The most popular buzz word in computing circles today is “the cloud”, as in cloud computing. You’d have to living in a cave not to hear it, and even then you might get gist of it. The key to connecting to the cloud is your network. It’s really pretty simple: no network, no cloud. This document will discuss how to build a network out so it is ready to connect to the cloud.
Before discussing how to ready a network to make it ready for the cloud, it would be helpful to go over the cloud service and deployment models. The service models detail the kind of service the cloud is offering, and the deployment model describes how the cloud will be deployed.
These are the cloud service models with brief descriptions:
These service models can run on any of the following deployment models:
Now that some of the mystery of cloud computing and the types of services and deployments that are related to it have been discussed, let’s focus on what has to happen to a network to make it cloud ready. Plain and simple, the network needs to change.
Cloud computing is changing what is happening on the network. Therefore, adjustments need to be made to the network in the following areas to allow cloud computing to function correctly:
The basics of what needs to be done with and to data have not changed. Data still needs to travel between the computing and storage components of an application and then to the user of the application. Security still needs to be applied to make sure that access is granted to those who need it and that those who shouldn’t have it are kept out. Network quality of service (Qos) needs to be maintained as well.
How this is done is what needs to change in order for a network to be cloud ready. Network architecture needs to be flexible. Network services need to be location independent, meaning that they are delivered wherever data, applications, and users are and whenever the services are needed. Lastly, network resources need to be abstracted so that provisioning can be automated and actions orchestrated through common interfaces.
Major networking vendors like Cisco and Juniper are helping companies move to the cloud. Working with a vendor to provide the proper resources to make a network cloud ready is the best option for a company looking to make that move, especially if there is no prior cloud experience within the company’s ranks.
Ask questions before beginning the journey to the cloud. What should the network be doing for the cloud? Here are some questions to consider:
Keeping these questions in mind will go a long way in making the move to the cloud much easier.
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