Licensing Will Drag SDN to a Grinding Halt

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Software licenses are inflexible and inhibit the dynamic nature of SDN and private cloud deployments.
  • Networking vendors should be developing new software licensing schemes to support the dynamism of a virtual data center.

One aspect of SDN and private clouds that does not get much discussion, but will be as much of a hurdle as any technical issue, is licensing.  The problem has many dimensions, but they all boil down to a single point: software licenses are inflexible.  A software license entitles you to use a product in a specific manner, but many of the licensing schemes in use are not flexible enough to really support the dynamism of an SDN or a private cloud.  I believe this, more than anything, will inhibit the growth of SDN, because a rigid license conflicts with dynamic demands. Read more of this post

The Importance of Programming an ADC

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Application delivery controllers are an integral part of your application stack.  They need to be treated as first-class citizens and incorporated into any hybrid cloud strategy.
  • Matching an ADC, supported cloud service and platform, and integration strategy is critical to enabling applications that can run anywhere with ease.

One of the motivating factors for virtual application delivery controllers (ADCs) is the ability to include the entire set of servers and services that make up an application into a logical group that can be moved easily from physical and virtual servers to a public cloud.  If you take the time to tune your ADC for a particular application running in your data center and you want to move it to a cloud service, your only options for an ADC are limiting yourself to the cloud services that can run your virtual ADC or using the cloud provider’s load balancing service, which may even be using products that are far more capable than the features exposed to customers, but the result is basic load balancing as a service and not much else.  Running a vendor’s virtual ADC in a cloud environment requires that the vendor supplies a VM built and tested on that cloud service and offered through the service’s application store. Read more of this post

Connecting to Your Cloud Provider – Internet, Direct Connect or Use the IP VPN?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • There are no real technical differences between cloud connectivity portfolios and traditional data connectivity
  • Public, private and hybrid cloud solutions are supported by different connectivity options from shared to dedicated infrastructure
  • Connectivity is largely provided on-net from operators, but other players such as collocation houses may offer a range of options through third party relations

When considering how to connect your business to cloud solutions, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, there are a wide variety of options. If the services can be supported by best-effort, then public Internet with IPSec can suffice with the benefit of a low-cost base. However, a private cloud will give more security and resilience and can be provisioned by your service provider via a break out from a corporate IP/MPLS VPN solution to the carrier’s MPLS network and over an NNI to the cloud provider. That’s assuming of course that a corporate IP VPN solution is already in place, because building one from scratch is not a low-cost route. Read more of this post

Monitoring and Managing Business Applications in Hybrid Clouds: Technical Elegance or Road-kill?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Monitoring the health of virtual infrastructure, for example on-demand computing resources and business-critical applications, running across hybrid clouds is a challenge
  • New generation cloud-aware and software management developers such as Intigua are emerging to help simplify unchartered waters of virtualizing servers, networks, and storage infrastructure

A lot of enterprises do not have even basic applications performance management and monitoring tools in place, especially where the applications in use work just fine on a best effort traffic basis, so applications that are non-latency dependant, and non-critical to business function or production. The contrast to this is where applications are seen as business-critical and in such cases the organization’s IT department is most likely to invest in an applications performance management (APM) solution from a range of choices. Service providers have made progress to meet the need for visibility on the WAN for business critical applications they are running on behalf of clients with the result all the major carriers offering data networks services proffer a backing range of APM solutions for customers. The same is nearly true for cloud-based service, but not quite! The industry is pretty good at monitoring and managing performance of physical network and infrastructure, including in the WAN. There are plenty of legacy premises-based choices, and software for management, but the cloud-aware and virtualized management layer for multiple IT resources sitting on distributed and shared cloud platforms is more of a work in progress. Read more of this post

What’s Next for UC and Virtualization Software in Private Clouds

Brian Riggs

B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:

  • How UC software deployed in private clouds will change
  • What will change: Support for multiple hypervisors, a variety of server hardware, and advanced management features

Continuing on the topic of unified communications and virtualization from my previous IT Connections blog, UC solutions’ support for server virtualization is facilitating their deployment in private cloud environments. This has taken the form of Cisco, Siemens Enterprise, Mitel, and others adding support for VMware vSphere on their various UC and contact center platforms, while Avaya supports Citrix XenServer. This luxury of vendors being able to pick and choose which server virtualization platform they support is likely to be short-lived. Their widespread support for VMware vSphere is understandable. VMware commands a large share of the market, so choosing to support VMware means that a large number of enterprises will be able to deploy UC software in data centers. However, VMware is not the only game in town and not all enterprises have standardized on it. As a result, developers of UC solutions will soon need to support other hypervisors as well. Microsoft is ahead in this particular game. When Lync was launched early this year, it included support not only for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, but also for VMware and Citrix hypervisors.
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