Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Steve Latham, Pat Romanski, Larry Alton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Deploying the Cloud? Make 2013 the Year to Do It Right

Leverage the benefits of cloud technology across the enterprise

It's no secret that the cloud is growing at an exponential rate. By 2016, two-thirds of the world's server workloads will exist in the cloud. But according to Cisco's 2012 Cloud Index, less than half of server workloads currently run in the cloud. Closing the gap between current capabilities and future requirements is a mission-critical priority for businesses across a range of industries. Without adequate planning and preparation, the race to the cloud can easily become a long slog through a minefield of missed opportunities, user failures and IT nightmares. As more and more workloads make their way to the cloud each year, enterprises have a vested interest in expanding network capabilities and evolving critical data center infrastructure to accommodate an ever-increasing array of cloud-based applications and data storage requirements.

Key Trends in Cloud Technology
Several trends are driving the migration of applications and data to the cloud.

  1. Agility. Cloud deployment enables businesses to improve performance and functionality quickly, launching new applications without a corresponding need for additional infrastructure. Agility is especially important in new and young companies, many of which lack the time and resources to deploy a range of diverse applications internally.
  2. Consumerization of IT. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is enabling companies to expand the use of technology through the use of employee-owned devices. The cloud is playing an important role in helping organizations keep up with the pace of BYOD and deliver anytime, anywhere access to workers.
  3. Cost Drivers. Financial metrics are also a motivating factor in the race to the cloud. In general, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is cheaper, faster and easier than traditional deployment models - reducing the cost of infrastructure, physical space and IT labor.

Preparing for the Cloud
Successful preparation for future cloud workloads requires planning. By strategically adapting your network capacity, data center and other critical IT functions, you can substantially improve your organization's ability to operate in the cloud.

Today's networks must be capable of handling constant interactions characterized by rich media and heavy content, particularly as users migrate away from email toward interactions via social media and other channels. Consequently, networks and data centers must expand to support instant access to many different types of content beyond email. The first step of network expansion is a comprehensive assessment of your organization's app portfolio. In most cases, executive decision-makers are unaware of the scope of applications that are running in the organization. Once all of the applications that are currently running in your organization have been identified, they need to be ranked and categorized according to future requirements. While some applications may need to remain in-house, others can be migrated to a public cloud or secure public cloud environment. From there, the organization can begin to evaluate how to expand the network to manage future workloads.

As virtualization becomes more prevalent in data centers and companies adopt a cloud-based strategy, network architects need to rethink and redesign their current infrastructure to adapt to the new traffic patterns. What once used to be primarily "North-South" network traffic flow is now becoming "East-West." Environments are becoming highly dynamic; workloads are moving to different physical locations on the network as virtual servers are migrated and clients move about the building. The architectures and networking techniques of yesterday are not necessarily well suited to the architectures and applications of today and tomorrow. A thorough understanding of networking and the infrastructure that is its foundation as well its relationship to applications is necessary when architecting a data center network that is capable of not just supporting but adapting to future challenges that arise as a result of virtualization and cloud computing. The solution must address all aspects of application delivery - security, availability, performance, and visibility - while exhibiting the qualities and characteristics that define cloud architectures including affordability and elastic scalability. The data must be protected against attacks, intrusions, breaches, and leaks and categorized based on its importance and network resource needs with Quality-of-Service (QoS) capabilities.

Storage and Backup is another key to preparing for cloud migration. Security is a top-of-mind issue in the cloud. Although cloud deployments offer real benefits, your organization needs to know that sensitive data will remain secure. The process for preparing for cloud-based data storage and backup mirrors the process for evaluating network expansion requirements. Starting with an assessment of current data sources and storage routines, the organization needs to evaluate what types of data can eventually either integrate with or be completely migrated to the cloud. Equipped with this information, the organization can begin to identify the technology gaps that need to be addressed to meet future cloud storage and backup requirements.

Purpose-built appliances provide fast backup and restore, and deliver local-like performance while using the cloud for secure off-site storage, avoiding the need to provision and manage a secondary site for Disaster Recovery (DR) or long-term storage. This can dramatically reduce capital spending, streamline IT infrastructure, and enable payback periods that are measured in months, not years. Appliances can be combined with existing data protection applications and private or public clouds, creating a low cost, highly scalable storage tier for old or infrequently accessed data. Appliances also allow organizations of all sizes to modernize their data protection architecture, eliminate tape, improve scalability, and improve Disaster Recovery readiness. Cloud storage allow organizations to leverage a pay-for-use pricing model and anywhere availability.

Increased virtualization will alleviate some of the cloud migration challenges upfront. Cloud technology enables organizations to move servers to the cloud and back in an integrated and strategic manner. In fact, the use of virtualization can also play an important role in preparing the organization's culture and stakeholders for future cloud deployments. By increasing the use of virtualization now, you can encourage greater acceptance of the cloud across your enterprise. In essence, virtualization can serve as a bridge to the cloud.

It is the key technology that enables the cloud, and without it there is no cloud. The ability to separate the OS and application from the hardware allows it to be the foundation required for on-demand cloud services. The encapsulation offered in virtualization and the mobility that enables a live virtual machine to be moved with no downtime for the application is what the cloud is built on. If you look at virtualization / cloud computing as a whole, it really is not about a product, but a journey. Companies initially enter the world of virtualization because they just can't keep up with the increased scale, complexity, and management requirements while maintaining their current traditional infrastructure. This leads them to the first step in the virtualization journey, which is to consolidate their resources/infrastructure to get better utilization of their servers and to reduce their energy cost. Higher levels of abstraction allow companies to take advantage of the intelligence built into the virtualization software. Intelligent software that allows High Availability (HA) and Replication, load balancing, pooled resources, self-automation/orchestration, service definitions or service profiles, templates, policies, self-service portal, service catalog(s), security and identity management, system monitoring/system management, capacity planning, billing and chargeback, and licensing.

It's important to understand that the ability to handle future cloud-based workloads will present different challenges and concerns for the stakeholders in your organization; users are motivated by ease-of-use and increased access to applications and data, CIOs are focused on control, ownership and data and application security and CFOs are primarily concerned about the cost savings, rate of return and opex versus capex, etc. By thoughtfully and strategically preparing for future cloud opportunities, your organization can address these concerns and fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology across the enterprise.

More Stories By Pete Schmitt

Pete Schmitt is Vice President of Engineering at Customer Storage Inc. Since 2002, cStor has helped companies strategize, create, and implement best in class data center solutions that address business needs. cStor’s proven capabilities with key data center technologies provides clients with a fresh perspective, the ability to collaborate with recognized data center experts, and the confidence that goals will be met.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).