Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Daniel Gordon, John Walsh, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sven Olav Lund

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @DXWorldExpo, 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
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...