In my recent posting on the top four trends in data centers and data center interconnect (DCI), as articulated by Gary Holland, I noted that a deeper dive into the future of this critical area for large enterprises was forthcoming. In what will be the first in a two-part examination of Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) perspectives on the benefits of DCI amplification, the focus here is on achieving the right cloud balance.
Let’s start with a definition of terms. What does cloud balance entail?
As Alcatel-Lucent explains in its whitepaper, Cloud Interconnect for the Enterprise: Data center interconnect for the cloud era, enterprises moving to the cloud need to align their various cloud options—private, virtual private and public clouds—with their unique business priorities. Factors cited for consideration in developing and ultimately executing an optimized cloud strategy to support enterprise business priorities include:
- Virtualization and resource sharing: Virtualization brings the benefits of flexibility and lower cost. While most enterprises are willing to use virtualization and resource sharing in a private cloud, some see this as a possible security weakness when used in a virtual private or public cloud. It’s true that individual enterprises share a common network infrastructure, as with a virtual private network. But each enterprise’s data travels over a dedicated virtual path across the physical network, and the data is not visible to any other enterprise.
In short, comfort level in the context of risk management is something that needs evaluation.
- Control and security: A corollary to the subject of comfort level is that when client confidentiality, data security and compliance are a major concern, enterprises may limit their use of public and hybrid clouds to non-business-critical applications and services. Other enterprises attracted to the flexibility and cost savings of public and hybrid clouds should carefully consider the security implications.
This necessitates a careful look at the entire subject of cloud security. This means not just evaluating if the security of public and hybrid cloud solutions meet an enterprise’s perception of what constitutes state-of-the-art security, but also evaluating such things as the vulnerabilities of current capabilities, levels of resources and skills of in-house IT, etc.
- Cost factors: ALU notes that while many large enterprises have the capital and human resources to implement private and virtual private clouds, the reduced capital outlay and lower operating costs of public and hybrid clouds not only are attractive but can “outweigh security and control issues, particularly for non-critical applications and services.”
In terms of balance this translates into C-level education and level or risk they are willing to assume in tradeoffs between efficiency versus security and compliance. Realities are that given the advancements in cloud security the idea that tradeoffs are necessary may no longer be the case. In fact, many believe that the cloud is more secure, including public multi-tenant ones, that legacy implementations and even existing private clouds that are getting a bit long in the tooth.
Where does DCI come in?
The short answer is for optimal performance of whatever the mix of cloud types a large enterprise uses the need for state-of-the-art DCI is critical. The reasons should be obvious. The world is becoming increasingly data center-centric both in large enterprises as well as in terms of the services obtained from their communications service providers (CSPs). In fact, a recent Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs (News - Alert) study predicts that traffic between enterprise data centers just in metro networks will increase by 430 percent from 2015 to 2020. It attributes this largely to the adoption of cloud IT. It also noted that, “this traffic is associated with more than data backup and recovery between data centers. It also includes users and applications accessing data in cloud data centers.”
The moral is that seamless data center interconnection and interoperability will be vital not just for business continuity but also for creating and sustaining competitive advantage. It is why getting the cloud balanced correctly and connecting all of the cloud resource properly is so important.
Having the right DCI solution in place to assure flexible, high-performance interconnection thus needs to be a priority. How to do so and the benefits that accrue will be the subject in the final posting.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere