How to Make Your Data Center Network Ready for the Cloud

By Michael
December 14, 2009

Datacenter_cloud Unless you want to engage in ostrich management, you’re going to have to deal with cloud computing, most likely sooner than later. Why? Because for most companies, the benefits have become impossible to ignore.

Preparing your IT architecture for the cloud can not only reduce the cost of maintaining your information infrastructure, but it can accelerate the development of products, deliver services faster and make your organization more competitive.

Bringing cloud computing to existing data centers can be like wrestling a bear. That’s because the network architecture in those centers works against the cloud.

Typically it’s made up of three switching tiers, each with different operating systems, management platforms and security protocols.

Things are further complicated by the location of an assortment of network devices at each tier fighting for bandwidth and power, as well as redundant devices and connections to protect mission critical processes.

All that not only makes the network costly to run and difficult to manage, but as capacity increases, so does complexity. That lack of scalability is a punch in the gut for cloud computing.

When preparing a network for cloud computing, it’s important to simplify it. Collapsing the existing tier structure from three layers to two is a start but ideally one layer should be the ultimate target. That can be done by incorporating more logical, virtual partitioning of the data center’s network infrastructure.

Once the architecture is simplified, greater sharing of computing, storage and network resources must be enabled.  That can be accomplished by logically segmenting the network and using virtual partitioning to permit the kind of dynamic redistribution of resources needed by the cloud.

Finally, the architecture must be modified to accommodate new security requirements created by the cloud. The old perimeter defense model won’t do. A more granular approach using virtualized security services will be needed to apply policies and enforcement to a user’s identity and to applications or services being used.

1 Comments

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