An Architectural Approach to Mobility
When it comes to mobility, everyone is learning fast in order to keep up. With what seems like daily advances in mobile technology and rapid consumer adoption, it is not getting any easier for organizations to break the cycle of reactive IT decision making. For many of our customers, enterprise mobility happened to them and the initial supporting architecture was built at light speed to respond to the demands of the business. While this approach was necessary to stop the deluge, it didn’t put all of the pieces in place to enable organizations to adapt the continuous change and emerging new realities of mobility. For instance:
- Users now connect to the network with three or more mobile/WLAN devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, resulting in complex wireless infrastructures and network bottlenecks.
- Inconsistent management tools and policies across the wired and wireless segments of the network increase the burden for network managers and drive up management costs and complexity.
- Employees demand access from devices not only within the corporation, but also beyond the firewall.
- Risk management dictates that corporate data must remain protected.
The need to balance productivity with security and coordinate business justification with the various line of business (LOB) owners has never been greater. IT leaders who want to break out of the reactive cycle of just keeping up must take a step back to evaluate what’s coming next. What changes are on the horizon? How will it impact my network? How can my network help me adapt to the changing needs of my employees?
In this second post of a four-part Network Matters blog series, I am advocating for an architectural approach to mobility that supports the need to look beyond current issues. Organizations need to prioritize their approach to new wireless network solutions, device management tools, mobile apps and cloud adoption. These components are driving the future of mobility – and an architectural approach is essential.
The Rise of Mobility Requires a Unified, Intelligent Network.
At Cisco, we often talk about the power of an Intelligent Network. While some people see the network simply as plumbing, we see a single unifying fabric that provides a wide range of capabilities to all connected devices. To us, an Intelligent Network is an asset that helps organizations tackle a wide array of challenges. It is a network that can adapt to change quickly to facilitate business agility. It is a network that provides pervasive security, rich visibility, and programmatic control. It is a network that has been built for mobility from the chip to the data plane to the network management and policy user interfaces. It’s a must in our rapidly evolving mobile landscape.
Let me get a bit more specific. An Intelligent Network will enable customers to provide guest wireless access in remote branches without stressing the WAN links by breaking out guest Internet traffic at the branch. An Intelligent Network will help deliver enhanced mobile experiences by providing indoor location to mobile devices and applications. An Intelligent Network will follow users as they move from wired to wireless to mobile device and ensure that they can continue to securely access the applications and services necessary to do their jobs. An Intelligent Network includes modularity at all levels to enable customers to enhance their existing network without replacing all elements. An Intelligent Network provides deployment options that fit the campus, the branch, and everything in between.
In short, an Intelligent Network solves the challenges of mobility by embedding the all of the capabilities required, tightly integrating them into the operation of the network, and making them present wherever that network exists.
The alternative is an ever-growing pile of over-the-top solutions that each solves one part of the problem. Each time a new advance in mobility occurs, another patch has to be applied. Over time, the complexity and inter-dependencies slow organizations to a grinding halt, impeding their ability to take advantage of new mobile capabilities. This impacts productivity directly and over time it can drive away workers who expect rapid adoption of these technologies by their employers.
We believe that by leveraging a strategic and modular approach to mobility built upon an Intelligent Network, organizations can better focus on building networks that can grow and evolve to accommodate more people, things, and information than ever before. Mobility is not a single act; it is an ongoing process requiring an architectural approach.
The next blog post of our Network Matters series will discuss how this architectural approach to mobility can enable service providers to drive the consumerization of IT and create new, interactive customer experiences.
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