November 28, 2011

2011 Cloud Networking Report


The 2011 Cloud Networking Report is being published both in its entirety and in a serial fashion. The most current of the serial publications - as noted below - is Part 2: The Emerging Data Center LAN.

Throughout this publication, the phrase cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and management functionality that must be in place to enable cloud computing. In order for the report to intelligently describe the networking challenges that are associated with enabling cloud computing, this publication will identify what cloud computing is today and will also describe how cloud computing is likely to evolve in the near term.



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As the fifth and final installment of the 2011 Cloud Networking Report, this week's installment is an Executive Overview that highlights the entire report.

The phrase cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and network management functionality that is necessary to support cloud computing. In part due to the growing importance and breadth of cloud computing, cloud networking is also becoming increasingly important and broad and as a result, the 2011 Cloud Networking Report is both lengthy and somewhat technical. To make it easier to read, over the last month we have published the report in sections and highlighted in each section a number of key observations and conclusions.

To further increase the readability of the report, today we are publishing a ten page executive summary. We are also publishing the report in its entirety and have included a final section in the report that is a collection of the observations and conclusions from each section of the report.

Part 4: The Management of Cloud Computing
The 2011 Cloud Networking Report will be published both in its entirety and in a serial fashion. This is the fourth of the serial publications. One goal of this publication is to describe the management challenges created by cloud computing and to identify the importance that IT organizations place on these challenges. Another goal of this publication is to describe how the adoption of cloud computing increases the difficulty of traditional management processes such as root cause analysis. The third goal of this publication is to describe some of the possible approaches that IT organizations can take to better manage in a cloud computing environment and to identify the value that IT organizations see in those approaches.

In order to quantify how IT organizations are responding to the challenges of managing a cloud computing environment, this publication includes the results of surveys that were given to the subscribers of Webtorials.com in 2010 and 2011. Throughout this publication, those two groups of respondents will be respectively referred to as The 2010 Webtorials Respondents and The 2011 Webtorials Respondents.

Part 4: The Management of Cloud Computing

Even though many enterprise IT organizations have been slow to make a significant adoption of cloud computing the market research that is contained in this section of the report indicates that

 The majority of IT organizations believe that getting better at managing private cloud computing solutions is either very or extremely important.

However, as discussed in this section, in part because of the challenges associated with managing a virtual infrastructure and in part because of the challenge of managing across technology and organizational domains, managing a cloud computing environment is notably more challenging than managing a traditional IT environment.

Relative to the management challenges facing IT organizations, the market research contained in this section indicates that

Two thirds of IT organizations believe that it is either very or extremely important to get better at effectively managing internal SLAs. 

And yet, as described in this section

The lack of meaningful SLAs for public cloud services is a deterrent to the Global 2000 adopting these services for delay-sensitive, business-critical applications.

Another management challenge describe in this section is that

Getting better at doing root cause analysis is the most important management task facing the vast majority of IT organizations.

And yet, as described in this section

The adoption of cloud computing makes troubleshooting application performance an order of magnitude more difficult than it is in a traditional environment.

The cloud management solutions described in this report include the use of:

  • Public cloud based solutions - which can provide unique value to mobile workers
  • Route analytics – which provides visibility into the routing layer of complex networks
  • Dynamic infrastructure management – which allows core services to support virtualized servers
  • Converged infrastructure management solutions – which enables IT organizations to reduce the number of management tools
  • Orchestration and provisioning – which uses business policies to define a virtual service and to translate that service into the required physical and virtual resources 

Part 3: The Wide Area Network (WAN)

The 2011 Cloud Networking Report will be published both in its entirety and in a serial fashion.  This is the third of the serial publications. One goal of this publication is to describe the wide area networking (WAN) environment and to contrast it with the data center LAN environment. Another goal is to identify the factors that are causing IT organizations to rethink their approach to wide area networking and to provide insight into the WAN technologies and design choices that IT organizations are making. The third and primary goal of this publication is to describe the WAN architecture and technology options that either are currently available in the market or are likely to be available within two years.

Part 3: The Wide Area Network (WAN)

The preceding section of the 2011 Cloud Networking Report focused on the data center LAN and its ability to support cloud computing.  As is described in this section of the report, the WAN is notably different than the data center LAN.  These differences include the fact that:

  • After a lengthy period in which there was little or no fundamental innovation, the LAN is experiencing broad fundamental change.  In contrast, after a lengthy period in which the WAN underwent repeated fundamental change, there are currently no fundamental changes in store for the WAN.
  • In the vast majority of instances, the latency, jitter and packet loss that the LAN exhibits doesn’t have an appreciable impact on application performance.  In many instances, the latency, jitter and packet loss that the WAN exhibits has an appreciable impact on application performance.
  • The LAN follows Moore’s Law.  In contrast, the price/performance of WAN services such as MPLS tends to improve by only a couple of percentage points per year. 

The WAN doesn’t follow Moore’s Law.

As is explained in this section of the report, the adoption of cloud computing will increase the rate of growth in the amount of traffic that transits the WAN.  As such,

IT organizations must either make changes to how they use WAN services, or else accept ongoing increases in their WAN budget due to the increased traffic generated by the use of cloud computing.

To help IT organizations implement a WAN that can support cloud computing, this section of the report discusses trends in the use of traditional WAN services, such as the trend to implement distributed access to the Internet.  This section also discusses functionality that IT organizations can use to overcome the latency, jitter and packet loss that is associated with a WAN and discusses a wide variety of alternative WAN services and emerging cloud networking specific solutions.

Part 2: The Emerging Data Center LAN

The 2011 Cloud Networking Report will be published both in its entirety and in a serial fashion.  This is the second of the serial publications.  One goal of this publication is to provide a very brief overview of how data center LAN technology and design has evolved and to identify the factors that are currently driving the vast majority of IT organizations to rethink how they design their data center LANs.  Another goal of this publication is to provide insight into the technologies and design choices that IT organizations are making.  The third and primary goal of this publication is to describe the data center LAN architecture and technology options that either are currently available in the market or are likely to be available within two years.

Given the breadth of fundamental technology changes that are impacting the data center LAN, this section is very technical.

Part 2: The Emerging Data Center LAN

First generation LANs were based on shared media. In the mid 1990s, companies such as Grand Junction introduced Ethernet LAN switches to the marketplace. A key characteristic of these second generation data center LANs is that they are usually designed around a three-tier switched architecture comprised of access, distribution and core switches. The deployment of second generation LANs is also characterized by the use of the spanning tree protocol to ensure a loop-free topology; the need to primarily support client server traffic; and the separation of the data network from the storage network.

In the current environment, all of the assumptions that went into designing a second generation data center LAN are being questioned. The good news is that IT organizations have a wide breadth of existing and emerging technologies and design options from which to choose from when implementing a third generation data center LAN. That, however, is also the bad news. Having that many options, many of which are still under development, complicates the task of establishing a strategy for implementing the next generation of data center LANs.

This section of the Cloud Networking Report is intended to help IT organizations to establish that strategy. As was the case with the preceding section of this report, this section relies on surveys to quantify the drivers that are and are not motivating IT organizations to change their approach to data center LANs, and to also quantify the steps that IT organizations are taking to respond to those drivers.

The primary focus of this section is on the existing and emerging technologies that IT organizations can utilize to implement a third generation data center LAN. This includes a discussion of the technologies that IT organizations can use to flatten their data center LANs; to manage the challenges associated with the dynamic creation and movement of VMs; and to converge LANs and SANs. There is also a discussion of software defined networks in general and OpenFlow in particular and the potential that these concepts have to be a disruptive approach to LAN design.

Part 1: The Emergence of Cloud Computing and Cloud Networking

The majority of IT organizations have either already adopted, or are in the process of evaluating the adoption of one or more classes of cloud computing.  Gartner, for example, estimates that between 2010 and 2015 that enterprises will spend $112 billion cumulatively on Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), combined . 

The broad interest in cloud computing is understandable given that the goal of cloud computing is to enable IT organizations to become dramatically more agile and cost effective and that evidence exists that that goal is achievable.  The primary goal of this report is to describe the challenges and solutions that are associated with cloud networking. 

The phrase cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and management functionality that must be in place to enable cloud computing.


As will be discussed in this report, a traditional network will not be able to successfully support cloud computing.

In order to support cloud computing, a cloud network must be dramatically more agile and cost effective than a traditional network.


In order to describe the networking challenges that are associated with enabling cloud computing, the rest of this section of the report will identify what cloud computing is today and will also describe how cloud computing is likely to evolve in the near term.  Subsequent sections focus on the key components of a cloud network: Data Center LANs, WANs, and Network Management.  Given the breadth of fundamental technology changes that are impacting the data center LAN, the data center LAN section is very technical.  The sections on WANs and Network Management are moderately technical.  This year's edition of the cloud networking report leverages last year's edition of the report .  However, every section of The 2010 Cloud Networking Report has been significantly updated to reflect the changes that have occurred in the last year. 

As noted, the primary goal of this report is to describe the challenges and solutions that are associated with cloud networking.  A secondary goal of this report is to identify how IT organizations are currently approaching cloud networking and where possible, indicate how that approach is changing.  To accomplish that goal, this report includes the results of surveys that were recently given to the subscribers of Webtorials.com and to the attendees of the Interop conferences.  Throughout this report, e two groups of respondents will be respectively referred to as The Webtorials Respondents and The Interop Respondents.  In some cases, the results of the surveys given to The Webtorials Respondents and The Interop Respondents will be compared to the results of surveys given to these two groups in 2010.  The purpose of these comparisons is to quantify the ongoing changes that are occurring. 

The results of surveys such as the ones described in the preceding paragraph that ask IT organizations about their plans are always helpful because they enable IT organizations to see how their own plans fit with broad industry trends.  Such surveys are particularly beneficial in the current environment when so much change is occurring.

The 2011 Cloud Networking Report will be published both in its entirety and in a serial fashion. This is the first of the serial publications. As pointed out in this publication, the phrase cloud networking refers to the LAN, WAN and management functionality that must be in place to enable cloud computing. In order for the report to intelligently describe the networking challenges that are associated with enabling cloud computing, this publication will identify what cloud computing is today and will also describe how cloud computing is likely to evolve in the near term. Subsequent publications will focus on the key components of a cloud network: Data Center LANs, WANs, and Network Management.

Webtorials gave cloud arena people big chirsmas present of 2011 Cloud Networking Report.
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