Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner

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
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
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.
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, will explore the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and will give a real live, hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He will examine three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. This is a hands-on session that will require participants to bring their own laptops, and we will provide the rest.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.