Gartner Advises Caution: The 2024 Hype Cycles for Cloud Technology and Enterprise Networking

The renowned analyst firm Gartner has released its annual Hype Cycles for cloud technology and enterprise networking, recommending a cautious approach rather than hastily adopting AI-assisted tools for managing networks.

Gartner describes the lifecycle of emerging technologies, beginning with an innovation trigger, peaking at inflated expectations, and often descending into a trough of disillusionment when they fail to meet these expectations. Technologies that recover from this trough ascend the slope of enlightenment and reach a plateau of productivity, becoming mature, widely adopted, and integrated into mainstream organizations. However, not all technologies reach this plateau—many become obsolete.

Specifically, Gartner’s 2024 Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking has identified AI networking technologies and network AI assistants as having reached peak hype. These tools offer interactive interfaces for network administrators, providing “actionable network insights and assisting with network operational tasks.” However, Gartner considers them immature and vendor-specific, limiting their usefulness across diverse networks. The firm warns that networking professionals, typically risk-averse, are likely to disregard these AI tools, especially when the AI offers advice without explanation.

In the realm of cloud computing, the 2024 Hype Cycle shows significant activity at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, as expected with the relatively new nature of cloud technology. Notably, the use of generative AI and machine learning to automate and enhance the management and support of public cloud services is highlighted. While Gartner acknowledges the potential power of these tools, it also cautions that administrators might place too much trust in the outputs of GenAI tools, which are rarely production-ready and can include errors and inaccuracies.

The Hype Cycles also spotlight new and intriguing technologies such as “Coffee Shop Networking,” which describes seamless network functionality across multiple locations, both onsite and in public. Another innovation is Satellite to Device Direct (SCS), which combines satellite and cellular communications. Although SCS has clear applications for remote sites, commercial voice services for everyday calls are not yet available, and regulatory approval is pending.

Gartner also suggests caution with the emerging hype for Wi-Fi 8 and Open Roaming, as these technologies are not yet fully standardized and raise privacy concerns. The firm recommends that buyers not rush into adopting new technologies like AI Ethernet fabrics and other accelerators. Instead, Gartner suggests utilizing the latest CPUs with embedded AI acceleration to train and infer models below 7 billion parameters, helping to scope resources effectively and de-risk investments.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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