B.V. Jagadeesh is the President and CEO of Virtela. Mr Jagadeesh has a proven track record of managing and building market leaders. Previously, he served as Group Vice President and General Manager of Citrix Systems' Application Networking Group after the company's acquisition of NetScaler, where he served as President and CEO. During his tenure at NetScaler, Mr Jagadeesh grew the company to become the market leader in Application Delivery Systems, leading to its acquisition by Citrix.
Prior to NetScaler, he co-founded Exodus Communications. While with Exodus, he successfully helped the company grow from start-up to a leader in the Web co-location market and was instrumental in its highly successful IPO (Initial Public Offering of shares). Mr Jagadeesh was also president and CEO of 3Leaf Systems, which was sold in a private transaction, and has held various management and engineering positions at Novell and 3Com.
Mr Jagadeesh serves as chairman of the board of NetMagic Solutions, a leading IT services company in India, and was a director of Ankeena (acquired by Juniper Networks) and Ocarina Networks (acquired by Dell).
B.V Jagadeesh holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Bangalore University and a master's degree in electrical engineering from University of Bombay, India.
The tremendous growth in mobile devices and their penetration into business life has a profound effect on service providers. This article highlights four areas of enhancements that are required to cope with this proliferation: local peering extending the reach nearer to the Cloud, network performance including WAN (Wide Area Network) optimisation, device management (merging personal and corporate use) and securing the ‘perimeter’ of enterprise data. Service providers can help enterprises in their mobility strategy and provide managed services that support these requirements.
In the past year, there has been an explosion of mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, used by both consumers and businesses. Currently there are over five billion mobile phones in use, and IDC predicts one billion of those devices will be smartphones by 20151. Sales of smartphones and tablets will outnumber PCs this year, according to Deloitte2. Smartphones already have much of the same capabilities as PCs, but are more portable, allowing users to access the network, Internet and applications on the go. Because of this portability factor, the number of mobile Internet users is soaring. IDC also predicts that the number of Internet users (mobile and wired) globally will jump from two billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015. Mobile devices are slowly but surely pushing PCs out of the picture and it is just a matter of time before the desktop PC becomes side-lined.
So what does this mean? In simple terms, business models across the board must change. The influx of mobile devices is already having a tremendous impact on businesses that see the opportunity for new revenue streams enabled by mobile, but struggle with implementing the correct strategy. Whether you are a vendor, service provider or enterprise, no one will go untouched, and those who do not plan accordingly for a mobility strategy will be left in the dust. The role vendors are playing in response to this mobility trend is fairly clear: vendors are rapidly rewriting applications to be mobile enabled. The result is that a new wave of applications is coming to the market. These are not just consumer apps. We are seeing a trend toward major software vendors selling enterprise apps in cloud-based “storefronts” modelled after Apple’s successful App Store.
This trend has a huge impact on the network, and particularly on network and service providers. Service providers will be greatly affected by mobile proliferation. They must take steps to ensure that they are adequately prepared for it. Outlined below are four key implications service providers must keep in mind as they help their enterprise IT customers implement a mobility strategy.
The growing prevalence of mobile devices means users are positioned all over the world. No longer is demand for access to data and applications centred on fixed locations such as offices and homes. With smartphones, this demand for access to the Internet and private and public clouds can come from anywhere, anytime. This is forcing service and cloud providers to cast a much larger net, geographically, in order to meet these demands.
It is unrealistic to expect that a service provider will have locations everywhere, all over the world. Providers must therefore have a local Internet routing solution that optimises and guarantees application performance and security for their customers — in country – whether they are on net or off net. This is where the idea of peering comes in. Peering partnerships give carriers a tremendous opportunity to offer new and better performing services to their enterprise customers by teaming up with local carriers and mobile providers. Carriers can leverage their own infrastructure and that of other providers to build extended, cost-efficient and secure highways to the mobile users’ content sources.
Taking this a step further, the mobile user experience is primarily a function of how close users are to their content source (Internet, cloud or data centre). If a user is geographically far from the source he or she is accessing, a number of “hops” are required in order for this user to reach the desired location on the Internet. In other words, Internet traffic in one country is backhauled to another country, and this can happen multiple times. Cloud and Internet providers must therefore push the edge of their cloud as close as possible to their end users to avoid poor experience. More often than not, this can only be done by partnering with local providers and utilizing their local points of presence to keep traffic in region. In addition, the growing role of ISPs/wireless access providers serving as the end users’ springboard cannot be understated. Cloud service providers must push the edge of their network to the doorstep of the local ISPs/wireless access providers in order to maximise the efficiency of cloud-based applications for end users.
As mobile devices continue to saturate corporate and consumer settings, network optimisation is critical. Service providers must continuously improve their networks to ensure that mission-critical operations are not negatively impacted and end user frustration is kept to a minimum. Users will not accept network failure, and that expectation has now extended to mobile devices. Users expect access to the Internet, the cloud and other applications and they expect it fast. Business users in particular do not have time to wait for a mobile page to load because their Internet access is slow. This decreases productivity on the business side and results in frustrated end users, whether business or consumers. In order to enhance the mobile device experience, service providers must ensure appropriate performance of mobile devices and network connection.
Another way in which service providers can improve the mobile device experience is by adopting innovative technologies such as WAN (Wide Area Network) optimisation, which have the ability to accelerate mobile access and content delivery for the enterprise. Implementing WAN optimisation should not require a complete overhaul of a provider’s network. With the rate at which mobile devices are entering the workplace, service providers would benefit from cloud-based mobile acceleration solutions that can speed content delivery and eliminate the frustrations workers face with unreliable connections, slow networks and dropped data transfers.
Mobile device management
Today it is common knowledge that smartphones can lead directly to increased productivity as users can access the network and applications, and easily accomplish tasks wherever they are. However, if enterprises do not have a mobility strategy in place, this increased productivity cannot be fully realised. As mobile proliferation continues in the enterprise, CIOs and IT departments are struggling with managing an influx of devices, both corporate and employeeowned. With the saturation of various makes and models of smartphones, managing corporate policies, apps and network security has become a major IT nightmare. Enterprise IT teams do not have the time to manage this problem, but cannot afford not to.
This presents a huge opportunity for service providers. Enterprises will increasingly look to their service providers to help manage and secure their mobile devices. In order to meet the needs of their enterprise IT customers, it is imperative that service providers have the capability to offer Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, helping customers to provision, secure and manage costs across a wide set of mobile devices. Service providers that do not have MDM offerings may find themselves getting marginalised by other providers that do. As more and more mobile devices enter the workplace and begin replacing PCs, having an MDM offering will become increasingly crucial.
A major concern for businesses, particularly enterprises, is mobile security. A recent study shows that mobile malware increased by 273 per cent in the first half of 2011, compared to the same period in 20103. As the growth of mobile devices continues, this problem is only going to get worse. Corporate mobile users may unknowingly download malicious content to their devices, and this poses a major threat to their company’s network. Business-critical applications can be compromised and sensitive information uncovered through devices that get lost or stolen.
As enterprise IT departments struggle to keep their business secure, while strained for resources, they will increasingly look to their service providers to deliver the added mobile security they need. Service providers that adopt the cloud as a service platform will be better positioned to offer enterprises the type of mobile perimeter security they need, as cloud centres add a layer of security unmatched by anything else. With advanced security measures built in at the cloud centre, any threat will hit the provider’s perimeter security before it ever reaches a company’s data centre.
The bottom line
Businesses across all industries are already seeing possibilities and side effects of mobile device proliferation. As mobile technology continues to evolve, this is only going to strengthen. While this trend presents a huge opportunity for businesses to grow and expand, having a well-thought-out strategy will be crucial to a company’s ability to leverage mobile technology successfully.
Vendors will continue to come up with new and creative ways to create or rewrite applications, optimising them for mobility – which will have a widespread effect on networks and service providers. At the same time, the rise of smartphones presents a unique opportunity to managed service providers in terms of opening up new revenue streams. Enterprises will rely, more than ever, on service providers to help them manage their mobility strategy – something they must be prepared for. Providers must constantly innovate and transform their networks, creating new offerings, partnering with other providers when necessary, and looking for ways to deliver the highest quality services to their enterprise customers whose needs are constantly changing.
1 International Data Corporation: Worldwide New Media Market Model, September 2011
2 Deloitte: Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions, January 2011
3 G Data: Malware Report, September 2011