Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Carl J. Levine, Plutora Blog, Elizabeth White, Chris Colosimo

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, IBM Cloud, PowerBuilder, Weblogic, Recurring Revenue, Artificial Intelligence, 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
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...