The corporate network is in trouble.
“For the first time in history, the demand for bandwidth will exceed the economical capacity of the next generation of network switching equipment,” according to a white paper, “The Application Fluent Network - Delivering a High-Quality User Experience,” by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert).
The paper points out that the time-tested solution of adding more and more raw bandwidth will not work because of three trends:
- The growing use of real-time applications such as voice-over-IP (VoIP), video and collaboration suites
- The increasing network demands from smartphone use
- Corporate utilization of virtualization technology
A new approach is needed, and Alcatel-Lucent has developed a solution to the problem with its Application Fluent Network technology.
“What’s needed is a new resilient network architecture that minimizes latency by allocating bandwidth selectively to specific applications, ensuring a high-quality user experience for real-time applications,” the paper noted. “This network also needs to be far easier to manage and maintain than legacy networks, freeing IT staff from the day-to-day struggle to deliver acceptable levels of application performance to users.”
Application fluency is a unique networking approach that gives the network broad knowledge of both network devices and the applications to which they are connecting. The application fluent network understands the context of the conversation between device and application and makes decisions based on that understanding.
Alcatel-Lucent’s applications fluent network is based on three components: a resilient architecture composed of:
- A single IP network with built-in security
- Streamlined operations that reduce complexity through automated provisioning and integrated troubleshooting tools
- Automatic control that delivers high-quality, real-time application delivery with unique dynamic tuning of network performance
The Alcatel-Lucent solution provides a resilient architecture that reduces complexity, cuts costs and provides users with a better experience by using a low-latency network delivered via a simplified architecture, optimizing utilization of switches and links achieved by virtualization, leveraging a resilient network enabled by minimized re-convergence times, and removing security complexity, according to the paper.
It brings streamlined operations by providing automation wherever possible, such as through provisioning, consolidated management tools, operational consistency between switch features, and equipment designed to minimize power consumption, the paper noted.
A high-quality user experience also requires the ability to adjust key network parameters in real time. Alcatel-Lucent’s applications fluent network brings the ability to make dynamic adjustments through knowledge about endpoints and users declared in profiles, an ability to monitor actual service levels, and policies to determine when and how to adjust network parameters.
“The application fluent network recognizes endpoints automatically and assigns profiles that regulate access and bandwidth usage,” the authors state. “The network is then continuously monitored, with policies informing the update of key network parameters that affect the user experience when needed.”
So while the corporate network might be in trouble, it is reassuring that Alcatel-Lucent understands the challenges of enterprise IT professionals and has a solution for consideration.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein