In the digital age, network management has grown increasingly complicated and at an almost breakneck speed. Next-generation networks promise legions of microservices and network management challenges that most experts believe can only be handled by some form of network management automation, be it via deterministic means or through AI. On October 10 in Las Vegas, Juniper Networks gathered industry analysts to discuss the company's vision for next-generation networks. In light of the continued slow pace of adoption of software-defined networks (SDN) and network automation, it was interesting that the theme of the discussions was more about people and processes and less about cutting-edge technology. In essence, Juniper Networks feels that vendor solutions are not matching up well to where they have to run and who is supposed to run them.
Network slicing is a network capability that allow for the creation of multiple virtual networks on top of a shared physical network infrastructure. Using similar principles to those behind software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), network slicing can introduce greater network flexibility by partitioning network architectures in virtual elements that can then be linked through software. The virtual networks that are created can then be customized to suit different network functions, applications, devices, and customer or operator needs. This will become essential in 5G networks as singular core networks can be sliced into multiple virtual networks that could each support a different radio access network (RAN) as well as the different service types running across those RANs. It is then imagined that the virtual networks would be able to cater to different requirements in a more flexible manner than previous 3G/4G networks.
It has been 12 years since Princeton researchers Mark Newman and Albert-László Barabási wrote about the changes of modern computing networks. Their book "The Structure and Dynamics of Networks" focused on the significant changes that corporate intranets faced. Things have changed even more in recent years, as modern networks have become much more dynamic. The sudden emergence of dynamic networks has been a game changer for most of the corporate world. It makes their systems more responsive, but it also creates more competition.
Meta Networks' Meta NaaS platform offers a global backbone, identity-based policy routing, always-on VPN, agent-free connectivity for personal devices, a cloud-delivered security stack, unified policy management, plus visibility, auditing and compliance. As enterprises have fragmented into multi-site operations with increasingly mobile employees who access on-premises and cloud-based resources via a mix of managed and personal devices, so the headaches for CIOs and CISOs have multiplied. How do you give users access to the applications and services they need to get work done, while also ensuring that network security is not compromised? An increasingly popular approach is the software-defined perimeter (SDP), which Gartner predicts is on track to be adopted by 60 percent of enterprises by 2021, replacing network VPNs. This space now has a new entrant, in the shape of Tel Aviv-based startup Meta Networks, which has emerged from stealth mode with $10 million of seed funding from VC firms Vertex Ventures and BRM Group.