Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Shelly Palmer, JP Morgenthal, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, IBM Cloud, PowerBuilder, Weblogic, Recurring Revenue, SAP HANA Cloud, Log Management, Server Monitoring, @CloudExpo, Government Cloud

Adobe Flex: Article

The Transition to Cloud Computing: What Does It Mean For You?

Availability is important for cloud services, but so is security

Cloud Computing on Ulitzer

We are standing on the threshold of a new transition in information technology and communications; a radical departure from current practice that promises to bring us new levels of efficiency at a vastly reduced cost. Cloud computing is full of potential, bursting with opportunity and within our grasp.

But, remember, that clouds always appear to be within our grasp and bursting clouds promise only one thing: rain!

As with all radical transitions, it takes time for the various pieces to fall into place. Some of them are already in place; some of them have yet to be considered. In this article, we will take a look at both and try to gauge where we are today and what work still remains. In addition, we will try to understand what this means to the various stakeholders involved.

Cloud composition
So what is the cloud and who are the stakeholders involved. There are many definitions available, but in simple terms, cloud computing involves providing an information technology service that is accessed remotely. This access can be over a public or private infrastructure, but for our purposes, it is probably useful to consider the Internet as a reference delivery infrastructure.

With this in mind, a simple cloud model would include the following stakeholders:

  • The cloud service provider
  • The cloud connectivity provider
  • The Internet
  • The user connectivity provider
  • The user

The cloud service provider is based in a data center (which we assume he controls for simplicity), where he has a number of servers running the cloud service being provided (e.g. a CRM system, a remote mail system, remote file repository, etc.). He is responsible for ensuring that the servers are up and running, are available at all times and that there are enough of them to service all the users who have subscribed to the service.

The cloud connectivity provider delivers Internet access connections to the cloud service provider and ensures that the cloud service provider has enough bandwidth for all of the users who wish to access the cloud service simultaneously. He must also ensure that these connections and the bandwidth requested are always available.

The user accesses the service remotely, typically through a web browser over the Internet. He also needs Internet access, which is provided by a connectivity provider (e.g. ISP), but only enough to ensure that he can access the service quickly and without too many delays. The connectivity provider ensures that his connection and required bandwidth is always available.

Which leaves us with the Internet. Who is responsible for this? The connectivity providers will typically have control over their parts of the network, but they must rely on other connectivity service providers to bridge the gap between them. The beauty of the Internet is that they do not have to know about all the actors in the chain of delivery. As long as they have a gateway to the Internet and the destination IP address, then the packets can be directed to the right user and vice versa.

The Internet itself is made up of a number of interconnected networks, often telecom service provider networks, who have implemented IP networks and can provide connectivity across the geographical region where they have licenses to provide services.

This brings the Internet and the cloud within the grasp of virtually everyone.

Cloud considerations
For cloud services to work, there are four fundamental requirements that need to be met:

  • There must be an open, standard access mechanism to the remote service that can allow access from anywhere to anyone who is interested in the service
  • This access must have enough bandwidth to ensure quality of experience (i.e. it should feel like the service or application is running on your desktop)
  • This access must be secure so that sensitive data is protected
  • This access must be available at ALL times

Some of these fundamentals are in place and are driving adoption of cloud services. The Internet and IP networking have grown to a point where it provides the perfect access mechanism. It is a global network, accessible from anywhere as Internet connectivity is now virtually ubiquitous. The bandwidth of the Internet is also not an issue - it is only a question of how much you are willing to pay for your connectivity.

Nevertheless, for users in particular, a modestly priced Internet connection provides all the bandwidth they need to access the cloud services they require.

So far so good!

Cloud service providers are extremely conscious of the fact that availability and security are key requirements and generally ensure that there are redundant servers, failover mechanisms and other solutions to ensure high availability. They also provide trusted security mechanisms to ensure that only the right people get access to sensitive data.

Still on track then!

That leaves the connectivity providers and the Internet itself. This is where more effort is needed.

Cloud compromised
IP networks and the Internet were designed for efficient transfer of data. The idea is that instead of establishing permanent connections like telephone call connections, where data will follow a pre-determined route every time, the data is routed through on a packet by packet basis on the best route available at the time, as determined by the network itself. There are a number of routes to the same destination, so even if one doesn't work, others will. What you can't guarantee is when data packets will get to the destination or in what order they will get there. If packets don't arrive as expected, then they are simply resent.

This works beautifully for data like web browsing, emails or file transfers, as it doesn't really matter when the data arrives as long as it gets there eventually.

