Enterprise Transformation and Network Architecture
Constructing a Platform for Business Value Acceleration
By Cisco Systems
Published March 2007; Posted July 2007


Abstract:


Whether your company is being strongly affected by globalization, outsourcing, private equity competition, increased regulation, or Web 2.0, it is clear that future requirements for enterprise computing will only be more demanding. To survive and prosper, companies must reduce operating costs, increase automation and control, and prepare to scale the number of business relationships they can support. Increasingly, the remedies to the challenging problems lead to one question: What is the role of the network? The transport-centric vision for the network is now giving way to a converged vision in which enterprise and network architecture meet separated by a framework called service-oriented architecture (SOA). But what does this really mean?

As the ideas of SOA have penetrated the thinking of the enterprise architects who design the structure of the processes, systems, and applications that support a business, a new form of convergence has arisen. It is now unrealistic to approach enterprise architecture and the task of building a platform for change in terms of the applications alone. Companies are now realizing that traditional definitions of enterprise architecture are too small to contain the scope of the solution. Many of the services that are crucial in the world of SOA find their natural home in the network, not in the application.

To explain this phenomenon, this paper will focus the demands that Web 2.0, one of the leading transformational forces, places on a company. SOA has emerged as the technology architecture of the platform to support Web 2.0. Many current efforts at reshaping enterprise computing are focused on how to properly use SOA to create the maximum business value through Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 models.

The task of using SOA to create an operationally robust platform requires that network architecture become part of the design process, not just an invisible transport layer. If business transformation is not supported by the right network design, the efforts will most likely not deliver on performance requirements. This paper explains why.
 

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