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Data Center and Cloud

I’ve written before (here, here, and here) that Cloud Computing is more than some cool software running on a server. Sure, the applications are the sizzle on the steak (+ all the marketing terms – dynamic, elastic, on-demand, etc.), but there’s a little more to it than that. A user needs to access the application, get the information quickly (or sent it information), and feel confident that the information was delivered securely. The application doesn’t always know what type of device will access it (PC, Mac, Browser, Tablet, Smartphone, etc.), so it can’t be 100% sure it’ll deliver the best user-experience.  And users will demands that applications continue to run regardless of the mobile device’s location. All those demands on applications get a lot easier, and in some cases require, an intelligent network providing the infrastructure.

But people often forget those details because they have become so accustomed to a robust network always being there. They might struggle to define the value of that network, just as Kodak did in defining “original technology” in the famous Mad Men episode (Carousel).

Don’t take my word for it, hear what Cisco Cloud CTO Lew Tucker had to say during a recent set of meetings with industry analysts – here, here, here, here and here. So what do you if your applications groups want you to approach the network like this? (see slide 19) If they do, here’s a quick list to remind them how critical the network is in making their Cloud applications more awesome than they already are…

Entry Level – “The Basics”

Needs for Anywhere Connectivity

Needs for Higher Bandwidth (10Gb, 40Gb, 100Gb)

Needs for Security

Needs for Quality of Service (QoS)

Now that you have those in your “why the network matters” bucket, let’s move on to some more complex scenarios:

More Advanced – “Working without a Net”

Needs for Multi-Tenancy

Moving to shared infrastructure and shared services models is a two-way street. For IT, it’s about driving efficiency of the assets, consistency of operations and flexibility for new innovative services. But for the users, they may still have concerns about their toys (important data) playing nice in a big sandbox. So it’s important to be able to deliver an infrastructure that can provide end-to-end isolation.

Needs for Mobility

Needs for Hybrid Cloud / Mixed Location architectures

For as many definitions of Cloud Computing exist today, there might be nearly as many for “Hybrid Cloud” (some listed here). This isn’t a bad thing, because it means customers will have choices that fit their cost, risk and flexibility needs. It means that your network is going to extend outside of your data center. It may require VPN-like capabilities (often called “Virtual Private Cloud”) between your private resources and public cloud resources.

So fold this up, keep it in your back pocket and bring it out the next time the application teams want to tell you that the network isn’t that important to them. Tell them that you’re going to make them and their applications look like rockstars!!

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  1. Thanks so much for the good advice.

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