Dark Fiber and the Future of Enterprise Evolution

By: Marc Dyman

Next-generation technologies and the explosive growth in demand for always-on, near-immediate access to data and applications have put enterprises at the center of the pursuit of quick digital transformation. As a result, businesses in this technologically-driven world have been building their toolboxes with strategies that help keep them moving at the pace of digital change. These include disruptive tactics such as hybrid cloud implementation or intelligent processes that aim to streamline, optimize and amplify success.

These tools have fundamentally changed the way the enterprise operates and delivers value, products and services, but digital transformation and optimization is not a destination. It’s an ongoing journey.

The latest and greatest means of achieving a competitive edge now lies in network transformation. In fact, now that business has become decentralized, distributing more toward the edge with a less on-premises approach, it’s becoming clear that in many cases, digital transformation success must be preceded by a successful network transformation.

Transforming the Enterprise Network

Businesses are beginning to recognize the intrinsic value that stands to be gained and lost in the network. Applications have developed and become more sophisticated, a trajectory that is being driven both by the rise and continued dominance of the smartphone and by changing end user expectations. Anyone can access anything nearly anywhere, and they can do so nearly instantaneously. The overarching reliance on technology has made increased capabilities on the network side a more immediate issue. Across the world, distance learning, remote work and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trends have put amplified digital dependence at the heart of work and education.

Expanded computing power plays a large role in meeting these heightened demands, allowing applications to leverage more processing power to work more efficiently and capably. However, with the ability to scale compute power, it has become necessary to have a network that can meet and reflect that same agility and scalability to keep the enterprise wholly synergistic.

At its core, this renewed focus on the network stems from a few key enterprise goals. Businesses want to work more efficiently with more capable network infrastructure. To do this, they are looking to build or incorporate more private, Layer 1 networks, utilizing strategies that deliver augmented control over the framework as well as vital scalability.

In the past, Wide Area Network (WAN) strategies like Ethernet and MPLS were chosen to meet the needs of the growing digital enterprise. However, as businesses find themselves in a constant state of growth and change to meet exploding data and latency demand, the issue lies in the critical need for bandwidth scalability and ease of use. Not only are businesses looking to increase their capabilities with greater bandwidth access and scale, they’re also looking to leverage converged, simplified strategies that operate over a single network. Beyond this, they want private and direct interconnections to the cloud that empower their digital transformation further, as well as better security, lower costs and more control. 

In short, businesses are requiring a lot from their networks. And in today’s rapidly changing world, it’s not hard to see why. To meet these many demands, SD-WAN is one solution that has been gaining traction for its ability to deliver greater bandwidth at lower costs, centralized management, enhanced visibility and more. As a mainstay of network transformation, the increasing interest in this network strategy underscores the expectation that the SD-WAN market will grow to $4.1 billion by 2023. However, SD-WAN may not provide the security and privacy that network transformation projects are looking for.


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