In the days when businesses expanded through brick-and-mortar investment, entrepreneurs and business leaders were able to control how fast people were able to access their services, and scale up smoothly in response. In more recent years, social media and the rise of on-demand video, online gaming and over-the-top services has ushered in an age of viral growth. Gracefully supporting the "going viral" nature of our world is what the next generation of networks is all about, and it is starting to affect enterprises as much as content providers.
A "web-scale" network is one that can get big, fast, to keep up with these trends. The term was first used to describe the data center and content distribution architectures used by Internet content providers, who needed to build these architectures to service hundreds of millions, if not billions, of users. Enterprises are now leveraging similar design practices to address the "always on" challenge as more of their applications are migrated to the cloud. According to Gartner, web-scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50 percent of global enterprises by 2017.
The following slideshow from Rick Dodd, senior vice president of portfolio marketing and strategic market development, Ciena, chronicles the key steps network providers must take to web-scale their networks to support the size of the web and viral nature of our world.
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