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May 23, 2017
Your network and the journey to cloud
By: Larry Socher
Companies need to rethink their network architecture and operations costs to effectively scale and meet demands, increase agility, improve service levels and reduce operational costs.

Reenvisioning your network architecture

Most companies will face a challenging network environment in the coming years. Why? Because their pipes just aren’t big enough for the digital age.

Bandwidth requirements are now growing at a rate of 30 to 40 percent every year as companies migrate to digital. The reasons for this vary. For very large companies, it’s often because of intense, global, voice and video usage. For other types of companies, it’s often related to big data and analytics—moving large quantities of data around. A complicating factor is that many companies’ networks are simply getting old. They haven't been overhauled in years.

Whatever the reason, current networks just aren’t keeping pace. It’s costing companies too much to upgrade circuits. They've really got to rethink their network environment if they are to more effectively (and more cost-efficiently) meet the requirements of their digital transformation.

Virtually there

To respond to these challenges, leaders in the network space are starting to look at the whole: How can I leverage new technologies such as network virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN) to reengineer and architect my network so it can scale and keep pace with my journey to the cloud? How do I cost effectively increase bandwidth and decrease latency between my own facilities and the public cloud?

Connecting increasingly mobile users to the cloud

It’s also important to take a user’s perspective, and that means figuring out mobile. Your workers increasingly want to access applications and data, in both public and private clouds, using their mobile devices on WiFi and cellular networks.

To take advantage of the offerings from hyper scale cloud and SaaS providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Salesforce, you have to architect your network in a fundamentally different way. Users want to access information from any device, any time, over any network and wherever it’s located—on-premise, or in a private or public cloud.

Balancing the old and the new

As you move into the digital world and transform to a new network environment, effective planning is essential. As you increasingly adopt cloud and mobile technologies, make sure you have the connectivity not just to those new environments, but also between the environments and maintain service levels and minimize the disruptions during the transition.

For example, consider a situation where you have an ERP application that you’re going to continue to run in a private cloud in your own facilities. However, you also want to take advantage of the data lakes and analytics running in Azure or AWS. For that, you need enhanced, low-latency connectivity between your existing data center environments and the public cloud. The new architectures must be designed in such a way that they provide not only the high speed interconnections between public and private clouds, but also reliable, secure and high performing connectivity from mobile devices.

There are a lot of factors companies must master to complete a successful journey to cloud, but the network is arguably the most important.

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