Cisco study reveals 89% of IT professionals are planning to implement AI-ready data center in the next two years

Cisco study reveals 89% of IT professionals are planning to implement AI-ready data center in the next two years

Cisco has highlighted key global networking trends that are shaping the future of digital businesses.

The company’s research has shown that networks are increasingly becoming an integral part of successful business strategies.

According to Cisco’s 2024 Global Networking Trends Report, more advanced network environments are linked to better results. The 2,000 plus IT leaders and professionals surveyed have agreed that a network investment leads to a clear uptick in every key business metric – from customer and employee satisfaction to operational efficiency and business growth.

Factors like Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud, hybrid work, applications and Internet of Things (IoT) have immense potential to accelerate innovation. However, efforts to deliver quality experiences are often thwarted by increasing network complexity, legacy approaches and mismatched skillsets.

The report has identified three overarching themes that are dominating the digital landscape.

The platform

IT leaders and professionals understand the transformational impact of adopting a centralised network management platform on their infrastructure and business, with 72% expecting to deploy a platform across one or more networking domains over the next two years. Anticipated benefits of a network management platform include faster IT and business innovation (43%), better network performance and faster deployment of networks, apps and services (41%) and increased security posture (40%).

For AI with AI

With AI, organisations are on a journey towards creating self-optimising networks. According to Cisco’s study, 89% of the participants are planning to implement AI-ready data centers, and 61% are likely to integrate AI-native predictive analytics into their data center operations in the next two years. In addition, 56% expect to deploy a next-generation enhanced Ethernet network to support AI workloads in their data centers.

Meanwhile, with AI, organisations are modernising data centers to meet the requirements of these new demanding workloads while advancing operations, digital resilience and security. Of the IT leaders and professionals surveyed, 60% are planning to have AI-enabled predictive network automation in place across all domains to manage network operations (NetOps) in the next two years.

Cisco’s report has also found that 54% of the respondents anticipate having an AI-enabled secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, and 51% are likely to adopt AI-enabled endpoint recognition and policy management. Furthermore, 38% expect to incorporate AI-enabled digital experience assurance, while 25% have their sights set on AI-enabled network solutions to deliver sustainability outcomes.

Secure networking

Security has emerged as the top networking concern and the second-most important metric in measuring the success of networking initiatives (30%). In Cisco’s survey, 42% of the participants said integrating networking and security is the area requiring the most improvement to meet their IT and business objectives.

Faster cybersecurity threat identification and response is the main benefit of network and security convergence for 44% of IT leaders and professionals, while 38% have said cloud-enforced security is their top networking investment priority over the next 12 months.

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