Understanding emerging networking trends is increasingly important for IT professionals and companies of all sizes to stay competitive.

The global network infrastructure market is expected to reach $197.8 billion by the end of 2024 and increase to $256 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.67%. This is a projected $58.2 billion increase in just four years.

Staying current with developments in the industry, as well as anticipating where these trends may lead, is vital. Not only does it help inform strategy and resource allocation, but it also provides insight into competitors’ tactics, strengths, and weaknesses.

To provide IT-centric insights into the latest developments in cloud network management and networking in general, we have compiled a list of the top 10 networking trends that shaped 2023 and what they indicate for tomorrow.

Let’s dive right in.

How we conducted our research

To put together this list, we used Google Trends as a primary resource to discover significant patterns and anomalies in recent search behavior. We also took a wider perspective on industry trends to analyze in context what they mean for the IT world.

These 10 trends provide insights into today’s conversations around cloud computing and networking, as well as the takeaways IT professionals can use to inform their strategy for 2024 and beyond.

1. Wi-Fi 7 market size has reached $1 billion, months ahead of the May 2024 launch

Bar graph showing growth of Wi-Fi market

Wi-Fi 7 is the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard for wireless networks. This market growth milestone represents the evolution of wireless technology and an imminent shift in digital networking.

In fact, by 2030, the market size is projected to reach $24.2 billion at a CAGR of 57.2%. Wi-Fi 7 is 2.4 times faster than Wi-Fi 6, which launched in 2019. It’s also capable of reaching at least 30Gbps versus a meager 9.6Gbps of the previous iteration.

However, Wi-Fi 7 is more than a tech update. It will transform user experience and digital interactions, and it will be a new horizon for IT professionals to explore. To stay ahead of the curve, companies need forward-looking Wi-Fi 7 solutions for mission-critical and industrial applications as well as consumer-facing applications such as 4K and 8K video, and cloud computing.

Backward compatibility is another advantage of the next-generation infrastructure as it will enable IT innovators to bring legacy systems up to speed with minimal service downtime and almost zero latency.

2. Interest in the search term “cloud computing security” soared to a near 5-year high in December 2023

Graph showing growth of search term cloud computing security

Rising interest in cloud computing security among Google users who are outside the IT industry reflects the growing complexities in safeguarding cloud environments. Today, security threats are increasingly more sophisticated, and more companies are focusing on cloud security to provide secure access and prevent costly data breaches and internal data leaks.

According to Google Trends, searches for the term “cloud computing security” reached 97% of its five-year peak in December 2023, following a general increase over the past few years. For comparison, the previous December saw only 67% of the peak number of searches, and in December 2018 searches for the keyword reached only 47% of its peak. This shows a 106% increase over five years.

This represents a shift in how companies view and manage their digital security. As a significant portion of organizational operations and data storage move to the cloud, more organizations and individuals are learning that robust security measures are not optional. IT professionals must answer the call to arms against cyber threats at an accelerated rate. 

One way to attain a more secure cloud-based IT framework is to invest in dedicated cloud security features as part of a larger network monitoring package. Managing digital security in the long run depends on discovering and addressing current breach scenarios and putting mitigation measures in place for the future.

3. Microsoft Azure has caught up with AWS in popularity among enterprises for public cloud usage, with both cloud computing platforms tying at a 75% adoption rate

Chart showing growth for Microsoft Azure vs AWS in popularity

It’s common for a larger organization to take a multi-cloud approach, adopting more than one cloud computing platform provider to meet their cloud architecture needs. Enterprises and tech-focused small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are more likely to use this strategy than traditional SMBs.

Security is the top reason enterprises adopt a multi-cloud or hybrid approach to cloud computing, with 59% of chief information officers (CIOs) that responded to a Zesty survey citing this concern. Other drivers include unique advantages offered by different providers (56%) and cost (39%).

Additionally, 39% of respondents to a 2023 survey listed artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, or application development as an incentive for adopting a multi-cloud approach.

According to a report on Statista, Azure has climbed in popularity over the past several years to match Amazon Web Service (AWS) in adoption among organizations with 1,000 or more employees. In fact, each platform provider is being adopted by three out of four enterprises for public cloud usage. This is based on survey results from technical professionals in organizations across numerous industries.

This balance between the two leading platform providers comes after Azure slightly overtook Amazon’s cloud computing platform in 2022, with Azure gaining 80% adoption compared to AWS’s 78%.

When the survey began gathering data in 2017, AWS led the pack with 59% adoption among enterprises, ahead of Azure (43%), Google Cloud (15%), IBM Public Cloud (10%), and Oracle Infrastructure Cloud (5%). Oracle’s cloud computing platform overtook IBM’s in 2019, the same year Google Cloud surged ahead in popularity to reach 50% adoption.

Alibaba Cloud debuted in 2019 with 5% adoption, peaked in 2021 with 12%, and began to trend downward.

Today, Google Cloud sits at a 46% adoption rate after trending downward for the past two years, Oracle has slightly increased to 29%, IBM Public Cloud has slipped to 24%, and Alibaba has a 9% adoption rate.

