Story image

Brocade: Building the right network foundation

13 Jun 2014

Brocade's Greig Guy offers some tips for businesses wanting to utilise the cloud for some, but not all, of their data in the hybrid cloud space.

According to global research firm Gartner, if your enterprise hasn’t committed to a hybrid cloud now, you will more than likely seriously consider this in the future.

The hybrid cloud space currently lags the overall cloud market by three years, however by 2017, Gartner predicts that ‘half of mainstream enterprises will have a hybrid cloud, which it defines as a policy-based service provisioning platform that spans internal and external cloud resources’.

So what is the best way to combine on-premises resources and off-site (remote) server-based cloud infrastructure?

The solutions to the biggest challenges hampering the data centre, and the ability to move to a cloud computing model, will require both hardware and software solutions, not hardware alone—as well as a mental shift by IT departments themselves.

The network and network services are irrefutably critical in managing a highly elastic hybrid cloud environment, enabling a seamless solution for automated self provisioning of both virtual machines and storage.

Innovating the network with fabrics, SDN and NFV

To make the network as flexible and elastic as the cloud environment, IT departments will need to redefine the way data is distributed, and transformational architecture models like fabric-based networks, software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualisation (NFV) are leading the charge.

Fabrics increase network utilisation by 200% and reduce OpEx by more than 50%, while delivering zero-touch provisioning that radically simplifies network deployment and improves efficiency.

This provides the agile physical foundation that businesses need to drive change.

Together, NFV and SDN are creating highly automated and more efficiently architected networks that deliver next-generation apps and services with ease and speed.

Often misunderstood, SDN and NFV are complementary, but not the same. For instance, SDN leverages the flexibility of new communication protocols like OpenFlow to give network administrators unprecedented control over the path of network packets.

If network traffic begins to bottleneck, administrators can redirect the flow to a different switch, and it’s done entirely in software.

Routing rules can be set ad hoc, or they can be entirely automated through a centralised interface. Openstack is another orchestration tool that allows the control of compute, networking and storage for the deployment of whole workloads.

NFV, meanwhile, allows administrators to virtualise core network functions and leverage the speeds of new generation x86 processors and deploy these in the cloud.

Future-proofing network architecture

So how can businesses build a platform for innovation in the data centre and beyond? One key lesson is that it is very difficult to predict the needs of future products and services. That’s why networks should be constructed with an eye toward open standards and interoperability of hardware that provides a blueprint for innovation.

The most meaningful benefit of a fabric and software-based network architecture is in the long term – the freedom to innovate and the ability to cost-effectively deliver new applications and services in minutes to the cloud instead of days or weeks.

Protecting data centres from fire – your options
Chubb's Pierre Thorne discusses the countless potential implications of a data centre outage, and how to avoid them.
Opinion: How SD-WAN changes the game for 5G networks
5G/SD-WAN mobile edge computing and network slicing will enable and drive innovative NFV services, according to Kelly Ahuja, CEO, Versa Networks
TYAN unveils new inference-optimised GPU platforms with NVIDIA T4 accelerators
“TYAN servers with NVIDIA T4 GPUs are designed to excel at all accelerated workloads, including machine learning, deep learning, and virtual desktops.”
AMD delivers data center grunt for Google's new game streaming platform
'By combining our gaming DNA and data center technology leadership with a long-standing commitment to open platforms, AMD provides unique technologies and expertise to enable world-class cloud gaming experiences."
Inspur announces AI edge computing server with NVIDIA GPUs
“The dynamic nature and rapid expansion of AI workloads require an adaptive and optimised set of hardware, software and services for developers to utilise as they build their own solutions."
Norwegian aluminium manufacturer hit hard by LockerGoga ransomware attack
“IT systems in most business areas are impacted and Hydro is switching to manual operations as far as possible.”
HPE launches 'right mix' hybrid cloud assessment tool
HPE has launched an ‘industry-first assessment software’ to help businesses work out the right mix of hybrid cloud for their needs.
ADLINK and Charles announce multi-access pole-mounted edge AI solution
The new solution is a compact low profile pole or wall mountable unit based on an integration of ADLINK’s latest AI Edge Server MECS-7210 and Charles’ SC102 Micro Edge Enclosure.