Adopting the cloud: The network strikes back
With every passing day, more and more IT managers are taking the plunge and opting for the world of cloud. This comes as no surprise when you consider the benefits it brings: adopting cloud gives employees the freedom to work where they want, whilst still cutting costs for businesses.
But with any new technology as soon as the honeymoon period is over, the real work begins. Cloud traffic is growing at an alarming rate, but this the pressure is on the network operators carrying the cloud, not the enterprises using the cloud, to deliver.
More cloud computing means more data centres, especially as cloud providers look to distribute them globally to reduce latency for regional customers.
As we well know, data centres can’t just be set up and left to their own devices, a much more intricate cloud ecosystem to connect each of these datacentres together. The resulting large scale machine to machine traffic between these data centres is now the biggest bandwidth consumer after video, putting increasing pressure on an already strained network.
And this will only increase as cloud becomes easier and easier to access through IaaS, PaaS, SaaS or network as a service.
Cloud will provide that extra storage businesses need, but the bandwidth needs to be available in order for it to get there in the first place. Whilst in some ways scalable cloud services can take the pressure off the network by hosting data hungry services in local servers rather than streaming straight from the network each time, there is still going to be pressure on the network core to connect data centre to data centre.
But bandwidth is only part of the cloud puzzle and an increasing number of enterprises and organisations are using the cloud to deliver new services and applications. In fact, 46 percent of all IT spending by 2016 is expected to be spent on cloud-related platforms and applications.
As network operators are expected to evolve in line with customer demand, the challenge for network operators is twofold: meeting increasing bandwidth demands and the rapid deployment of new services for customers. This means that network operators not only need a scalable network but an intelligent one.
The cloud is one of the key factors driving internet demand and it’s now increasing at a rate of between 30 and 50% year on year. In the coming years, we’ll see network operators look to converged network and software technologies that can provide super-channels to meet this bandwidth demand, and automated transport layer technologies (like FlexROADMs and Software Defined Networking) to monitor traffic demands and manage the rapid provisioning of new services.
These automated technologies will also dramatically reduce operational costs, meaning operators can pass cost savings onto those using the cloud, and reinvest in more innovative solutions for their customers.
So as the cloud takes a more front of stage role in enterprise computing, it’s essential that network operators have this scalability, flexibility and intelligence in order to, not only support cloud-based applications, but deliver greater responsiveness to changing demands.
Savvy cloud services providers are well aware that without the right partner in place, the network has the potential to strike back.