Why the Network is Key to a Successful Cloud Strategy
Global forecasts show that companies are rapidly embracing the cloud to make their businesses more productive, collaborative and cost-effective. And while many organizations understand the capabilities offered by the latest cloud-based services, it’s important that they also consider the network that delivers those services to realize their full potential.
Consider this: the amount of data centre traffic dedicated to cloud-based services is expected to quadruple from 2013 to 2018, at which point it will make up three quarters of all data centre traffic worldwide. Individual enterprises will be the ones driving that growth, so it’s essential that they have the right network in place to support this dramatic global transformation.
You need a network to match your cloud
Running mission-critical business applications over the cloud requires a network that is:
- Resilient and able to withstand failures
- Flexible in its ability to add or change endpoints
- Scalable in response to changing bandwidth needs
- Secure to ensure regulatory compliance
- High-performing, with service level agreements (SLAs) ensuring reliable access from multiple locations and device types
Which type of connectivity is best?
Businesses have three main options when it comes to the cloud: the public cloud, where the infrastructure is shared with other companies, the private cloud, where companies use their own dedicated infrastructure, and the hybrid cloud, where companies rely primarily on private infrastructure but outsource additional capacity to public data centres when needed.
While the public Internet can provide basic connectivity, it can’t always guarantee the resiliency, scalability or security required for essential business applications. A dedicated private network can meet those requirements, however, while also offering greater flexibility in terms of connectivity options:
- IP VPN – A single wide area network (WAN) that can securely connect multiple branches and offices – whether it’s a few sites or a few hundred – directly to the cloud at speeds up to 1 Gbps. This is accomplished by having the data centre that hosts the cloud applications serve as a node in the private network. (IP VPNs can also be extended to the public cloud to grant secure, immediate access to cloud applications.)
- Ethernet – Offering scalable and flexible point-to-point connectivity and speeds up to 10 Gbps, Ethernet is ideal for organizations considering a hybrid cloud that’s connected to a public data centre. For example, you might choose to initially run a limited number of workloads on the public cloud – but as usage increases, Ethernet allows for the rapid increase of bandwidth to meet demand.
- Wavelength – Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) is a fully optical technology that’s essential for organizations that work with large datasets or rely on bandwidth-intensive applications like data replication. Wavelength can provide bandwidth up to 100 Gbps, with ultra-low latency.
Making the network part of your cloud project
With so much to consider when choosing which network to power your cloud – from the cloud model you’re adopting to your connectivity and bandwidth requirements – your choice of network should be part of your cloud project from its initial planning stages.
In my next post, I’ll go into more detail about specific network planning and design aspects related to the cloud, including a walkthrough of how businesses from various industries can select the most appropriate connectivity for their cloud-based services.
By Mark Ferreira, Network Technical Fellow at Bell