By Saad Khan, Middle East Regional Managing Director, Ciena
1 - Your cloud workload will evolve as applications change
Today you are running Software as a Service (SaaS), or infrastructure applications that stay resident in the provider cloud, often locked behind semi-proprietary architectures. This is a logical first implementation that's common to most technology roll-outs. The next step is also predictable - a turn to a more open architecture with standards in place for APIs and management tools.
By taking this step, you unlock the potential to federate your private data centres with multiple provider cloud data centres, enabling greater workload mobility and the ability to deploy entirely new applications that will require a better network to run effectively.
2 - Management wants to see your cloud performance metrics
As cloud implementations mature from trials to full deployments, management will demand to see tangible benefits of the cloud deployment. The way you design your network can be a deal breaker to success. The network is the strategic lever to achieve the cloud benefits of lower costs, reduced deployment time and new functionality. In short, the cloud is only as good as the network.
3 - Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly large percentage of corporate data
Organisations in the region typically use cloud infrastructure for simple storage backup to cloud data centres over low speed IP networks, trickling the data asynchronously as the network permits. Typically this use case fits small businesses with relatively low amounts of storage.
As the market evolves, larger enterprises will also want to take advantage of lower cost cloud storage for large amounts of storage. They will want a network that can dynamically respond to moving terabytes when the data needs to move — without bottlenecks, security holes or dropped packets.
4 - A more efficient network is critical for cloud data centre connections
IT organisations in the Middle East are highly motivated to drive efficiencies — first through data centre consolidation, then virtualisation, with the next step being to use cloud services. The network is also a key enabler for cloud service providers to operate multiple data centres as a shared pool of virtual data centres, which could enable a 35% reduction in total cloud data centre resources. The network is the key ingredient that ties everything together, serving as a backplane across the data centres for flexible delivery of applications and services.
5 - Inter-data centre networks are going virtual too
A virtualised network partitions resources in many different ways, e.g., virtual circuits (EVPLs), virtual wavelengths (Optical Transport Network - OTN), virtual switches (VSIs) and virtual networks (VPNs, Optical Virtual Private Network - OVPNs).
Virtualisation of the network provides network efficiency, i.e. coordination of the bandwidth and topology to the specific application need at a point in time. This eliminates the need to size all data centre network interconnection facilities for a peak capacity that is only rarely used, which lowers costs because you don't need to make unnecessary network equipment investment.
6 - You will want to automate cloud use cases using an intelligent network
Workload orchestration between cloud data centres, and between enterprise and cloud data centres, will be driven by policy-based software automation tools.