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Understanding Cloud Services and your Options

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It’s very clear that cloud is now impacting organizations of all sizes and across all verticals. Cisco recently reported that by 2019, more than 86 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers. Furthermore, global spending on IaaS reached more than US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, according to Gartner’s latest forecast. Finally, findings from a recent Gartner report go on to say that the use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend.

A critical point to remember here is that cloud computing isn’t just one overarching umbrella term. Rather, today’s cloud ecosystems is a collection of services, infrastructure and resources all being delivered for various use-cases. With that in mind – let’s look at some modern cloud services and how they impact your business.

  • Network-as-a-Service.As more users connect to the cloud, data centers will need to figure out a better way to deliver high quality, low latency, network services. Already, we’re seeing NaaS become a key category of cloud computing where specific delivery models are defining how users utilize these services. For example, Bandwidth-on-Demand (BoD) can be considered a NaaS service model where bandwidth can dynamically adapt to the live requirements of traffic. Furthermore this can be configured based on number of connections, nodes connected to the data center, and where traffic priority policies integrate. As more users connect to the data center for things like streaming, data sharing, and consuming compute cycles – delivering high quality network services will be an absolute necessity.

NaaS isn’t a new concept, but its deployment has been hindered by some of the same concerns that have affected other cloud computing services — especially questions about the provider’s ability to guarantee high availability (HA). Other concerns include dealing with service level agreements (SLAs), compliance issues related to data sovereignty and the possibility of vendor lock-in.

  • Network as a service (NaaS) is a cloud model for delivering network services virtually, either through subscription or ‘pay as you use’ service model. Through NaaS all that is required of the customer is a computer with an internet connection that is connected to the NaaS portal made available through a NaaS provider/cloud provider. NaaS simplifies network architecture through virtualization.
  • Cloud providers are able to control the network throughout, from provisioning to running and the decommission process and linking the software to the business support systems for necessary processes such as billing.

Various modes of cloud networking:

  1. Network-as-a-service (NaaS) :A managed networking service solution delivered on-demand and as a service. This form of networking may or may not be cloud based, dependant on your business requirements.
  1. Cloud-based networking : This is a virtualised network based in the cloud. Infrastructure and services all take place in the cloud including management of the network as well as policy and data forwarding or switching.
  1. Cloud-enabled networking : With this type of networking, the management of the network and policies is done in the cloud however data is not stored in the cloud and all actions are performed locally via an application or client.

Benefits and concern of cloud networking

Benefits of NaaS

  • Operation benefits from centralized policy-based flow control
  • Optimal flexibility in capacity control
  • On-demand network resource usage and/or procurement
  • Optimal network activity and/or bandwidth utilisation within minimal downtime
  • Ability to deliver new network capabilities and services without the requirement of configuring individual devices
  • Fast deployment and no time spent on installing and configuring networking equipment
  • Management and maintenance is simplified, the cloud provider maintains the network
  • Analytics, detailed reports and insight into how services are functioning is easily obtained
  • Improved network efficiency
  • Improved accessibility and mobility, the network can be connected to using any mobile device with internet capabilities from anywhere at any time
  • Option for disaster recovery
  • Increased scalability instantaneously, the ability to rapidly add capacity is hugely beneficial
  • Cost savings through reduced or even no capital investment and no future purchasing of hardware upgrades or software

Concerns holding back cloud networking

  • Availability guarantees, concerns of service outage or degradation

Companies need resiliency details such as redundancy and backup procedures in place for the maximum availability of data.

  • SLA’s
  • Security concerns.

Providers need to ensure customers that the customer has sole access to data and only they can make changes to it. Security certification obtained may help in alleviating this concern.

Compliance

Many companies face compliance regulations that they are required to abide by to function within the law. Cloud providers should be transparent with companies with regards to encryption methods used, reporting capabilities and data location.

Privacy

Maintaining privacy of company data is also a valid concern. The customers’ need assurance that the data is not monitored by the cloud provider or outsiders. Using authentication techniques and encryption methods can lessen the concern.

  • Lack of industry standards
  • Vendor lock-in
  • Decreased control of the infrastructure
  • Concern of losing data
  • Concerns of integration into an already mature environment

Looking at the benefits and concerns surrounding networking in the cloud a few broad benefits can be noticed, specifically in the areas of independence (segregated networks are possible), resilience (critical applications can be treated with caution), bursting (increased network capacity can be obtained at periods of peak usage, on-demand) and analytics (reporting on performance is simpler).

While these benefits hold great promise it’s essential to not overlook possible operational implications when moving from the present network infrastructure to a cloud based one. Moving to a cloud networking landscape infers a noteworthy transfer of ownership, like with many of the other cloud models now commonly being used. It’s important that this concern is managed with great care and that all possible agreements and training is in place to assure a good comfort level for all involved.

Initial thoughts and steps towards the transformation to a cloud networking environment

When contemplating the concerns of a cloud network, many of those concerns could be alleviated thorough investigation leading to the finding of a reputable cloud vendor that you have confidence in. A vendor with a proven track record and reputation in the market is always a good starting point.

