2008 in Enterprise Networking

With 2008 winding down, and with everyone in the Pacific Northwest snowed in, I began thinking about what we’ve covered in the last year. Certain topics of yesteryear came back in full force, and many new developments also received a good bit of media coverage. In the six main topics we cover at Enterprise Networking Planet, let’s reflect back upon the year’s prevalent trends.

Network News

In the networking world, WAN acceleration continued to be an important topic. Cloud computing, which requires a solid network infrastructure, also continues to be growing. Enterprises are slowly coming around and dabbling in the cloud for more serious uses. Not coincidentally, WAN acceleration is becoming more important as more applications move to the cloud.

High-speed Ethernet has continued on its path toward higher capacities, and 40G adoption continued to grow. As service providers struggle to keep up with high bandwidth demands, 100G being just around the corner is a welcome reprieve.

Admin & Management

Not surprisingly, ITIL Service Delivery andService Management implementations continued to be on the rise. Other mainstays included VoIP, QoS, and virtualization.

Storage virtualization gained more traction as the big players, especially Hitachi, increased their advertising and development efforts in this space.

Efficient disaster recovery, outsourcing, and even virtualization got more attention in 2008, as all three areas have the potential for significant cost savings in IT.


Server 2008 is gaining widespread adoption, largely due to new features available. Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtualization software, launched to much fanfare as well.

Integration continued, and will continue to be a major part of Windows news. These days people have given in to the idea that both Windows and Linux will make up the IT workforce, and throwing virtualization in the mix means you must efficiently manage this mixed environment, somehow.

Finally, Microsoft has admitted defeat and extended support for Windows XP. Few IT departments have adopted Windows Vista; instead, they opt to wait for Windows 7 due out in 2009.

Linux & Unix

Red Hat continues to do well; in fact, its earnings beat estimates, while Sun continues to wither financially.

Technologically, however, Sun is continuing to make advances. In the Open Source realm, the second OpenSolaris version was released with many promised features completed. Sun’s involvement in open source is not limited to its own software any longer. Sun also announced its new “AMP” stack which will be supported on Solaris, Linux and eventually OS X and Windows. Apache, MySQL (which Sun now owns), and PHP make up the majority of Web applications. Its commitment to provide a supported stack and offer support for non-Sun operating systems is a wise move, but it is unclear how widespread the adoption will be, given that every Linux distribution has the LAMP stack pretty well figured out already.

Ubuntu Server has made its way into a few enterprises due to the licensing costs of RHEL and SLES. Speaking of SLES, Novell also turned a profit with its Linux business, which is continuing to grow.

Finally, Red Hat has been working diligently on oVirt, a clustered VM infrastructure very much like VMware ESX. This is the most promising project yet, and is definitely worth watching (or testing) in 2009.


This last year was like many others. We saw a few flaws that threatened widespread Internet outages, like another DNS Cache Poisoning attack. In the DNS arena, some movement toward DNSSEC has been made, despite its drawbacks. The US government volunteered to hold the key for the root zone, and the Public Interest Registry (for .org domains) has joined the small list of early adopters. DNSSEC also got its own coalition; movement is happening, and time will tell if this solution will work or not.

Spam and other perils remained about the same, with the exception of the McColo network being taken off-line by Global Crossing (its ISP), causing a huge reduction in global spam levels.

Standards & Protocols

VoIP continues to flourish, and talks of VoWifi continue. Work on NFSv4 (4.1, specifically) has been strong, and it promises to provide Parallel NFS capabilities.

IPv6 had a great year. In late 2007, at the RIPE 55 meeting the song, The Day the Routers Died, made its debut. Throughout 2008, network providers have made great headway toward IPv6 adoption. IPv6 was used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the federal government planned to transition to IPv6 by June.

Another Year, Gone

This has been a particularly difficult year for the world economy, and accordingly IT spending has decreased. Mainstays in the industry that lack innovative products may have taken a hit, while newcomers with better offerings have done quite well (Red Hat). One silver lining to economic difficulties is the acceleration of failures, which in the end benefits everyone.

Looking forward, 2009 promises to be an exciting year. We may have a viable open source VMware available, IPv6 will become more “real,” analog broadcast television will be a thing of the past, and of course, we’ll get another Internet security scare.

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