Making data centers and the networks that enable them to deliver applications and services optimally and securely in a world that is increasingly data center-centric is at the top of IT asset manager challenges. We all know that dealing with the challenges of virtualization in all its various forms, the cloud and “E”verything as a service, the app explosion and the “data storm” are not theoretical constructs. They are everyday realities.
Keeping up with daily performance and risk management issues is one thing, but given what we all know is heading our way, doing so quickly will require not just a lot of hard and complicated work, but a plan for how to assure the computing and communications infrastructure architecture of data centers going forward is truly “future ready.”
And the facts are that as a result of the silos between applications and the network, most enterprises are in need of a transformation that breaks down the barriers in order to facilitate optimal performance in an increasingly virtualized world where a premium will be placed on speed, flexibility and security.
In the past several weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to have moderated several cloud-related panels at TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO Austin 2012 event as well as an ongoing series of webinars. One that was especially illuminating was the October 9 webinar, “Optimized network infrastructure for virtualized applications and cloud based services, ”where I was joined by Rohit Mehra, director of Enterprise Communications (News - Alert) Infrastructure at IDC; David Fortini, director of Strategic Alliances Enterprise Network Group Alcatel-Lucent; and Greg Smith, senior director of Product Marketing for Cloud Networking Group at Citrix Systems (News - Alert) Inc., for what amounted to a detailed “how-to” session on infrastructure transformation.
Below is a brief list of what was covered:
- Requirements for adapting corporate LAN, WAN and data center networks to meet the needs of new real time applications, virtualized workloads and delivering applications to a broad array of devices from a centralized and connect data center with an intelligent, interoperable L2-L7 network stack.
- Overcoming the challenges faced in the design and deployment of corporate networks due to server virtualization, and deployment of virtualized real-time applications such as Citrix XenDesktop.
- Best practices to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) with a network tuned for the delivery of virtualized workloads and cloud services.
- How the Alcatel Lucent (News - Alert) Application Fluent Network and Citrix NetScaler deliver Layer 2-7 solutions designed to optimize network infrastructure for mobile workstyles and cloud services.
While obviously it is highly recommended you view the webinar, a few graphics that I found instructive should whet your appetite. The first from Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) part of the presentation may be a bit of an eye chart in terms of the details, but the headline says it all. In a virtualized world – from an infrastructure perspective as well as where work is performed – understanding the “blurring” and accommodating the reality of optimal performance is going to entail a blended approach to infrastructure architecture, coupled with the ability to create, monitor and enforce policies and rules for people, devices and apps.
The second is a good representation of the vision for looking at future requirements.
And the last is a visual of what an integrated Layer 2-7 network that can meet the needs for being flexible, adaptable, secure and capable of providing both quality user experiences as well stream-lined operations looks.
Image via Citrix
In the coming weeks, look for more about solutions for transforming the data center and its networking capabilities, including SDN: Let’s Cut The Hype, What is the Reality? on November 1 at 11:00 AM EST.
As Rohit Mehra pointed out, IDCs CIO Agenda survey from the end of last year had investing in cloud services, consolidation/virtualization, collaboration tools and big data/business analytics and modeling for organizational data at the top of the list of things that were priorities for 2012. He also noted that their research showed that the top three reasons to re-invest in the network for private cloud implementations were:
- We needed to ensure security between virtual servers
- We needed more bandwidth to support the virtualized environment
- The network became a bottleneck to new service provisioning
The lists are likely to look very similar for 2013. The reason is the silos need to be eliminated as obstacles and companies recognize the need and are going to need to invest capabilities that enable the transformation of their data centers and networks so they can be orchestrated, federated and harmonized to provide optimal performance.
Edited by Braden Becker