The buzzwords for 2006: Awareness and automation

Loki Jorgenson offers his prognostications on what you can expect in the field of networking in 2006.

In 2006, several trends that have begun to emerge in 2005 will strengthen, both in terms of the attention they receive and the technologies that arrive to back them up.

The move toward "awareness" will continue to advance -- both "network awareness" of applications and "application awareness" of network elements are anticipated to contribute to the further coupling of network management and application performance. Driving both, VoIP will continue to influence other markets indirectly. Application modeling, use of performance metrics generating MOS-like measures, and other mechanisms specific to VoIP will move sideways into other application areas.

Automation will garner additional attention with a focus on networks and network-dependent applications. Although there are still a few years to go before these developments affect the average network, early adopters will begin to see advantages at the enterprise level. Some critical applications, such as for backup and recovery, will translate their newfound network awareness into limited forms of adaptivity.

Finally, the service level agreement will continue to transform, both as the players and technologies change, but also as customers come to expect more in support of the critical applications. For example, the appearance of MOS requirements for VoIP in SLAs will provide an opportunity for carriers to differentiate themselves to the market. Similar measures will be hinted at for the burgeoning video market but will lag by several years.

IMS [IP Multimedia Subsystem] will settle into its niche (no longer a hammer looking for a nail) and hopefully stop bothering the rest of us.

With a Ph.D. in computational physics from McGill University, Loki Jorgenson has been active in scientific computation, physics and mathematics, visualization, and simulation for over 20 years. He has published in areas as diverse as philosophy, graphics, educational technologies, statistical mechanics, logic and number theory.

This was last published in January 2006

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