Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Nicole Bryan, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

The Benefits of Cloud Networking

Enable cloud networking to lower IT costs and boost IT productivity

The pressure for organizations, in the public or private sector, to reduce costs is constant. At the same time, organizations have to remain or improve user productivity in all their departments to stay competitive. This is even further magnified during a recovering economy as organizations face challenges of sustaining or growing revenue from customers or even government. Management and shareholders are always on the lookout to reduce their expenses. Innovative technology is one area where companies can look into to help to lower expenses with efficiency gains.

Specifically with respect to technology, many companies are taking advantage of the cloud to help with reducing expenditures while simultaneously improving productivity.

Cloud Service Applications
These days, there is a lot of publicity around the "cloud" and how many companies, regardless of vertical or whether they're public or private, are using cloud technologies. It's important to quickly define what the cloud is before getting into more details.

At its basic level, cloud computing service refers to the delivery of software, infrastructure, or storage via the Internet in real-time and can be accessed by any device with Internet capability at any time and anywhere.

As opposed to traditionally having computing resources in house, cloud computing service provides a huge upside and workload shift from IT departments. They no longer have to spend significant money on purchasing dedicated hardware to run business applications. In addition, the time spent on configuring, maintaining, and updating is eliminated as well as taking up space. Cloud providers take care of this entire burden.

Cloud services can be up and running in significantly less time than traditional installations, and in general, they cost less. With a cloud service, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it. For example, most of us already use some form of cloud service today such as Web-based email service from Gmail or file storage services such as Dropbox or iCloud. In addition, with the rapid growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cloud services enable users with their own personal mobile device to instantly access the application from anywhere and at any time.

At its core, there are six key characteristics of cloud services in general.

On-demand self-service - End users can provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring the involvement of IT staff.

Broad network access - Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard devices including laptops and mobile devices.

Resource pooling - Computing resources are pooled to serve multiple end users with different physical and virtual resources (storage, CPUs, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines) that are dynamically assigned based on demand.

Elasticity - Capabilities can be rapidly provisioned, to quickly scale out and scale in.

Measured service - Resource use is automatically controlled and optimized through metering, and resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported to both the provider and end user of the utilized service.

Multi-Tenancy - Shared resources serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.

Cloud Networking
Cloud networking is the next wave of cloud services and represents a fundamental shift in how IT services are provided to users.

Historically, a company's own IT department acquired, deployed, and maintained networking applications such as network management software. Such new applications often requires purchase of additional hardware such as servers needed to be deployed and run the application as well. This leads to not only more capital expenditures, but also the increased support time that must be devoted by IT personnel. IT departments are already stretched thin at a company's headquarter location. When trying to deploy and maintain networking equipment and applications in distributed sites, the costs and support time needed by IT is compounded even further.

Cloud networking introduces a new way to roll out distributed enterprise networks. It delivers enterprise-class network capabilities via an application that requires little or no capital investment in networking equipment. Unlike traditional hardware-based legacy solutions, cloud networking is extremely simple, enabling enterprises to deploy locations in minutes and operate their distributed networks via a cloud-based application, while providing unprecedented levels of centralized control and network visibility. Cloud networking is usually subscription based as well reducing any upfront capital costs.

Public cloud networking and private cloud networking are two distinct services. Public cloud networking is when a cloud provider makes networking applications available to IT users over the Internet with little to no deployment needed at the company's IT infrastructure. Public cloud networking services are also offered on a pay-per-usage model. Private cloud networking services refer to a proprietary computing networking architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall. For example, a company's internal IT department using a private cloud infrastructure essentially hosts applications within their own private network and provides them to their own IT users.

State of Cloud Services Market
Cloud services being used by companies are becoming as ubiquitous as using mobile devices. Cloud services, including those focused on cloud networking, are becoming more and more an essential part of an organization's service to its users and this is only expected to grow. Enterprises are even retiring applications that were once run on their own network for cloud-based services according to Gartner's latest findings on SaaS usage. Take a look at some of the forecast data and analyst feedback.

According to IDC's forecast on cloud IT spending, worldwide spending on public IT cloud services will be more than $40 billion in 2012 and is expected to approach $100 billion in 2016. From 2012-2016, public IT cloud services will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%, five times that of the IT industry overall, as companies accelerate their shift to the cloud services model for IT consumption.

"The IT industry is in the midst of an important transformative period as companies invest in the technologies that will drive growth and innovation over the next two to three decades," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "By the end of the decade, IDC expects at least 80% of the industry's growth, and enterprises' highest-value leverage of IT, will be driven by cloud services and the other 3rd Platform technologies."

According to Gartner's IT spending report, enterprise spending on public cloud services will grow from $91 billion worldwide in 2011 to $109 billion in 2012. And by 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion.

Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner, states ""Cloud computing is now at the point where technology has demonstrated its usefulness as an approach to the management of several IT resources".

Specifically related to SaaS, this area of cloud services will grow from $14.5 billion market in 2012 to $22.1 billion by 2015. The 2015 figure is an increase of almost $1 billion from the prediction Gartner made last year. This further demonstrates the rapid growth of cloud services use by companies worldwide.

Fears/concerns with Cloud Networking
Cloud networking is rapidly being adopted by IT groups within enterprises. However, there are always concerns by IT teams that need to be addressed.

Security - This is usually the top fear by IT managers when considering any cloud networking service. Most IT managers are concerned about controlling access of their sensitive data that would reside in the cloud and can't afford the data being compromised. Despite the macro trend of moving to the cloud, some IT managers may still be more comfortable with their data deployed on their own infrastructure. This fear can easily be alleviated by cloud networking providers clearly stating their physical security specifications of their data centers as well as other security certifications they have attained. Cloud networking providers must also assure their IT customers that only customers will have access to data & only customers can make changes to it.

Privacy - Another key concern of IT management is maintaining privacy of their networking data in the cloud. IT departments need to be assured that their data is not being monitored either internally within the cloud provider or by any outside hackers. For example, if an IT client can log in from any location to access data and applications, it's possible the IT client's privacy could be compromised. However, cloud networking providers adopt myriad ways to protect privacy such as using comprehensive authentication techniques and encryption methods.

High Availability - Ensuring high availability of data in the cloud is another fear of organizations. This is especially important for cloud networking as a company's IT department must keep their end-users happy and make certain the company's business can't be affected with any downtime. IT users are looking for some form of guarantee from providers that their networking data will be up at all times. A service level agreement (SLA) that states 99.99%, ("four nines"), for example, uptime of the cloud service is necessary to put this fear to rest. Cloud networking providers must also clearly state their resiliency details such as how they have redundancy and backup measures in place for the utmost availability of data.

Poor Application Performance - Another inhibitor of deploying cloud networking pertains to poor application performance. Companies can't afford to have their IT users becoming less productive while a page load times exceed several seconds, for instance when they need to use a cloud networking application. Cloud networking providers have to continuously monitor usage to make sure any application being accessed by their IT users is being delivered in no more than a few seconds.

Compliance - Many IT departments have to face regulatory compliance measures in order for their companies to stay in business. Some of these compliance measures could be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), or Sarbanes-Oxley. Companies that to have comply with such measures fear moving to the cloud. Cloud networking providers must be transparent in sharing details such as encryption methods being used, provide the capability of generating audit reports, or state the locations of their data centers.

Business Continuity - IT users also have concerns about recovering their data from the cloud quickly in case of a man-made or a natural disaster. If they use cloud networking, IT needs to know how often backups happen (i.e., hourly or daily), where they happen, and how long data is archived if at all from cloud networking providers. This fear can actually be mitigated as using cloud networking would actually be an efficient means of backing up networking data. Instead of purchasing additional expensive networking gear in house for backing up & storing data, a cloud networking provider for this capability would be more cost-effective.

Localization - Finally, IT departments may have concerns about using a cloud networking provider that may only reside in one region like the United States. Often, if IT users reside in EMEA and/or APAC, they would like cloud networking services to reside in their local region. The rationale of having cloud networking localized could be due to local government rules or even comfort reasons of having a localized service. Most cloud networking providers understand this concern and have localized data centers in the major regions of North America, EMEA, and APAC.

Over ten years ago, there were fears about using online banking and how secure it was to use. People were concerned about paying bills online, moving funds between accounts, and even simply checking their statements online. But they realized that bank companies have it in their best interest to ensure their customers would feel safe using their online services. Now, according to comScore, 1 in 4 Internet users access online banking sites globally. That represents over 423 million people. Banks put in place strict security measures, ensure high availability of their service, and make sure their customers' account information is always backed up in case of any disruptions. Today, cloud networking providers are following similar procedures to help their IT users stay comfortable with their service offerings.

Benefits Realized with Cloud Networking
While there are fears of using cloud networking, the fact is that networking applications are moving to the cloud. This is not just a fad and the momentum is gaining. Companies realize that there are many benefits of deploying cloud networking.

