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Brocade - Trimming the fat in the cloud

07 May 2014

New figures demonstrate that CIOs are aware of the new business models, consumption models, user expectations, security issues and privacy concerns associated with the cloud - and they will use the cloud to drive growth and innovation throughout their organisations.

According to Gartner, the push for more personal cloud technologies will lead to a shift toward services and away from devices.

In addition, a study by 451 Research forecasts that the worldwide cloud computing market is expected to grow at a 36% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5 billion by 2016.

In 2014, we expect the cloud to develop into a key business enabler and, as private clouds mature, the desire to leverage public cloud elasticity will grow.

So with the technology disruptions of the cloud we are fundamentally rethinking how networks should be architected, designed, deployed and operated in data centres.

Networks are more critical than ever to deliver applications, and we believe fabrics will play a pivotal role to accelerate this transformation - with drastic improvements in network efficiency, resource utilisation and performance.

The explosion of data is forcing an end to the traditional three-tier network and with Gartner predicting that by 2014, 80 percent of network traffic will flow from server to server we expect to see enterprises continuing to flatten their networks.

They will benefit from more powerful and resilient networks, while ensuring that the networks can considerably grow network capacity on demand without disruptions. Even at the age of 40, Ethernet will continue to revolutionise networking.

Opting for public or private cloud

The benefits may be numerous when you don’t have to build your own data centre, from the real estate itself all the way to the power and cooling.

There is access to data services to consider as well and plant security, plus challenges of data sovereignty, or the need to have access to the physical infrastructure that makes co-location or hosting not everybody’s ideal scenario.

We are however seeing that pushing services to the cloud provides more flexibility and agility than typically is seen by owing and having to upgrade your own equipment.

The benefits for using a public cloud include costs: not having to pay for building and service installations including power, cooling and data services.

Hardware can remain current and is leased as part of the service, upgrades are typically provided by the cloud provider.

With public cloud, you have access to much more compute than an organisation may have provisioned for by being able to utilise the cloud provider’s infrastructure – cloud offerings allow you to burst the organisation’s compute size up or down to align with your business and/or application needs.

Network functions virtualisation

Importantly public cloud offerings can access services such as a choice of service providers or additional services offered by the cloud provider for additional networking requirements, such as software defined networking and network functions virtualisation (NFV).

From a trend perspective we definitely believe that network functions virtualisation and software-defined ‘everything’ will gain momentum.

Globally, and specifically in Asia-Pacific and Japan, exploration of NFV and software-defined technologies (network, virtualisation, data centre, storage and infrastructure) will evolve from being simply 'research' and enterprises, particularly in the service provider space, will begin to roll out production deployments.

With more user cases, we will likely see larger deployments commissioned.

As an industry, we are seeing a shift toward open, more flexible, efficient, highly programmable and elastic network infrastructure solutions with key initiatives such as OpenStack and the Open Daylight Project as well as disruptive technologies that will ultimately benefit organisations.

At the same time, we expect NFV to gain prominence and drive new revenue opportunities for service providers by pulling managed services into the cloud, drastically reducing costs and increasing service agility.

Although it may still be too early for full SDN deployments, a key decision making criteria for infrastructure will be to ensure that infrastructure will support SDN going forward. Open architecture will be key to this future-proof strategy.