If you had never seen a ‘real’ computer and were to research the latest directions in computing it would not be surprising if you thought they were comprised of condensed water vapor and floated in the sky. Cloud computing and all the associated data center and networking infrastructure is very real and solidly grounded in a market that is growing rapidly in every conceivable direction. Figures from IDC and Forrester underline how changes are sweeping through the IT value chain. Looking at the overall global market for cloud computing, Forrester forecasts growth from a base of nearly $41 billion in 2011 to more than $241 billion in 2020. Looking at things from the perspective of how spending is changing IDC predicts that by 2015, approx. 24% of all new business software purchases will be of service-enabled software with SaaS delivery being 13.1% of worldwide software spending. Mobile access for cloud applications and services, although somewhat of a security headache for corporate IT, is growing similarly. According to the Strategy Analytics Wireless Enterprise Strategies forecast, “Corporate Mobile SaaS Forecast, 2010-2016,” the Global Corporate Mobile SaaS Market will grow to $3.7 billion by 2016, with a five-year compound growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8 percent.
With the promise of lower (or at least better managed) costs, near infinite capacity and application elasticity/scalability, and unprecedented levels of flexibility, Cloud Computing would seem to be the utopian IT solution, but can it do everything? As a model, and Cloud Computing is really a new and more powerful variant of the original time sharing computing model, it probably can do nearly everything. However, real life implementations, depend on the underlying architectures and capabilities of the application, compute and network infrastructure and as such the typical cloud data center has certain attributes that are keeping more than a few IT directors up at night. The ease of scalability without the need for further CAPEX investment is extremely attractive but such elasticity comes with another cost. With all one’s applications now hosted in the cloud, direct control is limited and with the data center potentially across the country or worse across the globe the Internet becomes the weak link and the cost can be seen in terms of performance and security. An Alcatel- Lucent study (Global Cloud IT Decision Maker Study) from last fall validated these concerns as over 3,500 enterprise decision makers cited performance issues as the key inhibitor to them increasing their usage of public cloud. Data security was a close second place followed by ‘ease of use’ and ‘cost’ that in theory is one of the clouds golden bullets.
The business and technology models that kicked off the whole cloud boom have been largely reliant on the use of the standard public Internet infrastructure as the connection medium between the ‘user’ and the datacenter. Performance (i.e. latency) is therefore in no way deterministic and one’s critical business data is traversing hundreds of network nodes in locations one can only guess. Recognizing these challenges and the associated business opportunity, the Telecom segment, has decades of experience building out complex high performance networks, is helping cloud
computing evolve with the advent of the carrier cloud.
Carrier Cloud - All the Benefits Plus So Much More
The carrier cloud has all the same fundamental benefits of the public cloud in the sense that it is built around a virtualized data center, but it has a number of key differentiators.
1. The carriers complete network becomes part of the offering and allows for complete end to end services. The bringing together of the network and datacenter infrastructures under a single umbrella removes the dependency on the Internet and all the associated issues. The carrier can provide as much local bandwidth as is required for the application environment and also controls everything all the way to the backhaul connections to the data center itself.
2. Computer resources can be made available outside the data center if required, significantly improving performance. Due to the last mile topology of carrier networks there are ready built, secure, carrier grade, local and central offices in every city. Mini data centers can be constructed in local
geographies to offset the latencies associated with cross country or inter-continental backhaul.
3. All the infrastructure from network to data center is built using the same carrier grade approach to reliability and availability. The carriers have decades of experience building not just highly reliable but highly available infrastructure. Having built networks where individual elements must meet stringent 5 NINES (99.999% availability = ~ 5 minutes downtime per year) requirements many carriers now have 6 NINES capabilities that equate to
approx 30 seconds of downtime across a whole year, and that includes maintenance and software upgrade ... more
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