Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Carl J. Levine, Liz McMillan, Jim Hansen, Greg Schulz, Scott Davis

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
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, provided the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” used open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees learned where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructure. The...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
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, Jared Parker, Director of Financial Services at Kinetica, will discuss 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 inf...
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.
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...