As the adoption of cloud computing continues to rise at an exponential rate, it has become crucial that organisations stabilise the underlying network in order to support the growing volumes of data. Indeed, according to recent research conducted by IDC, data volumes are expected to grow 10-fold by 2020, with data in the cloud set to double. With organisations often unaware of the debilitating effect that large volumes of data can place on the underlying network, particularly when replicated or shared across a wide area network (WAN), it can create numerous obstacles. This can lead to business-critical applications being jeopardised and large sums of money being wasted on applications that will simply not be used to their full potential.
While many organisations focus on the analysis and storage of this data as the top IT challenges, what is equally challenging is the movement of the data. Transferring large volumes of data across the WAN poses significant challenges. First, network stability and geographical distances have a large part to play in the success of IT initiatives and data migration. The farther away the data centre is, the more latency it has to deal with and the longer it will take for the data to be transferred.
Secondly, insufficient bandwidth also means the data transfer will take an excessive amount of time. Bandwidth is often limited and costly, and in the use of MPLS and Internet VPN connections to the cloud can result in packets being lost in transit or being delivered out-of-order. The average large enterprise upgrades bandwidth approximately every two years to accommodate data growth and an ever-increasing desire to extend LAN-like performance out over the WAN. However, this is both time consuming and costly, and does not always address application delivery problems brought on by latency, packet loss and other common issues. Organisations need to therefore grasp the importance of tackling the underlying network infrastructure challenges that hamper key business applications instead of continuing under the illusion that adding additional bandwidth will solve everything.
The third hurdle in moving large volumes of data is velocity. With growing amounts of data coming into an organisation and skyrocketing analysis requirements, incoming data must be analysed as quickly as possible. If the transfer and analysis time takes too long, it is possible that the resulting analysis of the data will be stale and outdated by the time everything is finished.
Conquer the cloud
If you are using the public cloud to host applications and data, and you happen to be located in the same city as the cloud service provider’s data centre, you likely won’t have a problem accessing and moving data. However, this is an unlikely scenario as enterprise users are often distributed in different parts of the world and you will often not know where the cloud data centre is located.
As such, optimising the WAN has become essential for accessing, analysing and migrating large volumes of data to and from the cloud. WAN optimisation techniques that incorporate byte-level deduplication to eliminate redundant data, packet-order-correction to improve network quality, and accelerated IPsec encryption, organisations can improve cloud performance exponentially.
With cloud computing gaining momentum and the amount of data expected to rise, it is essential that network managers ensure they have the optimum conditions for the data to be on-boarded, accessed and secured as efficiently as possible. A real-time solution that has the scalability to handle such large volumes of data is ultimately crucial to the success of any cloud implementation. By reducing the amount of data sent across the WAN, prioritising key traffic, and eliminating packet loss and data retransmissions, cloud performance is improved, end-users are happy, and ongoing telco costs are reduced.
Organisations are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with data, and simply introducing more storage or adding additional bandwidth will not help. By taking a network-centric approach, organisations are able to achieve maximum scalability and the flexibility needed to cope with the growing volumes of data and emerging applications such as cloud computing, thus ensuring they are able to enjoy the full business benefits these have to offer.
By: Mike Hemes – Vice President EMEA, Silver Peak
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