But now, IP networks and the Internet are being used for all sorts of services like Voice-over-IP, Video-over-IP, Storage networks etc. For many of these services, time is critical and a guaranteed bandwidth is required. Many of these services are also sharing the same connections as normal data services, so there also has to be mechanisms to ensure that they are prioritized in relation to data services like those mentioned earlier.

The issue with this for cloud computing is that there is no mechanism for ensuring that a cloud service transported over the Internet will be given priority. In fact, it won't!

Cloud computing is in its nascent stages, but as the popularity of this approach grows, more and more people will access applications and services remotely leading to increased Internet traffic and congestion points as multitudes of users converge on a few critical cloud service provider points.

Up to now, this has not been an issue since there has been a healthy investment in networking capacity and congestion has been solved by "throwing bandwidth at the problem". But in these fiscally challenging times, this is no longer an option. Making more efficient use of the existing infrastructure is the order of the day.

Cloud certainty
To have confidence that cloud services are available at all times, it is not enough to wait for issues to occur and rely on fallback solutions. The utilization and performance of critical links must be monitored proactively to assure cloud service availability.

This requires dedicated network performance monitoring appliances at all points in the delivery chain. These appliances are stand-alone hardware and software systems that are capable of capturing and analyzing all the data traffic on a link in real-time, at speeds up to 10 Gbps. Each data packet is analyzed to understand where it has come from, where it is going and the application that produced it.

With this information in hand, it is possible to see the utilization of critical links, as well as the applications and users that are hogging the bandwidth.

For cloud service providers, these network appliances can be used to monitor their communication with the outside world, but it also allows them to demand visibility into their connectivity providers' network to understand how their traffic is being transported.

The connectivity provider can use these solutions to support the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) they have with cloud service providers and ensure that there is available bandwidth. They can equally demand the same level of SLA from their other connectivity providers in the Internet domain. Thus the chain continues.

Such network performance tools are available today and being deployed in many enterprise, data center and communication networks. However, they need to be regarded as an essential part of the cloud service delivery infrastructure.

Cloud confidence
Availability is important for cloud services, but so is security. Cloud service providers provide a number of mechanisms to ensure that only the right persons gain access to critical data.

However, this is not the only threat. Malware, denial of service attacks and other malicious activity are becoming more prevalent. This requires dedicated network security solutions, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems that can provide a fence around critical access points. These are primarily at the enterprise and data center where the users and cloud service providers reside, but can also be in the connectivity provider's network securing critical links.

Again, these network security solutions are stand-alone hardware and software systems that are capable of analyzing high-speed data in real-time, taking action and then sending clean data traffic on its way. The process is completely transparent to the user and cloud service provider.

Using these systems ensures that the doors are firmly closed to would-be intruders and should be mandatory at all critical access points in the cloud service delivery chain.

Cloud clarity
Many pieces of the cloud service delivery chain are in place. What remains are the key components to assure service performance, availability and network security.

Network appliance solutions exist to address these areas and they now have the performance to keep up with even the highest speed networks thanks to advanced network adapters capable of handling data traffic at up to 10 Gbps in real-time without losing packets. What remain is to make these network appliances a mandatory component in the cloud service delivery infrastructure underpinning clear SLAs that can assure performance and security across the delivery chain.

So don't let the cloud rain on your parade! Ensure that all the pieces are in place and enjoy the benefits that the cloud can provide and the new opportunities it will enable.

More Stories By Daniel Joseph Barry

Daniel Joseph Barry is VP Positioning and Chief Evangelist at Napatech and has over 20 years experience in the IT and Telecom industry. Prior to joining Napatech in 2009, he was Marketing Director at TPACK, a leading supplier of transport chip solutions to the Telecom sector.

From 2001 to 2005, he was Director of Sales and Business Development at optical component vendor NKT Integration (now Ignis Photonyx) following various positions in product development, business development and product management at Ericsson. He joined Ericsson in 1995 from a position in the R&D department of Jutland Telecom (now TDC). He has an MBA and a BSc degree in Electronic Engineering from Trinity College Dublin.

Comments (1) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
Erik Sebesta 12/07/09 11:22:00 AM EST

You've summarized nicely why we went into business to become the leading cloud computing transition services company. :-)

Cloud Computing Services

Hopefully some of our analysis the on cloud computing leaders is helpful to you.

Cloud computing leaders

Cheers,

--Erik

@CloudExpo Stories
Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
UpGuard has become a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and will continue to help businesses expand visibility into their cyber risk by providing hardening benchmarks to all customers. By incorporating these benchmarks, UpGuard's CSTAR solution builds on its lead in providing the most complete assessment of both internal and external cyber risk. CIS benchmarks are a widely accepted set of hardening guidelines that have been publicly available for years. Numerous solutions exist t...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
"We view the cloud not really as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...