Posted on: Friday 7 September, 2012 12:37
|Successful Cloud Deployments in Saudi Arabia heavily reliant on Quality of Network Cabling Infrastructure’, expert
Enterprises in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are eager to jump onto the cloud bandwagon. Cloud computing is becoming pervasive and cloud-delivered hosted applications are presenting new challenges and business opportunities. IDC predicts that the cloud market alone will have grown into a 45 billion dollar industry by 2014, nearly tripling its business within five years. This ongoing trend towards cloud computing will in turn change the way organizations manage and operate their data centers.
The Cisco® Global Cloud Index, which is an ongoing effort to forecast the growth of global data center and cloud-based IP traffic, predicts that by 2015, more than one-third of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud. The report states growing adoption and migration to the cloud and the ability of cloud data center to handle significantly higher traffic loads as the reasons behind this.
There is increasing talk of cloud deployments in the country, and organizations are now asking pertinent questions about how to leverage this new technology while still maintaining the same levels of security, reliability and performance as were seen with on-premise deployments. At the heart of these discussions are concerns regarding the integrity of the infrastructure required to support a successful cloud deployment and network cabling is one of the key components being assessed.
Shibu Vahid, Head of Technical Operations, R&M Middle East & Africa says that in recent years, much of the growth that the cabling industry has witnessed has been due to the increasingly prominent role of the data center. Organizations have shifted their focus from the traditional 'silo' approach to one which treats the data center as a strategic piece of IT infrastructure. The mega-trend of digitization has meant that data centers now have to deal with volumes of data that were previously unimaginable. Industry experts have already heralded the coming of the zetabyte era plunging data center managers into a frenzy to implement the most cost-effective, future-proof connectivity infrastructure both quickly and efficiently.
Another technology trend which has driven the need for the deployment of high-performance and robust cabling infrastructure is that of server virtualization. In many ways is seen as the precursor to cloud computing- the concept of virtual machines not being tied to physical servers allows for the flexible scaling required in the cloud paradigm. While virtualization reduces the number of physical servers present in the data center, it translates to a greater utilization of existing resources. What this then means is that a large number of applications are now dependent on the same underlying infrastructure, thereby placing the latency and robustness of the system in the limelight. The flexibility required to implement these developments in the data-centre environment places a new series of demands on the network cabling infrastructure.
Impact of Cloud Computing: The Need for Speed
As server virtualization paves the way for cloud-based deployments, organizations will now need to ready themselves for a transition to a cabling infrastructure which supports 40 and 100 Gbit/s speeds.
This demand for higher speeds requires higher performing cabling to support the infrastructure. Revision of current standards has led the industry to transition from the use of Cat 6 copper cables to Cat 6A cables. In addition, fiber optic cabling is being increasingly deployed to meet the high speed requirements with OM4 multimode fiber being widely deployed.
Focus on Security
The ability to quickly and securely transfer data to and from the cloud will determine the success of the deployment. The move to the cloud will also require much higher precision and a tighter system design approach. In the case of private clouds, since most applications will be delivered via the network, scaling the bandwidth to meet the requirements of the users will be a must. Also, with the growing use of mobile devices, network managers will need to plan for supporting this requirement in a safe and secure manner.
Flexibility for Migration
Given that cloud computing is still in its infancy, it can be expected that enterprises will chose to gradually migrate their services to the cloud. The challenge then faced is planning an infrastructure that supports the current requirements while still accommodating for future needs. The cloud computing model supports and emphasizes the dynamic allocation of services. The 'on demand' nature of this technology will result in peaks and troughs in network usage. The physical network then needs to provide the additional capacity to allow for peaks to be handled without significantly impacting capital expenses due to over provisioning.
As security is still a large part of the ongoing cloud discussion, organizations are likely to favour the 'private cloud' for their business-critical applications. This may then lead to a scenario wherein the organization chooses to bring the private cloud assets back into the enterprise. Here too the flexibility of the cabling solution to support the migration with minimal impact on regular business operations will play a key role.
Cloud computing promises compelling financial benefits, 'on demand' processing, and reduced management overheads. It is likely to impact the entire manner in which IT delivers information services which will inevitably affect data patterns and traffic levels on the network. Already essential to business success, the network will no doubt assume an even greater significance. It is imperative then that IT infrastructure managers implement the most cost-effective, future-proof connectivity infrastructure with performance, security and flexibility at the top of their priorities lists!