Some areas to consider when researching and determining a suitable vendor:

  • Cost or billing options, it’s always good to get the cost or billing options upfront to avoid any unnecessary tension and conflict further down the line
  • Architecture and operating system support levels
  • Ability to orchestrate across varied consumption models
  • Data protection, compliance and security offered. The security you require is highly dependent on the type of data you are responsible for. Be sure to make this a priority.
  • Services or features included in the services offered
  • Vendor performance and availability SLA’s
  • Contracts that provide agility and flexibility that can adapt over time if required
  • Time to configure
  • Vendor track record and reputation
  • A vendor that is innovative and knowledgeable with a passion for the area of business
  • Vendor location

Although cloud networking per se may not be common place as yet, especially regarding wide-area-networks and networks that expand entire regions, there is no reason why you can’t take the necessary steps in preparation for the transformation. Some forward thinking may take the weight off for the probable outcome, as networks are likely to be next to join the cloud landscape.

 

Apart from this below are few more as a service :

  • Data-as-a-Service. With more users comes a lot more data. In this service model, data is delivered on demand in a manner which allows the actual information to be clean and very agile. The idea is to offer data to various systems, different types of applications, and different user groups. This data would be available regardless of whether the user is inside of the organization or out of it. Furthermore, policies can be wrapped around this data to further enhance QoS, integrity, and agility. Already, big cloud vendors are utilizing a variety of DaaS models to enhance the data delivery process. Providers like Microsoft Azuredeliver and store data via three different methods – queues, tables, and blobs. The future of DaaS is bright. Organizations will want to further control and optimize both structured and unstructured data sets. Applications include everything from optimized data delivery to big data analytics.

 

  • Backend-as-a-Service. This one is becoming very popular – very fast. The major influx of users coming in via mobile devices has created a boom in mobile application development. BaaS allows for both web and mobile application platforms to link to backend cloud storage services. This helps provide optimized features around push notifications to a variety of devices, complete user management, and the ability to integrate with other social networking platforms. In utilizing SDKs and various APIs, BaaS is able to directly integrate various cloud services with both web and mobile applications. Already, there is a broad focus where open platforms aim to support every major platform including iOS,Android, Windows, and Blackberry. Furthermore, the BaaS platform aims to further enhance the mobile computing experience by integrating with cloud-ready hosting vendors like Azure, Rackspace and EC2. Still curious? Take a look at what some BaaS providers have been doing. For example, DreamFactoryprovides a truly open-source software platform capable of integrating with any cloud or data center provider. Basically, it gives you the back-end and you create the front-end app.
  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service. A very popular cloud service is one that revolves around corporate and infrastructure resiliency. DR-as-a-Service comes in a number of flavors capable of supporting a lot of different types of use-cases. For example, if you have critical workloads that must stay up at all times – you can create a hot, mirrored, site capable of load-balancing users and workloads should an emergency occur. Similarly, if you have apps or resources which aren’t as critical, you can create a warm or cold site which can allow for fast failover, lower cost, and still meet business needs. The difference here is your tolerance to downtime. One major recommendation is to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). This helps you understand which systems must stay up, which can sustain a little bit of downtime, and which are not critical. This allows you to design a DR strategy that best fits your business and user’s needs.
  • Storage-as-a-Service. Maybe you’re trying to reduce your data center footprint or maybe you’re just trying to extend your data center ecosystem. Whatever the case, storage options are now great when it comes to cloud. Major vendors like AWS and Azure offer very specific storage services. Similarly, traditional data center providers and cloud hosting shops also offer various storage services. This is great to support applications living in the cloud, new users coming in to request services or resources, and it helps evolve business strategy. Storage can be tricky. When moving workloads into the cloud for storage purposes, make sure to understand requirements and performance metrics. User experience is critical when you begin to migrate workloads into a cloud storage ecosystem.
  • Software-as-a-Service (Desktops and Apps). One of the founding types of cloud services, SaaS has really come a long way. In fact, I’m bundling in desktop delivery as well as application delivery into this category. There has been an absolute resurgence behind cloud-based software and desktop delivery. Organizations are seeing direct benefits in working with cloud systems which can, for example, control and delivery entire VDI environments. Now, you have more resources, powerful optimization layers, and even user control methodologies all living in the cloud. This means that use-cases which you never thought were possible in the cloud – can now be delivered in an “as-a-Service” ecosystem. Mid-market and SMBs are seeing the direct benefit of delivering powerful desktops and applications directly via the cloud. This introduces greater levels of competitive capabilities and helps create better data center economics.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (and Everything-as-a-Service). Data center resources have become a lot more powerful and are capable of supporting more diverse workloads. Cloud services now allow you to utilize specific physical resources, within your cloud provider’s environment, to deliver a variety of applications and use-cases. Today, many organizations are evaluating their own data center and business strategies. Do you invest in more on premise infrastructure or do you utilize cloud? The reality is that many organizations are finding an even balance in using hybrid cloud services to create a very agile business. Data center and cloud providers are offering many different types of services to get you to host “everything” in their cloud ecosystem. Today, there are many options to the type of infrastructure you can deploy, where cloud can have an impact, and where you can align your business.

If you’re looking at cloud hosting options and are feeling overwhelmed; don’t be. Take a step back and realize that cloud is a powerful ecosystem capable of fitting in with your very specific needs. If you lack expertise, work with a partner to help you understand where cloud fits in with your business strategy or contact on my Mobile no +91 9870291860 .

It’s much easier to move into a cloud environment or utilize a cloud service than ever before. Organizations looking to stay agile and competitive in today’s market must absolutely look at ways cloud can be incorporated into the business.

 

Thanks and Regards

Vijay Jain

Cloud Solution Consultant and Microsoft Licensing Sales Specialist for West Region at Dimension Data (NTT Group)

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