Whitepaper: The iEverything Enterprise
Virtualization, cloud computing, and wireless technology are fundamentally changing enterprise computing, providing revolutionary gains in productivity and cost savings. Powerful enterprise applications can now be delivered to almost any device, anywhere, at any time and take advantage of tremendous computing power available in consumer devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Regardless of whether these devices are issued corporately or personally owned, almost every IT department is experiencing the effects of unprecedented smart device adoption in their enterprise.
These changes demand that IT organizations think strategically about their Wi-Fi™ infrastructures, so that they can maximize the benefits of mobility and virtualization while helping ensure the flexibility needed to accommodate rapid growth and changing user needs. Integrating this new world of mobile, virtual computing begins with selecting the right wireless access infrastructure that can:
- Scale to support many high-speed devices without service interruption
- Easily integrate users’ diverse devices, whether company-issued or personally owned
- Provide secure, reliable access to enterprise applications based on the users’ identities
- Help eliminate inconsistent wireless performance
- The Computing Paradigm Shift – Mobility Changes Everything
Just a few short years ago, if you claimed that “everything will access the network wirelessly and wires will be obsolete from the network access layer,” you would have been laughed out of the room. Since the 1990s, Wi-Fi has been implemented in laptop computers and by sheer momentum usage grew rapidly. However, wireless access remained little more than a convenient way to access basic services while away from your desk. Desktops and laptops continued to have wired network connections for their primary access and no IT manager in his right mind considered delivering mission-critical applications wirelessly. In 2007 about 300 million Wi-Fi devices were shipped, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, and still Wi-Fi was not broadly leveraged for primary access.
However in 2007, Apple’s introduction of the Apple iPhone™ and iPod™ Touch changed everything. Although these devices did not greatly increase the number of Wi-Fi devices shipped, they demonstrated distinct use cases for how users could change their daily routines to incorporate mobility and increase productivity both at home and at work. The iPhone™, the iPad™, and the many smart devices that have followed since all have enough computing power to run business applications and enable robust, simultaneous voice and video communications. These devices, their inherent computing power, and their ease of use spurred all new use cases for smart devices and drove Wi-Fi adoption by consumers, who began bringing them to work and demanding to use them to become more productive. Additionally, commercial enterprises began to realize that leveraging virtualization on these low-cost devices would allow users to securely and reliably run mission critical operations.
A second trend, cloud computing, is contributing to a seismic change in how IT delivers services and applications and how users access them. When IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service ubiquitously to multiple users, they open the door to almost unlimited computing power on any device, anywhere, at any time.
Enterprises are not wasting any time taking advantage of these productivity enhancements. Analysts forecast that the number of devices shipped into the enterprise without any wired Ethernet ports will exceed the number with Ethernet ports as early as 2011. And the total number of Wi-Fi devices shipped in the enterprise will quadruple from 2009 to 20141. IT organizations are beginning to recognize that Wi-Fi can become a strategic, primary-access platform for application delivery, instead of just a convenient wireless connection.