We are living in pivotal times. Compute power has reached unprecedented levels and is affecting how we do business at every level. Those who embrace those technological advances accelerate their business velocity by orders of magnitude and develop an unfair advantage versus their competition. Technology is driving business velocity, and is increasingly determining winners and losers.\nDigital transformation\nThe fundamental changes businesses undergo to take advantage of the unprecedented power of technology is commonly referred to as digital transformation. It is driven by the ability to generate and analyze data like never before. It is generated by an estimated 80B IoT devices (in 2025): mobile phones, self-driving cars, HVAC systems, elevators, security systems, etc. This data is processed in data centers everywhere to extract insights and drive decisions - through analytics, machine learning and AI.\nEvery new device connected to the network communicates with hundreds if not thousands of other devices. Furthermore, the process of analyzing the original data from an IoT device generates orders of magnitude more data. Therefore, every new device connected to the grid increases total traffic in the network by a disproportionate amount. As a result, overall traffic is growing at an unprecedented rate.\nFor this reason, the network infrastructure has become either a critical foundation of an organization\u2019s digital transformation efforts, or it\u2019s Achilles heel. Deploying and operating network infrastructures that are unprepared to handle the requirements of your digital transformation is like playing Russian roulette with a massive data center outage. Network infrastructure builds, and operations can become a major bottleneck to business velocity.\nToday\u2019s status quo\nConsider this: Networks today are operated in essentially the same way as they were in 1995. That is 22 years ago -- the year Intel Pentium Pro was released. Today, 85% of networking teams still use the same arcane commands to configure every device in the network in what amounts to an overwhelmingly manual process. They troubleshoot networks by logging into every device and running those same commands manually to obtain the status of those devices, and they become experts at interpreting arcane vendor-specific code from those devices. And to monitor that their network infrastructures are running well, they continuously sift through mountains of telemetry or stare at visualizations 24\/7 to detect unusual patterns. As a result, organizations spend $3-$5 on average for every $1 of CapEx. If you\u2019re a traditional enterprise with legacy systems, you are likely spending a lot more \u2014 in some cases, an order of magnitude more.\nOn average, 80% of those resources are spent on manual operations \u2014 I would say wasted rather than spent, because anything you could automate, but that you haven\u2019t automated, is effectively wasted.\nThis means that on average, 80% of approximately $4 is wasted. That is $3.20 for every dollar of CapEx. And some organizations waste a lot more.\nIt doesn\u2019t end there \u2014 in fact it gets a lot worse. Until this point, this analysis has only focused on CapEx, and did not consider your top line. Here are a few examples:\n\nThe cost to your reputation from having an outage; for a company in the S&P 500, this can amount to tens if not 100s of millions of dollars per outage instance\nThe revenue you are likely to lose from having an outage; on average $1M per minute or outage \u2014 and in some cases a lot more\nThe amount of deferred revenue from taking your organization many months to stand up and provision a network required to deploy a new business service or implement a new initiative;\nThe amount of deferred revenue from taking weeks to make a change to the network that is required to support a new business service\nThe lack of competitiveness from your organization\u2019s inability to provision the infrastructure necessary for critical business initiatives\nThe opportunity cost associated with the inability for the staff to improve their skills in a manner that\u2019s beneficial to the business.\n\nThese costs are harder to measure generally, as they are specific to every business. However, they are massive, and are significantly higher than OpEx Costs.\nThe need for log-scale improvements\nIn a 2017 report, Gartner emphatically points out that \u201cDigital business initiatives will struggle unless CIOs and business leaders change the way they think about networking.\u201d Gartner states that \u201cby 2022, the percentage of enterprises that deem networking core to their digital initiative success will increase to over 75%,\u201d up from 25% today. In fact, Gartner believes that enterprises should consider networking to be a profit center rather than a cost center. In fact for the first time since the early 2000\u2019s, Gartner urges CIOs to make \u201cNetworking a critical strategic infrastructure resource for enabling digital business.\u201d\nClearly, complexities, inefficiencies and high costs plague data center network operations today and prevent organizations from delivering on their digital transformation goals. Digital transformation requires successfully eliminating these complexities to achieve log-scale improvements in network infrastructure CapEx, OpEx and capacity.\nThe simple, scalable, hardware-independent green patch\nIn fact, in my experience, customers no longer \u201cupgrade\u201d old environments, referred to as \u201cbrownfield\u201d. That would be akin to upgrading components or adding a new engine to a 10-year old car that doesn\u2019t meet any of the performance, emissions, or safety standards that are readily available when one purchases a new car. And customers rarely deploy pure greenfield environments. Their upgrade processes are constrained by the need to support legacy technologies in support of their business that keep the lights on, and prevents them from performing forklift upgrades of their entire environment. And even if they were able to do so, such an approach can carry unreasonable cost and risks of disrupting the business if the upgrade doesn\u2019t go smoothly.\nInstead, what I\u2019ve seen customers do far more often is deploy what we like to call \u201cgreen patches\u201d. That is, they upgrade their infrastructure one incremental step at a time. This incremental new step could be a new rack or, often a new POD. This new green patch is based on the latest thinking in terms of architecture, and incorporates the guiding principles needed to meet the ever-evolving requirements of the business.\nThis is truer today than ever before. Because of the urgent need to embrace the digital transformation of their business, enterprises are embarking on an accelerated schedule to upgrade their infrastructure. CIOs should leverage their new green patches to set the foundation for log scale improvements in how compute and network infrastructures are built and operated. This includes the reduction of capital and operational costs while increasing capacity and reducing risk in their platforms. These guiding principles are as follows:\n\nSimplify operations. Declare war against the complexities and inefficiencies that plague data center network operations\nDecouple yourself from your choice of hardware. The network has traditionally been driven by hardware vendors, and often complexities and inefficiencies are tied to your choice of hardware vendor. The future is driven by software \u2013 as famously quoted \u201csoftware will eat the world\u201d. It is true for the business, it is also true for the network infrastructure.\nAdopt approaches that scale to meet the needs of your business. This is accomplished through proper scale-out architectures, and through operational models that enable the ability to grow infrastructure or replace devices with newer technology of larger capacity seamlessly.\n\nDon\u2019t fall behind from your inability to build the infrastructure that\u2019s required for your business. Upgrade your infrastructure using a green patch approach instead. Adopt the principles of simplicity, hardware\/software decoupling, and scale. Embrace new technologies such as intent-based networking and intent-based analytics \u2013 technologies that enable software driven, self-operating, autonomous networking infrastructures. In the process, set yourself on the right path for log scale efficiency improvements required by your digital transformation initiative. Business velocity will separate winners and losers \u2013 it is a pivotal moment; the time is now!