Virtualization, cloud computing, and wireless technologies are fundamentally changing enterprise computing, providing revolutionary gains in productivity and cost savings. They are also driving a complete rethinking of enterprise networking architectural strategy. The well-documented impact of these disruptive technologies affect everything from server strategies to power requirements. However, one of the most affected areas—the enterprise network access layer—has been left out of the conversation.
Traditional enterprise network architectures establish “rules of thumb” for access
technologies, setting a foundation for network design and allowing customization for specific needs. For example, the question “How many switch ports do I need on this floor?” used to easily be answered by counting desks and assigning three to four Ethernet ports per desk. The answer to “What network equipment and services do I put into each branch?” was easily determined by identifying number of people in the branch and the most affordable type of equipment to install.