Cloud computing is coming, and we’re seeing businesses migrating to cloud services very quickly – Gartner expects 60% of enterprises will have migrated branch office services to the cloud or virtualized servers by 2015 (Gartner Analyst Review, February 2012). Yet, oddly enough, many businesses have done relatively little to prepare their existing network infrastructure for the inevitable transformation – despite the fact the network remains the critical path between their users and the cloud services they need to get their job done.
One reason for the rapid migration may be that cloud computing represents not only improved technology, but also a compelling business model that gives organizations greater mobility and agility with lower costs. Business executives are looking to the cloud will help their business compete and grow. Unfortunately, those aspirations are not always in synch with IT reality.
In April 2012, Cisco surveyed over 1300 IT professionals across 13 countries, and found that the most important element of infrastructure needed to implement cloud computing was a cloud-ready wide area network (37%). To our surprise, it even beat out virtualizing the data center as the most important element. Even more surprising was that the study revealed that many would – literally – rather undergo a root canal than lead the migration to cloud for their organization. While management may not offer that as a realistic alternative, it is clear is that IT professionals see a major gap between what business executives are expecting and what the network can deliver.
The reality is that most traditional networks were designed over 20 years ago, and were not architected with cloud computing in mind. Given understandable concerns about security, a 2011 Metzler and Associates study showed that 90% of cloud-bound traffic is being backhauled through the data center, which has huge implications for network congestion, resulting in higher bandwidth costs and a poorer user experience. With the movement to a shared infrastructure, IT may be losing visibility and its ability to meet the expectations of business executives and end users. With network demands increasing, resources stretched, and yet more major changes coming, how can IT professionals make the cloud transition effectively?
The good news is that if you have already made investments in Cisco’s current Enterprise routing portfolio, then you have the foundation for a cloud-ready network. You can evolve your existing network to provide an optimal user experience, pervasive cloud security, simplified operations and transition to cloud computing successfully. In the latest edition of our “Ike, the IT Hero” series, you can see an example of how IT once again saves the organization by leveraging the power of a Cisco network.
If you are rethinking your network strategy as your business moves to the cloud, be sure to attend our Conquer the Cloud webcast series, where industry experts share best practices for building a cloud-ready network. Get your network ready for the cloud, and register for one or more of the following sessions: