Carrier Ethernet Service Providers Happy about a Cloudy Forecast
The virtualized services model of cloud computing has significant implications on today’s network, and how it is evolving into the network of tomorrow. The network impact of cloud computing is in fact so significant that any discussion on cloud computing should also include cloud networking because, without the network, there could be no cloud.
Today’s enterprises realize significant CAPEX efficiency with cloud-based infrastructure and applications compared to the traditional enterprise-owned architecture. The typical enterprise server is only 5 to 15 percent utilized and a virtualized server infrastructure model results in significant cost savings. Enterprises realize significant OPEX efficiency from virtualized applications instead of buying/developing and maintaining dedicated applications. There is also significant value in leveraging the market economy of a virtualized IT infrastructure. This means that every enterprise, from the smallest SOHO to the Fortune 100 can have access to the fastest servers, the latest software release and the latest features.
To realize these advantages, enterprises have to take some steps that can be unsettling: servers are no longer dedicated to the enterprise; applications and databases are virtualized across many servers outside the traditional firewall; the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications that are the lifeblood of the enterprise are being entrusted to the cloud.
Enterprises cannot risk loss of connectivity or constrained access to their applications. Reliability and security are paramount. Access to the applications and services must seamlessly scale in terms of bandwidth and performance as the enterprise grows. Plus, since the cloud is not one monolithic provider, flow-level service differentiation and service assurance mechanisms are even more important than ever.
Just as Carrier Ethernet is the optimal networking solution for connection-oriented enterprise services and the optimal Layer-2 for IP services, it is also the optimal solution for cloud computing. Ethernet is the most cost-effective interface on the routers, switches and servers in the cloud computing datacenters and on the enterprise LAN. Carrier Ethernet empowers these devices to connect directly to the WAN using their native interfaces by adding the performance, security and management features required in the WAN environment. The net result is that Carrier Ethernet seamlessly scales from 1Mb to 10GigE with three to four times the CAPEX efficiency of legacy technologies.
Carrier Ethernet provides the service differentiation and service assurance required with flow-level, hierarchical Class-of-Service and Quality-of-Service mechanisms. Enterprises are entrusting their mission critical applications to providers outside their traditional firewall, and there are multiple providers in the end-end service. Carrier Ethernet provides tools for end-end connectivity and performance monitoring with IEEE802.3ah, IEEE802.1ag, and ITU Y.1731.
The connections within the cloud are already Carrier Ethernet 1GigE and 10GigE today, and growing to 40GigE or 100GigE in the future. Today, enterprises leverage 1GigE and 10GigE Carrier Ethernet for access to the cloud where fiber is available. In locations where fiber for native Ethernet services is not an option, intelligent Carrier Ethernet Access Platforms leverage existing infrastructure with Ethernet-over-SONET/SDH or Ethernet-over-PDH (DS1, E1, DS3, E3).
Indeed, without the network there could be no cloud, and Carrier Ethernet is the optimal networking solution. Every network service provider that is delivering Carrier Ethernet services is either directly or indirectly a part of cloud computing services, and the growth trend is accelerating. So, it seems for Carrier Ethernet service providers, a “cloudy” forecast is something to smile about.