This content is part of the Essential Guide: Cloud network management begins with the basics

Looking ahead to the biggest 2018 tech trends in networking

The year ahead will force IT professionals to break out of their comfort zones and embrace 2018 tech trends that are reshaping the enterprise networking field.

If you thought 2017 was the year of major disruptive technologies, wait until you see what's in store for the next 12 months. The year 2018 is going to be remembered as the year when technology professionals were forced to break out of their comfort zones and adapt to massive shifts in how enterprise IT operates.

All the technology adoptions from years prior, including virtualization and cloud computing, internet of things and advancements in the data center, have led up to what you can expect. So, with that, let's look at four technologies that have the potential to change enterprise IT forever and become the defining 2018 tech trends.

Cloud-managed everything

The adoption of cloud computing has brought many to the conclusion that the management of infrastructure components in the cloud is far easier when compared with on-premises counterparts. The days of having to VPN into your corporate office, then spin up a remote desktop app to access infrastructure management tools, will soon be a thing of the past.

Management of all infrastructure services, including servers, applications, databases, security tools and network hardware, can and will be accessed through an HTML5 web portal that's reachable from anywhere in the world. Not only will this streamline off-hours troubleshooting practices, but it will also usher in a new era of remote IT workforces that know no physical boundaries.

Serverless computing

Among 2018 tech trends, one that surprised many in terms of real-world enterprise adoption rates is the area of serverless computing. Thanks to huge advancements from cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, serverless computing is shaping up to eliminate the need for an operating system when deploying applications and services in the cloud.

Previously, it looked as though container-based technologies would be the next major evolution in enterprise computing. But serverless computing has made tremendous strides over the past few months. So much so, many are proclaiming the beginning of the end for traditional server operating systems beginning in 2018.

AI-integrated apps

Applications aren't only going to get faster and easier to use, they're also going to become far more intelligent. Look for developers to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into applications you already use today. From an infrastructure perspective, the addition of AI within 2018 tech trends means more computing power, increasing bandwidth requirements and lower latency between the application and end user.

In fact, AI is moving the real-time data needs of some business-critical applications to the point where they are being considered as important as traditional voice and video communications. So, get ready to adjust your quality-of-service strategy -- this time moving AI-integrated apps to the top of the priority list.

Unified enterprise applications

Finally, advancements in API tools and development platforms will lead to organizations that have their entire suite of enterprise applications unified in a meaningful way. APIs open the door for combining two or more previously separated applications for the purpose of sharing information between apps. Instead of relying on the user to pull out relevant data from multiple apps to make business decisions, API access, automation and AI will be used instead. Developers will create these unified enterprise applications to save time and streamline business functions.

At first glance, it would seem that AI-integrated apps will have little impact on the IT infrastructure side of the business. But on closer examination, you'll see that combining the data of two or more applications requires quite a bit from a back-end perspective. This is especially true when you are working in large, distributed hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments. If this is the case, you'll likely have to deal with issues such as data silos, network latency, and other connectivity and optimization tasks.

Dig Deeper on Cloud and data center networking

Unified Communications
Mobile Computing
Data Center