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Community Blog The Evolving Network Infrastructure

The Evolving Network Infrastructure

This short article discusses the evolution of networks/infrastructure and the importance of cyber security.

I still remember the first time I saw a Cisco router. It was freshly installed in one of the comms racks in the basement of Hampshire County Council's headquarters in Winchester (Hampshire, England).

I was employed there as a Network Technician, and my job involved installing and troubleshooting dumb green screen-screen terminals connected by brown coax cable to patch panels linked to cluster controllers fed by the mainframe computer in the basement. External sites (schools, fire stations, police stations, and other locations that fell under the Council's jurisdiction) had access to the mainframe computer using their own cluster controllers via 2400 and 9600 bps modems.

That situation occurred in the early 1990s. In the years that followed, Cisco Systems dominated the IT infrastructure industry. Their routers and switches formed the backbone of the Internet and were indirectly responsible for many changes to societies and economies worldwide.

For many years, it seemed market dominance would never change. Network Engineers studied constantly to gain and renew our Cisco certifications; CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE. Unfortunately, I never quite succeeded in gaining a CCIE, but that didn't prevent me from developing a long career as a network engineer that has lasted 30 years.

Technological Evolution

The rapid evolution of technology in the form of chips, hardware, and operating systems has presented challenges for the engineers that install, configure, and maintain the networks. It has generated opportunities for start-up businesses on the one hand and the end users on the other.

The market has changed a great deal in the past few years. The evolution of the existing technologies and new vendors with innovative products have entered the market, and businesses have turned their attention to these, noticing the opportunities they present in terms of reducing IT costs and increasing cybersecurity in light of an ever-changing threat landscape.

Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks is a cybersecurity company founded in 2005. The company's founders recognized the need for a new type of security software that could better protect enterprise networks from the increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats that were emerging at the time. Palo Alto Networks was one of the first companies to develop a next-generation firewall, and it quickly became a leader in the cybersecurity market.

Today, the company's products are used by some of the largest organizations in the world to protect their networks from cybersecurity threats. The company has also expanded its product offerings to encompass a wide range of security solutions, including cloud security, endpoint security, and mobile security.

Fortinet

Fortinet is a cybersecurity company founded in 2000 by Ken Xie. The company's initial focus was providing firewall protection for businesses. Over time, Fortinet has expanded its product offerings to include other cybersecurity solutions (such as intrusion prevention, email security, and web filtering).

Today, the company is a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions for businesses of all sizes. Fortinet's products are used by many of the world's largest organizations, including banks, governments, and military establishments. The company has a strong commitment to research and development, and it regularly introduces new products and features to stay ahead of the latest cybersecurity threats.

They provide free online cybersecurity training for network administrators and engineers through the Fortinet Training Institute.

Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks started in the mid-1990s, at the dawn of the commercial Internet. The company was founded by Scott Kriens and Pradeep Sindhu, an engineer who worked on some of the first routers used by Internet service providers. Juniper's early products were based on an innovative new technology called JUNOS, which helped make them more scalable and reliable than other routers on the market. Juniper quickly became a leading provider of network equipment for ISPs, and their products found their way into enterprise networks soon after.

In the 2000s, Juniper expanded beyond routers and began to offer a complete line of networking products, including switches, security appliances, and software. In recent years, Juniper has been a leader in the cybersecurity space, with a range of products that help protect against data breaches and cyber attacks.

Network Evolution

SD-WAN

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a new approach to WAN design that aims to address some of the traditional challenges associated with WANs. SD-WAN networks are designed to be more flexible and easier to manage than traditional WANs while still providing the high-speed connectivity that businesses need. SD-WAN technology uses software to control and manage WAN traffic instead of relying on dedicated hardware devices.

This allows businesses to add or remove capacity as needed more easily and makes it easier to troubleshoot problems when they arise. In addition, SD-WAN networks can be configured to automatically reroute traffic around obstacles (such as congestion or outages), ensuring that business-critical applications always have a reliable connection.

SD-LAN

SD-LANs are becoming increasingly popular as the advantages of software-defined networking become more widely recognized. SD-LANs offer a number of benefits over traditional LAN networks, including greater flexibility, easier management, and improved security.

At its core, an SD-LAN is a network defined and managed entirely by software. This means all of the network components can be controlled and configured from a central location, making it much easier to add or remove devices and make changes to the network. In addition, SD-LANs are highly secure because they are not reliant on physical hardware. Since all of the network components are software-based, they can be easily updated and patched to address any security vulnerabilities.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a term that refers to the use of shared computer resources, including software and data storage, over the Internet. In recent years, cloud computing has become increasingly popular, as businesses and individuals alike have come to appreciate its many benefits.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of cloud computing is its flexibility. Users can access their files and applications from any Internet-connected device with cloud computing. This allows businesses to provide their employees with the freedom to work from anywhere, which can boost productivity and morale.

Additionally, cloud computing can save businesses money by eliminating the need to invest in on-site hardware and software. Instead, businesses can subscribe to a pay-as-you-go model that allows them to only pay for the resources they use. With so many advantages, it's no wonder that cloud computing has become such a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.

Alibaba Cloud provides a wide range of services, including storage, computing, networking, and security. Alibaba Cloud's services are used by businesses of all sizes. Businesses are attracted to the flexible, scalable, and cost-effective way to store, process, and manage data.

Final Thoughts

The potential for businesses to harness the power of technology has never been greater. Thanks to advances in hardware and software, businesses can collect and process vast amounts of data more efficiently than ever before. At the same time, the need to protect this data from cyber threats has also become more pressing.

As a result, the market for IT products and services is in a constant state of flux, with new products and solutions emerging to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses. This dynamic environment can be exciting and challenging for businesses, but businesses that keep up with the latest trends and technologies will be well-positioned to capitalize on new opportunities.

About the Author

Ben Lovegrove is a Senior Network Engineer with over 30 years of experience in IT and data communications. He blogs about all kinds of things but mainly aviation and network engineering. You'll find his latest posts at benlovegrove.com.

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