Given the uncertainty over the development road map for the Internet’s core and the future of end-to-end Internet protocol connectivity, what should enterprises do to protect the value of their own Internet infrastructure investments?
The bad news is that most enterprises don’t have the clout to do much except vote with their feet and their wallets — perhaps keeping more traffic on private networks if they don’t like what’s happening on the Web.
The good news is most enterprises are in the same boat, and industry committees and leading vendors generally cater to the needs of the majority of customers. “If they build on today’s Internet standards, they’re going to be supported for quite some time; they have to be,” says Symantec CTO Rob Clyde.
Another piece of good news, says Forrester Research Director Charles Rutstein, is that “the decentralized nature of the Internet coupled with redundancy does in fact tend to solve nearly all problems.” That characteristic notwithstanding, Rutstein does have some more specific advice.
“Stay mainstream. ... Rely on protocols that we have a high degree of certainty cannot possibly be shut down,” Rutstein counsels. “Shuttling stuff through Port 80 — for example, SSL-based VPNs — is a good bet, rather than using IPSec VPNs, which have all kinds of interoperability problems.”
“And don’t rely on a single carrier,” Rutstein says. “It used to be incredibly complex to multi-home your enterprise, and [it was] incredibly expensive, but today that’s no longer the case. It’s incumbent upon any network manager to multi-home their network. … It insulates you from the behavior of any single carrier.”