In three years' time, CIOs can expect to spend 80 per cent of their time rolling out new applications and 20 per cent of their time maintaining infrastructure, compared with a 20/80 per cent split currently, according to HP Networking CTO Saar Gillai.
Gillai, who moved from 3Com in April last year when it was acquired by HP, argued that for enterprises to be competitive CIOs need to be able to roll out applications almost immediately and on a whim, and this will come to form the biggest part of their job.
This demand will require a massive increase in flexibility in the network infrastructure said Gillai, who has worked in networking for 20 years.
"Network infrastructures have been virtually static over the last 10 years, they haven't evolved at all, but the recent consumerisation of technology means that companies are starting to want to roll out applications and services immediately and as they are called for," he said.
This requires huge flexibility in the network, he added. "Where traditionally security, traffic and bandwidth policy as well as permissions, user groups and other protocols had been rolled out sequentially and over a week or so, they will start to be rolled out in parallel. We have some technologies that help [such as Virtual Connect] but there is still work to do."
Virtual Connect is a technology that adds four times as many network interface card ports to each server, making them faster and better connected to the network.
Another big advance within networks, according to Gillai, has been the move from electrical to optical connections "inside the box", within the CPU and memory. "This will mean that the hardware itself will be capable of much more than it has been able to do in the past. It will be virtualised and customers will be able to configure and reconfigure boxes according to changing requirements over time," he said.