The road to the Cloud: Access is as important as storage

Telecom Lead India: Early steps towards commercialization
of cloud based services in Asia appear encouragingly successful. SingTel for
example is looking to grow cloud services
with a CAGR of around 50-70 percent over the next three years.

Karl Horne, chief technology officer Asia Pacific, Ciena,
in this byline article, says many firms are now providing cloud-based storage
services ranging from corporate services like Amazon’s Simple Storage Service
(S3) to consumer oriented, easy-to-use cloud storage provided by Dropbox, and


As Asia moves beyond using cloud storage services for
less bandwidth-critical consumer files like music and photos, to serving the
enterprise-class needs of larger, business critical data initiatives, such as
disaster recovery, workload migration and virtualization, the ability to offer
a secure, reliable, high-performance connection to the cloud becomes much more
critical to success. The reason for this is simple – Asian enterprises are
typically late adopters of network technology for business, waiting until
concerns about speed, data privacy and security are well addressed. Hence they
will remain skeptical about moving their mission-critical IT storage services
to the cloud until their concerns about performance and security are clarified.


However it is important to remember that the quality of
an enterprise’s experience with storage-in-the-cloud depends as much on the
road it has built to the cloud.


As the cloud business evolves from Software Services
running cloud based applications that transfer small amounts of cloud storage,
to Infrastructure Services for more mission critical, larger file size
requirements, a standard Internet connection will no longer suffice. Instead,
we need a different network architecture approach. Infrastructure as a Service
(IaaS) applications like storage, and new applications like Virtual Machine
mobility, are going to require more scalable bandwidth to get large transfers
(of the order of Terabytes, common in finance, imaging, medical and other
sectors) accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. 


Today’s cloud IaaS users are not coping very well with existing
network restrictions, which have them sending information via discs and
physical transportation, instead of electronically. These introduce their own
security concerns.


The solution appears self-evident when you analyze it in
this fashion what enterprises who are serious about the cloud for next
generation cloud IaaS applications need, is a better, higher capacity cloud


Cost, another key concern for Asian enterprises, could be
addressed by making this bandwidth on-demand” for periodic IaaS use cases,
like workload mobility, availability and collaboration, and only billing for
the premium bandwidth that is used. For example, a cloud service backbone
connection that is typically provisioned for 500Mbps could be temporarily
expanded to 10Gbps to burst multiple terabits of data to the cloud for
migration of virtual machines and associated storage,  and then scaled
back down to 500 Mbps once the migration is over.


Today’s private enterprise networks already address some
of these critical network concerns, so users expect public cloud services to
also be equally capable. Amazon’s new Direct Connect service is a response
to this need and a forerunner to cloud service providers moving to new cloud
networking architectures that respond to the growing amount — and importance
— of the information in the cloud. 

So while we develop plans for migrating business to the
cloud, the road into the cloud should not be forgotten.

Karl Horne, chief technology officer Asia Pacific, Ciena
[email protected]