December 16, 2010

2010 Cloud Networking Report

The majority of IT organizations have either already adopted, or are in the process of adopting cloud computing. The broad interest in cloud computing is understandable given that, as explained in this report, the goal of cloud computing is to enable IT organizations to achieve a dramatic improvement in the cost effective, elastic provisioning of IT services that are "good enough."

The phrase "good enough" refers primarily to the fact that on a going forward basis, IT organizations will continue to be required to provide the highest levels of availability and performance for a small number of key applications and services. However, an ever-increasing number of applications and services will be provided on a best effort basis. The phrase good enough refers secondarily to the fact that the SLAs from both traditional network service providers as well as from public cloud computing providers are often weak or non-existent. As such, these services are currently provided on a good enough basis, whether or not that is explicitly acknowledged.

The adoption of cloud computing creates some very significant networking challenges. In recognition of those challenges, the phrase cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and management functionality that IT organizations must put in place in order to enable cloud computing.

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In this monumental work, Jim Metzler provides an extensive overview and examination of the current landscape in Cloud Networking.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be publishing this report serially. We've chosen this format because, frankly, with everybody's workload today, publishing the entire report at once would be overwhelming. At the end of the series, though, we will also offer the entire series as a single document.

As we release each installment, Jim will, as you will see below, provide an overview of the content and kick off the discussion. (We do hope indeed that you will be an active participant in not only reading Jim's work but also interacting and commenting and questioning.)

We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of the report. Please take time to review their materials. It's because - and only because - of their generous support that we are able to make this available.

This year's sponsors include A10, Arista, CA, Certeon, Cisco, Citrix, Force10, InfoBlox, Ipanema, Juniper, LSI, NetScout, Packet Design, Riverbed, Shunra, Streamcore, Talari, Visual Network Systems, and Vyatta.

And even though the 2010 Cloud Networking Report is sponsored by a wide range of the most important companies in this industry, many of whom are fierce competitors with each other, the report itself is totally generic and educational.


As recently at 18 months ago we were skeptical that cloud computing was yet one more media event with little if any substance. That is no longer the case. In the current environment our concern is not ‘is cloud computing real’, but what has to be in the network to support it. And that's what I do in The 2010 Cloud Networking Report.

The report is lengthy because cloud computing makes so many new demands of the network that each need a reasonable level of discussion and analysis. This first installment is the executive summary. It gives a great non-technical overview of the key networking issues that are associated with supporting cloud computing.

I'm looking forward to your comments and discussion each week as the various installments are rolled out.

In this second installment of our serialized release of the report, Jim does a great job of defining the various aspects of "Cloud Networking."

While one might think that "everybody knows what Cloud means," the opposite is actually the case. Indeed, as a new technology or service becomes as "hot" as "Cloud" is, we find that everybody is jumping on the bandwagon and this precise definition is much needed.

As was mentioned in the last announcement, cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and management functionality that IT organizations must put in place in order to enable cloud computing. This installment of the Cloud Networking Report elaborates on what that means.

For example, in order to understand what has to be in the network to support cloud computing, this installment describes the key characteristics of cloud computing. The easiest way to think of these characteristics is that they are the 'ations; i.e., centralization, automation, virtualization, standardization and simplification.

Also included in this installment is a description of the key attributes of a cloud network.

You might want to use the phrase "service level agreement" the first time you refer to an SLA.

Thanks, Bill! Good point, even though the vast majority of the Webtorials readers know the acronym. Clarity never, hurts. :-)

Great article!
If think about ITIL implementation, ISO/IEC 27002 controls, COBIT... all of these together with cloud computing is very challenging and hard to accomplish!

This is the third of five installments of the Cloud Networking Report. This installment focuses on the chaos that currently surrounds the data center LAN.

To put that chaos into perspective, it was not that long ago that I moderated an Interop session that was entitled “Is there anything left to say about the LAN?”

As this installment highlights, almost every aspect of the data center LAN is up for debate. This includes the appropriate number of tiers, the use of spanning tree, the separation of the LAN and the SAN and the use of Ethernet on a best effort basis.

This installment of the Cloud Networking Report identifies what your alternatives are and when they are likely to be mainstream. As a result, this installment will help you to plan for the evolution of your data center LAN.

This is the fourth of five installments of the Cloud Networking Report, and it focuses on the WAN.

As described in the report, one of the challenges facing IT organizations is that WAN traffic volumes continue to increase at double-digit rates and yet the price-performance of the WAN does not follow Moore’s law. In addition, there is not a fundamentally new generation of WAN technology in development.

This installment of the report analyzes some emerging WAN challenges brought on by virtualization and cloud computing. This installment of the report also describes some steps that IT organizations can take to respond to the existing and emerging WAN challenges.

In this fifth and final installment of the report, Jim tackles the topic of management of the Cloud Network.

As noted by Jim, "Almost every aspect of cloud computing (e.g., server virtualization, public and private cloud computing solutions) create significant management challenges. To respond to these challenges, IT organizations should:
- Analyze solutions for data center management automation and integration initiatives from the perspective of the organizational domains (e.g., servers, storage, and network) as well as the required expertise and staff development that are required to fully exploit vendor-supported APIs and the associated scripting languages.
- Evaluate the viability of implementing a route analytics solution to obtain visibility, analysis, and diagnosis capabilities of the issues that occur at the routing layer in complex, meshed networks, such as those found in public and hybrid cloud computing solutions.
- Increase their focus on managing services vs. focusing on managing individual technology domains.
- Work with the team responsible for data center LANs to determine the best way to get visibility into the traffic that goes between VMs on a given server.
- Implement the ability to perform standard management functions (e.g., troubleshooting, baselining) on a per-VM basis.
- Analyze the offerings of cloud computing service providers to determine if they provide APIs that can be leveraged to better manage public and hybrid cloud computing solutions.
- Implement a dynamic, highly scalable and integrated DNS/DHCP/IPAM solution, which is also well integrated with the virtual server management system.
- Evaluate service orchestration solutions relative to their ability to automate many of the manual tasks that are involved in provisioning and controlling the capacity of dynamic virtualized services.

Thanks for the report

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