It’s official—information technology’s future is in the “cloud.” The benefits are both diverse and compelling—from rapid deployment and try-before-you-buy to disaster recovery and mobile-application delivery. Even governments are getting into the fray, such as the formation of the Hong Kong Cloud Standards Alliance that will spearhead regional cloud adoption.
What is not often discussed is that the cloud’s success is grounded on good, solid data center infrastructures. To support the cloud, you need a well-furbished and modernized data center that is capable of a high degree of resource virtualization, featuring a flexible and low latency network. The reality, however, can be very different.
In a typical data center, applications are updated, upgraded or replaced every two years to enjoy new benefits and features; however, data center hardware and software, built to last 20 years, are often not replaced as often as applications. This is called the Data Center Lifecycle Disconnect. In Asia, this is becoming a major concern as businesses look to embrace cloud computing.
The truth is that cloud computing demands architectural differences in how applications are delivered to end users. This delivery will often shift outside of traditional, local data center delivery to external cloud based resources. In other cases, IT will deploy internal clouds to enable faster service delivery and business agility to the various business units.
This shift in delivery affects data patterns and network traffic levels. As the network becomes central to a business’ daily and mission critical activities, network performance and reliability will need to be guaranteed. Soon, 99.999 percent will not be good enough for businesses that will totally rely on networks and data centers for daily activities.
Thanks to new approaches to data center hardware and software design, managing this shift is easier than ever. These approaches highlight two key advancements in infrastructure design--automation and better network intelligence. Together, they help customers make smarter design decisions for their data center, deploy the best mix of solutions that meet their dynamic business needs, and define a migration path for future expansion.
These approaches also lay the groundwork for two other major impacts of cloud computing that are often overlooked.
The first mirrors the network’s prominence in data centers for cloud computing. Similarly, as desktop and office environments embrace virtualization and rely more on their networks for delivering applications, office LAN infrastructure needs to be better planned, managed and automated.
The second accentuates one of the key benefits of cloud computing—enabling employee mobility; however, going wireless is easier said than done. Building wireless capabilities and ensuring consistent performance, availability and security can be difficult but increasingly important.
Ensuring these infrastructure questions are well answered in the initial design can certainly alleviate massive infrastructure headaches. It also ensures that your inevitable cloud journey is not postponed or delayed because of “stormy weather.”