Why The Network Is Eating The Enterprise

Arif Kareem, CEO, ExtraHop Networks Arif Kareem, CEO, ExtraHop Networks

After the dotcom boom and bust of the late nineties, many businesses made the mistake of considering the internet irrelevant or non-strategic to their long-term vision. A few businesses that still saw the internet's potential ended up dominating nearly every industry, prompting entrepreneur Marc Andreessen to pen his legendary essay, "Why Software is Eating The World."1 Amazon overtook Borders. Netflix smashed Blockbuster. Incumbents were edged out because they couldn't reimagine the internet as an engine of growth for their companies, so they disappeared.

Now, a similar narrative is playing out at the infrastructure level, in a part of the technology stack that has long been deemed "non-strategic," but is now entering a new foundational role for massive, global companies.

The next IT revolution is happening at the layer that makes the Netflixes and Amazons of the world possible in the first place: your network.

The enterprise network has long been treated as plumbing for the technology that powers our lives. As long as the bits are getting where they need to be, nobody needs to look more closely.


With the right data-gathering and analytics capabilities, data flowing on the network can be mined for insights that will be the engine of growth for a generation of companies. There are two significant mindset leaps that enterprises will need to make to be winners in this coming transition:

  1. Rethink the network as a data source. Any important piece of information that your entire business knows about will be communicated across the network at some point. The depth and breadth of information available here is unmatched anywhere else in the enterprise. As more business comes online it becomes more critical to monitor these digital interactions - the core of your customer's experience.
  2. Understand how this rich data impacts your organization's goals. Putting the rich data from the network in context can help you achieve better outcomes for your core business, such as improving patient care, streamlining inventory management, and optimizing customer experience in any facet of your business. Every digital interaction within your business presents an opportunity for insight and optimization, and the network is the fastest, cleanest way to get that information.

Companies that have made this shift in how they think are already using their network as a source of valuable insights, and securing their positions as the dominant players in their spaces.

This is happening in every industry. We have already seen hospitals using insights from the network to reduce IT infrastructure costs while improving performance and saving physicians' hours each week, so they can focus on helping patients instead of fighting with technology. We've seen major international retailers expedite their checkout processes using insights gleaned from digital interactions on the network between customers, point-of-sale devices, and in-store IT systems. These examples are just the beginning.

Three Needs to Meet for One Big Opportunity

The data on the network represents an enormous opportunity for building growth and competitive advantage. To capitalize on this opportunity immediately, there are three crucial needs to be met:

  1. Access to rich, multi-dimensional data for all roles
  2. Simple, straightforward workflows for analyzing data with easy paths to finding insights in your data
  3. Scalable architecture, so your analytics can grow at the pace of your business

That's exactly what we at ExtraHop are working to make possible for you.

ExtraHop has always provided real-time stream analytics with wire data at unprecedented scale and speed, and today, we're announcing our latest and greatest release, ExtraHop 6.0. With this version we're introducing new capabilities and a single, simple workflow so you can resolve issues, optimize customer experience, respond to security incidents, and add value to your business within just a few clicks. Head over to our post on what's new in ExtraHop 6.0 to learn the details and find out about all the new features.


  1. "Why Software is Eating The World," Marc Andreessen, Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011

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