Browsing through Cisco’s copious blogs, I came across an article on trends for 2017 from the senior vice president for enterprise networking, Jeff Reed. Given Uplogix’ product depth in automating Cisco networking device management, I was curious to see what he had to say.  What do you think? Do you agree with Cisco’s timeline for NFV, IoT in the workplace and SDN?

Enterprise networking is a big topic for Cisco, representing both their bread and butter product lines as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Here are a few of the 10 trends from the article:

2 – NFV Comes to the Enterprise: Virtualization is hot right now – and with good cause. We’re going to see Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) spread from service providers to the enterprise – beginning in the branch.  It will allow those leading-edge network teams with a multitude of branches to more easily provision, chain and scale branch network services.

We’ve been to the sessions at CiscoLive and heard about Cisco’s roadmap for NFV. We’ve had a harder time corroborating it with our customers. Everyone seems to think it sounds interesting, but is it on their immediate roadmap? Not yet.

4 – SDN Moves Beyond the Data Center: The seeds of software-defined networking (SDN) are already taking root in the data center and now the WAN. Expect the SDN seeds to start sprouting in campus fabrics for both wired and wireless environments. The vision of end-to-end programmability and automation across all network domains will start becoming a reality in 2017.

This one sounds a little less confident — “SDN seeds?” One of the key challenges of end-to-end programmability is having knowledgeable network admins that can do the required programming for enterprise networking. This is something that Reed hits in #8:

8 – Network “Admin” to Network “Programmer”:  As the world of network programmability and SDN become more prevalent, so will the need for new skill-sets. Network admins who can combine deep networking knowledge with programming capability have the opportunity to drive impressive improvements in speed and scale of network ops.  I expect 2017 to be an inflection point in the number of network admins learning value-added programming skills through programs like the Cisco Learning Network.

If he’s right about 2017 being an inflection point for SDN programming, make sure you bump up your training budget for the next few years.

The last point we’ll highlight is about enterprise network problem identification and resolution. Something we know something about at Uplogix.

5 – Network Assurance Grows Up, Moves into the Cloud:  Interesting opportunities are being enabled by machine learning.  We’ll see much richer and more capable network assurance and troubleshooting capabilities.  By delivering these capabilities from the cloud and leveraging the aggregated experiences of a broader set of networks, we’ll see much better (and faster) diagnosis and remediation.

One of the challenges we see to cloud-based troubleshooting is the requirement of a link to the cloud. One of the reasons so much network troubleshooting has traditionally been done sitting in front of the device is the requirement of a functioning network. It’s part of what lead Uplogix to develop the most evolved out-of-band solution on the market. Designing enterprise network management solutions that require the network to function are inherently flawed. An out-of-band link is key.