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AAN: A Vision for the Future
Steve Koppman | Analyst at Large
As numerous changes occur in the network, a shift to application-aware networking (AAN) will be an answer to the rising challenges.

The next three to five years will see AAN become much more pervasive, widespread and normalized.
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Application-Aware Networking: The Carrier Perspective
End-user customer organizations depend centrally on application performance. When a retailer's credit card transaction application falters, for example, this can have sudden and devastating results. When taking customer orders, time is inarguably money.

While applications are essential to business performance, many often don't perform at required quality levels, even without these obvious failure symptoms. Under-performing applications have particularly painful results on customer organizations over time in lost revenue and devalued brands. Poor application performance can, meanwhile, be very complex to solve. Unraveling causes can be extremely costly, time-consuming and often fruitless nonetheless.

Until recently, market participants typically believed they could, and needed to, achieve acceptable application performance levels with resources near at hand. New challenges were most often met by adding bandwidth or devices, with no requirement for anything like "application-aware networking" (AAN).

New approaches to networking are more essential now than in the past due to greatly intensified demands placed on networks by the explosion in bandwidth use, proliferation of applications and, most importantly, the rapid spread of increasingly complex and geographically disparate modalities.

As the network undergoes upheaval, it is harder to tell where problems are and where they will emerge. At the same time network managers in this environment have increasing responsibility for application flow and greater expectations placed upon them to keep things under control, they have declining ability to see how applications fit together and where problems are originating.

AAN will become much more pervasive, widespread and "normalized" over the next three to five years. A significant penetration of application-awareness capabilities will become fairly common and a virtual requirement in some environments. Application delivery will be increasingly enhanced in the future by the communications control plane within SDN, providing a much more uniform, vendor-agnostic approach for creation of policy rules and security enforcement.

Application-Aware Networking: The Carrier Perspective examines the concept of application-aware networking (AAN), specifically from the carrier's point of view. It covers current trends and issues in the market, including application performance challenges and the shift to AAN. Finally, the report provides status reports on 11 prominent carriers in the market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (spiti1213_toc_2.pdf)
Though a critical long-term goal, true application-aware networking remains far from realization. A few carriers overseas appear to be leading in the drive toward AAN. Some usual U.S. market leaders are reluctant even to comment. Use of the AAN term, meanwhile, like that of many industry labels as they become widespread, is complicated by the reality that many market participants already use it in varied and inconsistent ways, sometimes for years, for whatever they are doing in the application performance domain, typically incorporating longstanding APM and WAN optimization features.
Companies cited in this report include: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T); BelgaCom Group (Euronext: BELG); BT Group plc (NYSE: BT); CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL); Level 3 Communications (NYSE: LVLT); Reliance GlobalCom, a division of Reliance Communications Ltd. (NSE: RCOM); Tata Communications Ltd. (NSE: TATACOMM); Telstra Corp. Ltd. (OTC Pink: TLSYY); tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC); Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ); and XO Communications, owned by XO Holdings Inc. (OTCBB: XOHO).
Total pages: 17
DECEMBER 2013
Smart Data Monetization: Operator Strategies Take Shape
This report analyzes the role policy management will play in network operator data monetization efforts. It examines the potential for policy management to serve as a cooperative platform for network and IT departments to collaborate. It includes results from an exclusive Heavy Reading survey of network operators regarding their deployment strategies regarding policy management and charging.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
OCTOBER 2013
Big Data: Big Cost or Big Opportunity?
This report explores the efforts telecom operators are making to exploit their data assets. It reviews the ways big data can be used; how operators use it; and lessons learned that fast followers should consider. The report also profiles 15 leading providers of big data solutions for the telecom sector.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
JUNE 2013
DCIM Evolves to Meet Cloud Service Delivery Requirements
This report examines what telcos and cloud service providers want from DCIM platforms, comparing their requirements against the tools vendors deliver. All major DCIM vendors are profiled, summarizing their product and sales approach, and predicting how market demand and competition will pan out over the next 12 months.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
ANALYST
Caroline Chappell
Caroline writes the Services Software Insider research newsletter, addressing the latest developments telecom service delivery technology.
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Caroline Chappell
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Denise Culver
Denise is the author of IP Services Insider. She has more than ten years' experience in technology journalism.
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Denise Culver
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Tim Kridel
Tim writes for both Mobile Networks Insider and Cable Industry Insider. He has previously covered the wireless and cable industries for a number of research firms, including Heavy Reading.
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Tim Kridel
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