The concept of cloud computing has been discussed in numerous case studies, business reports and telecommunications sites, yet business owners still struggle to grasp the full concept or the benefits provided. With limited understanding, it is then difficult for the CIO or the IT manager to get the necessary approval to move the company into cloud computing.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) report, The 2012 Cloud Networking Report, highlights the intricacies of cloud computing, cloud networking and the move to software defined network (SDN) solutions as data centers transform. In Part 1: The Emergence of Cloud Computing and Cloud Networking, the report describes the networking challenges that tend to be associated with enabling the use of the cloud. The key components involved include:
- Data Center WANs
- Network management
IT organizations on a broad scale are adopting and deploying one or more classes of cloud computing. In fact, Gartner (News - Alert) reported that they expect a full 19 percent in growth in cloud computing in 2012, making it a $109 billion industry. By 2016, the industry is expected to be worth $207 billion. For the average organization to adopt the benefits of the cloud, however, it is not enough to rely on the traditional network. Instead, these organizations must consider an investment in an Application Fluent Network.
Such an investment is not without its challenges in terms of managing the budget, yet the benefits are measurable on the bottom line. Overall, the goal of cloud computing is to enable IT organizations to measure a dramatic improvement in the elastic provisioning and cost effective changes in IT services. Moving forward, these organizations will have to provide the highest levels of performance and availability possible, for a key number of services.The key characteristics of cloud computing solutions are:
- Centralization of servers, applications, data and even storage resources
- Extensive virtualization of each component of IT, such as servers, applications, desktops, data center switching, routers and applications that include WAN optimization controllers, firewalls and application delivery controllers
- Automation and orchestration
- The dynamic creation and movement of resources
- A heavy reliance on the network; self-service, simplification; standardization
- Technology convergence
- Pay-as-you-go cost structures
Many of these elements are very different from the current infrastructure deployment, which causes some IT decision makers to stop short. And, some of their concerns are very real. Many fear the security and confidentiality of their data will be at risk. Others lack a solid internal strategy regarding IaaS. Some lack the personnel to design and implement solutions to meet the need; others have an immaturity regarding the technologies. And, still others haven’t seen the cost savings to migrate further technologies.
Those decision makers still on the fence about the benefits of cloud computing will do well to extend their focus into the intricacies of the technology and the very real benefits companies are experiencing all over the world. With its report, Alcatel-Lucent has provided a valuable resource for those seeking insight and guidance on how best to move forward in transforming their data centers and the networks they rely on.
Edited by Peter Bernstein