As we ring out the old year for the new, it is customary to look both backwards and forwards in various market sectors. In this regard, there are few events in the tech world more vibrant and exciting than the transformation process now underway in data centers around the world, be they public, private, virtual private or hybrid, and the momentum that has gathered for more and more of “E”verything moving to some type of cloud.
This is particularly true for large enterprises, where network virtualization (thanks to Software Defined Networking (SDN) and service providers’ willingness to innovate) is rapidly moving out of the Proof of Concept (PoC) and trial stages to full implementations. Indeed, the use cases demonstrating the value and urgency to move to next-generation communications data center networking are proving compelling. However, there is work to be done, specifically regarding the vital area of Data Center Interconnect (DCI). After all, ensuring data center interoperability has to be an industry priority if the data center-centric world tide comes in to fully accommodate the needs for networks to be more agile, responsive, secure, easy to manage and high-performance.
With this in mind, the perspectives of industry expert Gary Holland, Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) IP Routing and Transport (IPRT) Marketing, are extremely timely. Starting with the premise that the momentum of 2015 will continue to gather strength as enterprises accelerate the consolidation of their data centers and the implementation of SDN to optimize costs and gain efficiencies, below are Holland’s top 4 predictions regarding DCI.
- Consolidation together with big data analytics, mobility and new enterprise apps will drive the need for secure private clouds with high speed data center interconnect to ensure connectivity, business continuity and disaster recovery.
- The cost of building new data centers and avoiding technology obsolescence will make virtual private clouds, where IT is hosted in collocation facilities, more attractive.
- The desire to use flexible public cloud-based services for non-business critical apps and the need to connect to industry-wide ecosystems will drive enterprises to embrace hybrid clouds.
- Virtualization and consolidation of enterprise data centers and the move to cloud IT will make enterprises recognize that data center interconnect for the cloud as a strategic investment to achieve their goals.
As Holland notes, there is plenty of evidence in what is already taking place in the market that consolidation. As he states in a recent TechZine article on the subject:
“Clearly, every enterprise needs to determine the right cloud balance to meet its needs. For example, according to the large enterprise IT survey...3 out of 5 large US enterprises are already using some form of cloud. Of these, 74 percent have adopted private clouds, 31percent have adopted public cloud services and 22% have adopted a hybrid cloud model.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all model. DCI solutions vary according to an enterprise’s capitalization, size, IT assets — and the amount of data it wants to store in the cloud. Enterprises need flexible DCI solutions for cloud interconnect that enable different approaches according to individual business models.”
The factors driving the data center market consolidation and the need for DCI validate the views above. These include according to Holland such things as:
Size and efficiency: Large enterprises are consolidating branch office and remote site servers into larger data center facilities. This consolidation of data centers is driving the need to reduce energy consumption, carbon footprint and costs.
Future expansion and scale: Big Data applications such as Hadoop data mining and data analytics can quickly scale up to multiple racks of high-density servers and SAN arrays. The need to manipulate ever larger business-critical data sets further drives the decision to consolidate data centers.
Server virtualization: The rapid scale up/scale down possibilities of SDN and virtualized servers and data centers has created a strong incentive to consolidate virtualized servers into fewer data centers. Ensuring continuous availability and data mobility between data centers across the cloud will become increasingly important.
Cloud services: Leading data center operators are rapidly adopting virtualization technologies to offer cloud services, such as computing-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service. Cloud services are attractive to many large enterprises but SLAs and guaranteed, secure access to these virtualized services remain challenges.
In the next few weeks we will be looking at what Holland and Alcatel-Lucent see as the benefits of DCI for all members of evolving cloud ecosystems. As he correctly notes, one size does not fit all and choosing the right solution for any organization is a non-trivial task which will require careful evaluation of a myriad of factors unique to an enterprise’s, or for that matter a communications service providers (CSPs) unique circumstances and objectives.
In fact, as preparation for what will be a deeper dive, the related materials Holland references in his posting are worth reviewing:
Over the years the word interconnect has been associated with the lower levels of the stack particularly as it relates to the physical connection of various hardware elements. That said, in the increasingly virtualized world DCI is much more than that and stay tuned to find out how and why. In the meantime, if nothing else 2016 is shaping up for what is likely to be a milestone year for data center transformation.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere