Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Michel Courtoy, Amitabh Sinha, Mike Wood, Stefan Bernbo, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Rethinking Enterprise Networks: Transformative Approach to Fuel the Cloud

Companies are transforming their Wide Area Networks to more quickly and efficiently fuel their move to the cloud

It's clear that cloud computing has transformed the enterprise IT landscape, from the computing infrastructure layer up through enterprise software, as companies move to leverage more efficient and cost-effective service-delivery models and bring new cloud-based products and services to the market. Perhaps less known is the innovation taking place at the network level and how leading companies are transforming their Wide Area Networks (WAN) to more quickly and efficiently fuel their move to the cloud.

Moving to the cloud requires network managers and IT shops to implement scalable solutions that ensure the reliability and performance of cloud-based applications across their extended enterprise. Cloud computing drives the need for more reliability across the WAN and ever-increasing amounts of highly available, secure and reliable bandwidth across all users, locations and geographies. However, many enterprises are constrained by their existing network infrastructure, both from a cost and performance perspective. They can't cost-effectively scale their networks; and latency, jitter and packet loss impact performance and reliability in the cloud.

Transforming to a next-generation WAN architecture plays a critical role in enabling enterprises to more easily and cost-effectively migrate to and better support public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

According to Forrester, ‘enterprise use of the cloud has arrived,' with nearly half of all companies in North America and Europe setting aside budget for private cloud investments in 2013. Legitimate budgeting to integrate cloud services into existing platforms and deploy software apps to the cloud confirm that IT shops are ‘no longer denying it's happening in their company.' Increasingly, enterprises are moving beyond their own data centers to leverage infrastructure and applications, choosing to host their own applications externally or leverage services from third-party providers.

Cloud infrastructure providers, such as Amazon and Rackspace, are well established in the enterprise IaaS market delivering compute, storage and hosting services to businesses of all sizes from SME to large multi-national corporations. Since its launch in 2006, Amazon Web Services' (AWS) S3 offering has grown to encompass more than two trillion objects stored and company revenues have grown past $2 billion.[1] AWS clearly dominates the cloud platform space holding as much as 70 percent of the market, with its enterprise clients spending anywhere from $12,000 to $2.5 million per year on its infrastructure services. The push of traditional companies such as Microsoft, IBM and HP, as well as and a host of other players, into this space further validates the arrival of cloud in the enterprise market.

On the software side, service providers like Salesforce.com have been offering cloud-based enterprise software for years, enabling companies to optimize their costs under a pay-per-use model, while simplifying the delivery of reliable apps that scale more easily. According to the Aberdeen Group[2], SaaS is becoming an increasingly important deployment model for enterprise applications, with highest adoption among CRM and ERP solutions. Nearly 80 percent of all companies are currently using at least two or more SaaS applications and many have reported decreased spending on application deployment resulting from SaaS usage.

Enterprises will continue to use a range of cloud solutions, developed internally and sourced from external providers, to more efficiently and effectively distribute mission-critical applications on a global scale. Most will need to move beyond their traditional legacy networks to ensure higher levels of performance, reliability and scalability of these applications across the WAN.

Traditional WAN Design and Optimization Approaches: Falling Short in the Cloud
Cloud is causing an explosion in enterprise bandwidth and making traditional WAN management obsolete. Bandwidth demands will continue to grow and the enterprise WAN will continue to need more bandwidth. While the actual services delivered are the main attraction in the cloud, enterprises are finding that traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks and WAN acceleration technologies can't keep up.

Migrating to the cloud has put new pressures on WAN connectivity, from both a cost and performance perspective. Existing networks and optimization solutions cannot provide the capacity, reliability and scalability required across all users, locations and geographies. Work environments and application needs have changed, and will continue to change dramatically. In many cases, network design has become a limiting factor with reliance on traditional architectures that have not been optimized to support how applications are being hosted and accessed in public, private and hybrid cloud environments, or how and where people work.

Traditional WAN architecture is based on a hub-and-spoke model with data distributed from headquarters to branch locations and across centers (DC2DC) connected via public and private networks. At the branch or edge locations, sites are connected via low bandwidth MPLS links often over T1 to DS3 access links from the local telco. Connectivity across larger more bandwidth-intensive sites, such as corporate HQs and data centers, use expensive MPLS WAN links configured in a higher bandwidth core, typically in the range of 100Mbs.

The majority of enterprise WAN links are high cost, site-to-site private MPLS lines sourced from incumbent telcos like Verizon and AT&T. As enterprise bandwidth demands increase, the high cost of MPLS-based WAN connectivity and the complexity of underlying networks impact the enterprise's ability to cost-effectively scale their networks with the growth in demand.

Not only is the enterprise use of global MPLS for "backbone" traffic becoming less cost competitive as scale increases, but it is increasingly challenging to control costs associated with real-time applications, distributed cloud services and rich media. Traditional network topologies can also limit an enterprise's ability to fully leverage infrastructure and server virtualization as a means to more effectively distribute enterprise applications across all locations and users, and application performance suffers over long distance network paths. Furthermore, as enterprises seek to leverage solutions sourced from external providers, using MPLS as the connectivity method to SaaS and other public cloud locations is not agile enough and doesn't scale effectively given the high cost per bit.

MPLS is not the only factor driving the need for enterprises to rethink their networks. The public Internet is becoming an increasingly important distribution medium to reach customers and stakeholders, but managing performance is becoming critical.

While the Internet provides ease of access across a broad base of users, it often lacks the performance and reliability required to support mission-critical, cloud-based enterprise solutions. Packet loss and jitter are more common across the Internet than MPLS; and network congestion and latency vary across locations and geographies as no single provider can guarantee end-to-end performance. Nevertheless, accessing services via the Internet is a reality, and it is increasingly important for enterprises to architect network solutions that best optimize "public" access to cloud-based apps and services.

Another approach enterprises have used to optimize the performance of business-critical applications over the enterprise network has been through WAN optimization. Traditional WAN optimization techniques use appliances and hardware installed at corporate and remote locations to improve end-to-end application performance by increasing data-transfer efficiencies across wide-area-networks. These technologies are often application or protocol-specific and seek to optimize how individual applications work over the WAN instead of making the WAN work better for all applications.

While these appliances have helped deliver better application performance, this approach tends to be more tactical in nature, rationing a limited supply of bandwidth instead of addressing the organization's more strategic need to add more bandwidth or capacity to support ever-increasing demands. As more applications and services are deployed to the cloud, and more bandwidth-intensive applications and real-time data are delivered across the extended enterprise, the enterprise's demand for bandwidth will continue to increase.

Furthermore, while traditional WAN optimization solutions are dual-sided with one box at a data center and another at a branch office, this approach to optimize cloud applications can only be implemented with a single-sided solution since an appliance cannot be placed in front of an application residing in the cloud. As such, traditional solutions can fall short in the cloud, and are better suited for improving the performance of non-real-time applications, such as email, network backup and remote file access.

Rethinking Enterprise Networks: Next-Generation WAN Architecture
Enterprises that wish to leverage private, public or hybrid cloud solutions to distribute data and applications across a country or around the globe need to rethink their WAN architecture to achieve the required scale within existing budgets. Bandwidth economies of scale between highly connected network aggregation points offer exponential improvements in bandwidth availability at a fraction of the cost, but most enterprises are unaware of how to tap into these aggregation points or even that they exist.

The first step is connecting existing enterprise data centers and the WAN directly into carrier-neutral data centers that are "highly connected" and provide direct access to wide array of high capacity, high bandwidth connectivity options, as well as a growing base of cloud infrastructure and application providers.

These carrier-neutral data centers, operated by providers such as Equinix and Telx, are well known for outsourced IT services, including data center colocation, managed hosting of external-facing websites and applications, proximity to public cloud services, and as secondary sites for disaster recovery and business continuity. However, many enterprises are less familiar with these facilities as a key enabler of a high performance, next-generation WAN architecture.

Integrating these facilities as "super nodes" in the WAN provides enterprises a long-term approach to increase control over performance, reliability and scalability for the cloud while providing a means to significantly drive down bandwidth costs.

Carrier-neutral facilities are centrally located and provide enterprises broad access to competitive carrier markets with a near limitless supply of diverse, inexpensive bandwidth from Tier-1 and Tier-2 network carriers. By leveraging these facilities, enterprises are no longer constrained by the incumbent telcos and their legacy networks and have direct access to fiber and bandwidth from competitive providers at prices much lower than MPLS along with a wider array of MPLS and similar services.

Re-architecting existing networks to a next-generation WAN architecture provides a means to more cost-effectively scale the WAN to grow with the enterprise's demands than traditional MPLS-dense, hub-and-spoke networks. Additionally, bandwidth can easily be added at lower cost, secure hosting or rack space for new hardware or software can be deployed, and latency performance can be improved by connecting additional proximity locations.

Beyond the cost and scalability benefits of network transformation, by building out a higher performance core network integrating super nodes and direct fiber connectivity, enterprises can substantially improve performance and reliability of virtualized, networked and cloud-based solutions, both for intranet applications as well as SaaS and cloud-based services.

Carrier-neutral, data centers often serve as network access points or public peering locations, close to the core of the Internet and public cloud services. Moving closer to the Internet core enables more reliable access to third party SaaS, IaaS and other cloud-based services, even delivering close to "on-net" reliability of cloud services located at the same colocation facility. Furthermore, these facilities are often close, in terms of latency, to a large number of users and businesses connecting to the Internet, enabling more reliable access and service delivery to a broader base of users.

This architectural approach can provide better performance and help to address several of the key WAN factors affecting application performance while delivering enhanced end-to-end network performance, speed and reliability. A next-generation WAN architecture sets the foundation to enable enterprises to better leverage the power of virtualization and gain the efficiencies of the cloud to more effectively distribute enterprise applications and services. A higher performance core network connecting corporate data centers and third-party facilities with more robust WAN connectivity allows enterprises to take advantage of bandwidth costs and application performance benefits today, while providing the ability to cost-effectively scale to meet future demands.

This next-generation WAN architecture is the exact approach that today's leading companies are using to transform their global WAN architectures around highly connected aggregation points or "super nodes". Moving from legacy MPLS networks, these companies are building out their own high capacity, highly connected core backbones, and pushing MPLS to the edge. Once connected to the right network aggregation points, bandwidth costs begin to fall rapidly while bandwidth increases and access to cloud-based infrastructure and applications is streamlined and simplified.

CFN Services works with leading companies to map their legacy WAN to this new cloud world order. To learn more about CFN's network transformation solutions and how next-generation WAN architecture can improve business performance, please visit www.cfnservices.com

Gain additional insights on how leading organizations are utilizing smarter networking strategies to improve network and application performance in the Aberdeen Group's "Building a Smarter Networking Strategy for the Modern Large Enterprise" white paper.

References:

  1. Cloudyn, AWS Client Research
  2. The Growing Importance of SaaS as an Application Deployment Model, Aberdeen Group, March 1, 2013

More Stories By Mark Casey

Mark Casey is President and CEO of CFN Services, a leading provider of high-performance network and application delivery solutions for real-time, mission-critical and distributed computing environments. Leveraging FiberSource®, CFN’s comprehensive network-optimization knowledge base and its proprietary Net Transform™ methodologies, the company analyzes, architects and implements network and cloud solutions.

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
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.