Adopting a public cloud can help organizations reduce costs, simplify breach or disaster recovery, use available human and tech resources more efficiently, and improve operation scalability.

4. IaaS is on track to see stronger growth in 2024 than PaaS or SaaS, with a 26.6% increase in end-user spending from $144 billion to $182 billion

Graph showing the growth of IaaS

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is primed for explosive growth by the end of 2024 due to its vital nature for public-private, and hybrid cloud applications.

Gartner’s November 2023 forecast shows significant growth in end-user spending for all cloud computing segments. Here are the projections for the other segments from 2023 to 2024:

  • Platform as a service (PaaS) – $145.3 billion to $176.5 billion (21.5% increase)
  • Software as a service (SaaS) – $205.2 billion to $244 billion (18.9% increase)
  • Business process as a services (BPaaS) – $66.3 billion to $72.9 billion (10% increase)
  • Desktop as a service (DaaS) – $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion (10.7% increase)

This follows significant increases from 2022 across the board, up from $120.3 billion for IaaS, $119.6 billion for PaaS, $174.4 billion for SaaS, $61.6 billion for BPaaS, and $2.4 billion for DaaS.

For technology professionals, investing in IaaS means leveraging lower capital expenditure (CapEx) on IT infrastructure, redundant and more robust security frameworks, and better overall performance from the cloud than would be feasible in an office environment. It also offers the capability to better monitor internal applications and processes with minimal IT spend. 

The individual enterprise IaaS offering may differ but business customers will get better bang for their IT buck than expensive and resource-heavy in-house cloud infrastructures.

5. Cloud end-user spending will increase 20.4% to reach $679 billion globally in 2024

bar graph showing the increase in cloud end-user spending

Cloud is becoming “essentially indispensable,” according to Gartner Vice President Analyst Sid Nag. But he warns that cloud innovation must keep up its pace as business outcomes increasingly dictate cloud models – rather than the other way around.

End-user spending on cloud computing is set to reach unprecedented levels in 2024, and solving non-technical pain points for users surrounding cost, sustainability, and privacy will be key for cloud “hyperscalers” like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google to gain ground in their market share.

Projections from Gartner show global spend for public cloud services growing from $563.6 billion in 2023 to $678.8 billion by the end of 2024. This is an increase from $478.3 billion in 2022.

Among drivers of this growth will be generative AI (GenAI), which will depend on the public cloud as it develops. End users in enterprises and SMBs should consider which cloud computing platform, or platforms, best supports their requirements but still consider room for scalability, sovereignty, user privacy, sustainability, and future application add-ons. 

Another important cloud-spending driver is industry cloud platforms which address industry-relevant requirements by combining SaaS, PaaS, IaaS offerings into singular products with plenty of adaptation and innovation capabilities.

In fact, Gartner predicts that 70% of enterprise customers will adopt industry cloud platforms to achieve business initiatives by 2027, a significant increase from less than 15% in 2023.

GenAI and other end-user offerings will transform enterprise spending radically and private consumers are highly likely to see beneficial tech-based kickbacks from the innovation on the enterprise front.

6. Interest in the search term “cloud cost” reached 99% of its global all-time high in the last month of 2023—tracking with 2 years of global economic downturn

Graph showing the growth of search volume for cloud cost

The increase in popularity of the search term “cloud cost” indicates that companies worldwide are seeking ways to optimize cloud spending as a direct result of the recent economic downturn.

The December 2023 peak follows another 99% peak in February and lifetime peak of 100% in May of that same year. This is a continuation of a major trend that began a year before, when searches leapt 36% between December 2021 and January 2022. They’ve remained near this level ever since, according to Google Trends.

This tracks with a global drop in GDP from a 6% annual growth rate in 2021 to 3.1% in 2022. Projections indicate GDP growth for 2023 is even lower, at 2.9%, and will continue to slow, reaching only 2.5% in 2024.

It’s reasonable to connect a decrease in global economic growth to an increased number of organizations seeking information on the cost impact of a cloud migration. Reaching innovative yet cost-effective solutions is a balancing act for IT pros. There are many variables to consider, such as long-term viability of network security solutions.

That said, IT leaders also have a clearer path on the network reinforcement front with technological advancements such as Wi-Fi 7 and frameworks such as edge computing highlighting clear investment areas.

graph showing the growth of search volume for networking security management

The global increase in the queries for this search term indicates growing concern over network security, signifying a heightened response to evolving cybersecurity challenges.

While searches in December 2023 were roughly three times higher than the same month a decade before, a late 2021 spike that coincides with the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 seems to indicate an interesting connection.

Google Trends shows that interest in the search term “network security management” remained relatively stable from 2010 to 2020. However, following a gradual uptick, searches for the keyword spiked between the last week of 2021 and the first week of 2022, from 30% of the current peak to 71% two weeks later. That seems to have been a turning point for interest in the keyword, as the increased number of searches has become its “new normal.”

