Big Data, Cloud Computing Straining Networks

September 16th, 2016

Has networking reached some kind of fundamental inflection point? That’s the question Arik Hesseldahl explores in a recent report for, a technology-based site owned by Wall Street Journal publishers Dow Jones.

Hesseldahl writes that 150 senior IT executives were surveyed in an attempt to further understand how current trends in the enterprise, like cloud computing and big data, are affecting enterprise networks.

The findings: While cloud computing and software-as-a-service products tend to save money and time by taking dedicated hardware and software out of the equation, using them puts new demands on the network: 58 percent of those surveyed said cloud services had added enough demand to their networks that they had to upgrade the networking hardware.

Cloud services tend to go hand in hand with an increased usage of mobile devices: 47 percent of businesses have seen increased demand from employees bringing their own devices to work.

The complications for networks have grown past the point where adding more bandwidth is enough. 86 percent of the companies in the survey have not been unable to spin up new services or support certain business demands, because their networks were simply not up to the task. Another 74 percent reported that their networks had become complex, while 35 said their networks had become “too rigid to manage.”

Hesseldahl concludes that IT organizations are at a point where networks are under more demand than ever, and less able to meet those demands. The solution is to make sure that all the bits used to build the network work together well. The old way — running networks mainly by just adding more bandwidth — won’t get the job done. The network has to be built with overarching business objectives in mind, with teams that are usually separate — security, manufacturing, quality control — getting more intimately involved with building the network than they have been before.