Lower Costs - According to the 2012 Cloud Networking Report by Dr. Jim Metzler, lower costs were identified as the primary driver for IT's interest in using SaaS-based services. The reasons are obvious. With cloud networking, companies would have lower capital expenditures as opposed to purchasing all their own equipment and software. In addition, there is no worry about purchasing upgrades on hardware or software; the cloud networking provider takes care of this. Cloud networking is based on a pay-per-use model and payments will usually be monthly or yearly. Cloud networking is also considered a green solution since no rack space is used and hence it results in lower utility costs.

Fast Deployment - Another major benefit of cloud networking is faster deployment instead of purchasing and installing your own networking equipment. Many cloud networking applications such as network management can be turned on within a few days, hours, or even minutes depending on the provider. Using cloud networking lets IT users quickly utilize new applications without spending time installing and configuring networking equipment.

Productivity - By using cloud networking, the in-house IT staff can be offloaded to focus on other tasks. IT doesn't have to worry about configuration or any maintenance updates associated with cloud networking service; this is fully taken care of by the cloud provider. IT's productivity will go up while any of their administration costs will go down.

Mobility - Since cloud networking applications are typically Web-based, IT users can access their networking related data at any time and from anywhere using any device with Internet capability. IT users don't have to be tied to their desks. Along with the continuous growth of BYOD, IT users can take advantage of their personal mobile devices to access cloud networking applications and increase their productivity while they're on the road, roaming the office, or at home.

Instant Scalability - The ability to quickly add capacity is a huge benefit with cloud networking. Instead of IT procuring more networking hardware and/or software in house for their additional end-users and waiting weeks or months to be up and running, cloud networking providers can quickly enable their IT customers to add more of their end-users instantly, sometimes within minutes.

Minimal Downtime - Updates related to cloud networking applications as well as any networking infrastructure updates are handled by the cloud provider. There is no need for the company's in house IT department to worry about this and they don't have to bring the internal network down for updates. This is a tremendous advantage of using cloud networking since there is no downtime that could affect business.

Great Security - Ironically, security, which is one of the greater fears of using cloud networking, is actually a big advantage offered by cloud networking vendors. Most providers have stringent security policies for their cloud networking offerings. Encryption and authentication, data loss prevention, physical security of data centers, firewall implementation, and malware protection are just a few of the security features commonly provided by cloud networking providers. Ultimately, they have it in their best interest to protect IT customers' data and ensure long-term loyalty.

Summary
As described in this article, cloud networking is definitely an emerging technology being used by IT departments worldwide. IT users are running various networking apps in the cloud, like VoIP, network management, unified communications, virtual desktops, and more. Many organizations have devoted their IT spending now and certainly in the future to take advantage of cloud networking as they realize the benefits it can bring.

IT departments see how cloud networking enables them to become more agile and save costs. Even when the economy recovers fully, cloud networking will remain an area to help IT managers reduce their capital expenses and offload their department to focus on other critical tasks. In addition, cloud networking goes hand-in-hand with the BYOD trend. As users in general continue to use their own personal mobile devices for corporate network access, IT users will also certainly use those devices to access any cloud networking applications as well.

More Stories By Manish Desai

Manish Desai is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Aerohive Networks, where he drives Aerohive's cloud-enabled networking solutions and applications. Prior to Aerohive, he spent over 17 years in product marketing roles at Juniper, Cisco, and Nortel where he successfully launched over 50 products and drove increased market share in each company.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
University of Colorado Athletics has selected FORTRUST, Colorado’s only Tier III Gold certified data center, as their official data center and colocation services provider, FORTRUST announced today. A nationally recognized and prominent collegiate athletics program, CU provides a high quality and comprehensive student-athlete experience. The program sponsors 17 varsity teams and in their history, the Colorado Buffaloes have collected an impressive 28 national championships. Maintaining uptime...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Edge Hosting has announced a partnership with and the availability of CloudFlare, a web application firewall, CDN and DDoS mitigation service. “This partnership enhances Edge Hosting’s world class, perimeter layer, application (layer 7) defensive mechanism,” said Mark Houpt, Edge Hosting CISO. “The goal was to enable a new layer of customer controlled defense and compliance through the application of DDoS filters and mitigations, the web application firewall (WAF) feature and the added benefit ...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
You are moving to the Cloud. The question is not if, it’s when. Now that your competitors are in the cloud and lapping you, your “when” better hurry up and get here. But saying and doing are two different things. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Robert Reeves, CTO of Datical, explained how DevOps can be your onramp to the cloud. By adopting simple, platform independent DevOps strategies, you can accelerate your move to the cloud. Spoiler Alert: He also makes sure you don’t...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships at Commvault; Dave Landa, Chief Operating Officer at kintone; William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interou...