The Omicron variant was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern in November 2021, and the prospect of renewed restrictions and mandates related to the pandemic, including the need for employees to again work from home indefinitely, may have contributed to skyrocketing interest in the search term “network security management” roughly a month later. Work-from-home arrangements create unique challenges for IT professionals, as network security is difficult to manage on personal devices connecting to external networks. 

While many workers have returned to traditional offices, a significant portion of employees worldwide still commute virtually in either purely work-from-home or hybrid arrangements. 

This significant jump in interest underscores the need for IT professionals to ramp up network security measures. It’s not just about defending against attacks but also anticipating and mitigating them. This is a window into the escalating challenges and responses in the realm of digital security—a narrative of resilience and adaptation in an ever-evolving cyber battleground.

8. Amazon ties with Juniper Networks for the top rank in pricing scores with a 4.1 out of 5 among the leading digital communications companies, followed by Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and HP

Diagram showing the top providers for cloud computing

The competition is fierce among the top cloud computing providers, but customer ratings gathered by Comparably point to Amazon and Juniper Networks being the best value for networking investment. 

After Amazon and Juniper Networks, competitors Google, Microsoft, and Cisco also tied with a slightly lower score of 4 out of 5, and ranking last for prices among leading cloud solutions providers was HP with 3.1 out of 5.

However, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 8, 2024, that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is in talks to acquire Juniper Networks for $14 billion. Excitement surrounding the possible acquisition contributed to an increase in stock value for Hewlett Packard (HPE) at 1.80% and Juniper (JPNR) at 2.12%. The acquisition was confirmed two days later.

Cost effective cloud solutions are front of mind for many end users, from multinational enterprises to SMBs. Particularly, with the recent economic downturn and other global events, companies are looking to invest in better value services while cutting out redundancies. On the other hand, we are seeing greater investment into network management solutions.

9. Amazon and Google are tied for the lead in product quality rankings with a score of 4.2 out of 5, ahead of competitors Microsoft, Cisco, Juniper Networks, and HP

diagram showing the top rankings for top cloud computing providers

While cutting technology costs is a priority for many organizations, the adage that you get what you pay for stands true, especially in terms of cloud network quality. 

However, among the top cloud computing providers, customers ranked Amazon and Google first for product quality, with Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper Networks being the next three in line.

According to user rankings on Comparably, Amazon and Google are the top choices for companies of all sizes looking to invest in network technology. However, it’s uncertain if these rankings will remain the same throughout 2024, as Microsoft Azure has tied Amazon Web Services for public cloud usage.

10. The worldwide edge computing market is projected to skyrocket 1108% in the next 8 years—after growing from $9.1 billion in 2022 to $13.5 billion in 2023

graph showing the growth of edge computing

Market growth for edge computing is fueled by the need for more efficient processing at the untapped outer nodes instead of the centralized server, as well as less load on the server and greater bandwidth.

With the edge computing market value increasing a staggering 48.4% year-over-year, from just over $9 billion in 2022 to $13.5 in 2023, it’s important to note that adoption is still in its early phases. In fact, only half of the 65% of companies who use edge computing today integrate it fully into their network infrastructure.

The market size is projected to more than double over the next five years at a CAGR of 15.6%, reaching $27.9 billion by 2028. Further, with new technology driving the expansion of the internet of things (IoT), the market is projected to skyrocket to $157.7 billion just four years later at an even higher CAGR of 34.3% from 2023 to 2032.

With many businesses planning full integration, edge computing is set to redefine network management. This move toward edge computing brings processing power closer to data sources, offering enhanced control and performance over the various network nodes. This is due to the server being free to implement network efficiency measures instead of using bandwidth for data processing. 

For IT professionals, this trend is a signal to gear up for a new era of distributed network infrastructure and an increased number of data processing touchpoints that will make data processing easier and more efficient. It will also mean better network visibility and a need for additional control measures.

These trends collectively paint a picture of a rapidly evolving networking landscape, where technology, security, and efficiency converge. For IT professionals, these trends are a roadmap to the future of network management, highlighting areas of growth and transformation.

Increased interest in network management signals a shift toward innovative, secure, and efficient cloud networks that offer greater flexibility in terms of long-term application storage and development while naturally reducing IT resource input. 

Some valuable insights from these trends include:

  • Investment in next-gen hardware infrastructure, such as base components for the new Wi-Fi 7 standard, will comprise a significant part of IT spend in the coming months.
  • Network security management will be a major concern for enterprise IT leaders, companies looking to reduce potential weaknesses in their in-house networks, as well as innovators in this space.
  • Overarching cloud costs will be an issue for decision-makers but investment into more robust cloud infrastructures, including the latest IaaS offerings, will be on a steady incline in the next several years. 
  • More companies will look toward edge computing to optimize processing power by moving it closer to the outer nodes, which have untapped processing potential for cloud networks.

This will require increasing investment in leveling up network management to stay ahead of internal enterprise IT challenges while ensuring absolute network touchpoint visibility and future-facing security.

With Auvik network management, you can embark on an IT innovation and network reinforcement journey without worrying about service downtime, application runtime setbacks, and security issues at any point.

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