Thursday, April 12, 2012


In recent years, the enterprise IT landscape has changed dramatically as a result of globalization, mobility, and consumerization trends:
  • Globalization: Large enterprises are faced with the challenge of operating globally while maintaining a level of service commonly associated with a local presence. This challenge has caused enterprises to become distributed and virtual, which in turn has led to broad deployments of Virtualization technology (to virtualize access to data and software) and Unified Communications (UC) technology (to virtualize access to other people). Globalization and virtualization trends have also resulted in aggressive data center consolidation. 
  • Mobility: Virtual and distributed organizations no longer require employees to be in the same location, or even in a fixed location. Many organizations allow teleworking or provide “hoteling” stations rather than fixed offices for their “roaming” employees, and non-critical functions are typically outsourced to third parties. In this mobile world, users cannot afford to be tethered to their desks, so they prefer mobile devices and wireless networks to access corporate resources. This has put additional strain on virtual private networks and secure remote access solutions. 
  • Consumerization: Many people now find that equipment and services they use at home are both more user-friendly and less expensive than what is provided in the workplace. Consequently, a mobile workforce that frequently works from home prefers to manage their personal and professional lives from a single device, ideally using consumer rather than corporate technology. Organizations are responding by allowing employees to use their personal devices at work (BYOD) but this “consumerization” of IT goes well beyond the use of personal devices and will likely affect most aspects of IT infrastructure over time. 
As a result of these trends, enterprise IT organizations now have significantly less control than in the past over their IT infrastructure: less control over where their users are, less control over their users’ devices, and less control over the networks used to access enterprise resources. Ironically, these same market forces have only increased requirements for performance, response times, uptime, and security. How on earth are IT departments supposed to respond?

I founded Ubicity to help address this challenge. Ubicity deals with uncertainty in the infrastructure by exposing information about networks to application-level software. This will enable a new class of network-aware application software that can adapt dynamically to the underlying network and in turn drive the network to meet applications’ performance, functionality, and security requirements. Ubicity compensates for the loss of control over endpoints and services by adding control to the network.

This vision requires a new approach to networking that puts the focus on the user rather than the device, unifies various network features, and integrates with application software. Almost by definition, this implies software-defined networking architectures that will be spearheaded by software companies rather than appliance vendors. I hope to make a contribution by bringing the Unified Communications software perspective to the table.

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