologies, but rather a new philosophy that promises to revolutionize businesses moving forward.
So what changes will we see in 2022? We asked members of the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks and other technical experts for their key technical predictions for next year:
Marcus Burton, Cloud and Wireless Architect, Office of the CTO, Extreme Networks
5G adoption will not progress as much as some think, however…
- In 2022, most of the 5G noise will remain the same, but the killer app will still elude us. Public network rollouts will continue worldwide, but no one will really notice, other than the icon on the phone changes. Private 5G will still mean 4G LTE until the end of the year (development delayed by chip shortages). However, we will see interesting 5G developments for enterprises. We’ll see some very large production-grade CBRS deployments across the US—still LTE though. CBRS (and other enterprise-friendly spectrum approaches) will also instigate a new approach to neutral host networks that gives enterprises more control and aligns cellular more closely with campus Ethernet/IP.
Michael Rash, Distinguished Engineer, Security, Office of the CTO, Extreme Networks
Organizations will see proactive efforts around Zero Trust initiatives
- If you are thinking like an attacker, from your perspective the past couple of years have seen some spectacular successes from the offense side of the Internet landscape. The SolarWinds hack, the compromise of HashiCorp GPG signing keys via the Codecov incident, and the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline are notable examples. Juxtapose these events with the incredible marketing machine behind Zero Trust technologies, and you end up with two opposing spectrums. I’ll wager that most organizations that have been compromised over the past two years would claim they are at least evaluating the deployment of Zero Trust technologies to help protect themselves against these types of events. If Zero Trust means anything, my prediction for 2022 is that such organizations should see some protective effects. Overall, will staving off attackers with successful defensive postures be publicized? Not likely, and on the flip side the industry will certainly hear about more high-profile compromises. The key is identifying trends over time and trying to eke out data on the effectiveness of Zero Trust. 2022 will start to provide some visibility into best practices.
Ed Koehler, Distinguished Principal Engineer in the Office of the CTO, Extreme Networks
In 2022, we will see blockchain arise as a main mechanism for protecting personal data and smart city infrastructure
- As smart cities come closer to full development, we will see progress in several areas. Blockchain technologies will become much more prevalent and will be used to protect information integrity within smart city infrastructure, as well as to personal data like health records. Blockchain will also play a role in protecting digital identities as we see them used more frequently. Further, as nation states and political forces evolve in the concepts of ‘cyber warfare,’ supply chain attacks and attacks against critical infrastructure will increase. This will cause an increased focus on election integrity and chain of custody of voting data. Again, blockchain could play a critical role in ensuring immutability of election records as well as individual votes.
David Coleman, Director of Wireless, Office of the CTO, Extreme Networks
Wi-Fi is everywhere and here to stay!
- Wi-Fi has long been woven deeply into the cultural fabric of daily living, enhanced education, business operations, entertainment, and much more. As a matter of fact, I bet that while you are reading this quote online, you are connected to Wi-Fi right now! So…. the Wi-Fi trend we will see in 2022, is that Wi-Fi will continue to grow as the predominant solution for secure wireless connectivity and mobility in the enterprise.
Building the 6 GHz superhighway
- Countries across the globe will continue to adopt the 6 GHz superhighway that Wi-Fi 6E is built upon. This superhighway provides a reliable path for the evolution of enterprise Wi-Fi which is tied to the constant growth of cloud computing, mobile connectivity, big data, AI, and the Internet of Things. These trends will continue to drive the demand for faster and more reliable enterprise Wi-Fi throughout the next decade.
Marko Tisler, Director of Product Management, Extreme Networks
AIOps will lead to reimagining the very notion of work:
- Over the last decade, the explosion of digitalization coupled with exponential increase in the size of data, the use of cloud, and availability of cheap processing power have made AIOps accessible to everyone. The future of Network Operations does not entail Human vs. AI – but rather supports humans with expanded skillsets and scope with AI in a supporting role. Future NetOps engineers will increasingly collaborate with AIOps tools such as Extreme CoPilot and work together to program in new goals, help the ML/AI interpret the data, and help AI tools understand the business processes so teams can better respond to the identified anomalies, alerts, and recommendations. Much like the ability to utilize existing opensource code has transformed the job of software programming, AIOps will transform the role of a Network Operator.
Bill Lundgren, Portfolio Architect, Cloud, Data, and App Operations, Extreme Networks
Distributed Cloud will Offer Users the Best of Both Worlds
- Historically, managing solutions either in the cloud or on-premises were two completely disparate offerings, each with their own pros and cons. With on-prem management, your data, software updates, and configurations remain private and fully in your control because they are kept local to your site. With cloud management, information is stored at the cloud vendor or infrastructure vendor’s site. In the future, Distributed Cloud will increasingly offer the best of both worlds by bringing the power and flexibility of the cloud to on-premises, private servers. Your cloud offering and associated data will reside in your premise providing local compute, full control, and the operational benefits of cloud.
Cloud and SaaS Products Will See Two Major Evolutions
- I see two major evolutions for cloud and SaaS products in 2022. First, given the wide-spread adoption of data privacy and protection legislation across the US states individually and in other nations, along with the numerous ransomware and other security events over the last 12 months, (Solar Winds for example), I foresee the market (especially the US market) becoming increasingly focused on audited and proven solutions. Hosting your application in a major provider’s data center is not going to be enough. Customers will insist on third-party validated NIST 800-53, ISO, and SOC2 for the company and product that they are purchasing. Secondly, given the growing adoption of AI/ML in various SaaS products, coupled with GDPR and other data privacy concerns, I believe 2022 will be the year that organizations begin to implement mechanisms like homomorphic encryption to protect sensitive data, while allowing ML and AI processing to take place and keeping the data secure.
Nicholas Cope, Principal, Head of User Experience Research
Home networking is dead. Long live home networking!
- With the age of The Infinite Enterprise upon us, it will become more and more commonplace for everyday people to build and maintain remote home networks. Individuals working from home have taken on many of the jobs of network engineers and administrators as part of their daily routine. By defining, mapping, and analyzing the tasks these new at-home engineers and admins are doing, we will create consumer-centric experiences that help everyone maximize the value of their at-home networks. Home networking needs to be simple, secure, and swift.
Wendy Kastner, Head of Design, Extreme Networks
AR/VR will be used more regularly for support and professional services
- As remote work becomes the norm, there will be increased demand to interact beyond Zoom’s 2D. Imagine support services and service professionals being able to “see” more than just your screen: Having a network issue? The support technician can view inside your network. Feeling under the weather? Your doctor can virtually examine you. Want to try on clothes without leaving your bedroom? Your personal shopper can set up your virtual dressing room. These technologies will all continue to evolve throughout 2022.
Tim Harrison, Director of Product Marketing – Service Providers, Extreme Networks
We will see significant uptake and migration of services to the public cloud for service providers
- The cloud-native architecture of 5G has convinced the major players that these technologies deliver the most value, and that value is based around unlimited infrastructure scale, continuous value with lower risk, and faster time to better data insights. Smaller service providers will need to move faster than their competition to position themselves well in the market.
- Infrastructure security and supply chain risk mitigation will become a key factor in purchasing decisions in 2022. As businesses transition into infinite enterprises, the hardware and software infrastructure that supports that transformation will remain under threat. For service providers, this means expanding the conversation beyond radios and the direct communications stack out into MEC and visibility.
- As 5G infrastructure delivery accelerates, we will begin to see the floodgates open for new 5G use cases as services continue to come online. With the increased use of public cloud infrastructure to turn up 5G infrastructure, service providers will increase their reach and have access to more data on how consumers are leveraging greater speeds.