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The network is a foundation for building your cloud strategy

Recently, I had a discussion with a partner about their customer cloud strategy. During this discussion, I ended up outlining the importance of the network connectivity when it comes to moving a business to the cloud, something I am a passionate advocate about due to the importance of getting this right first.

This made me think that many organisations might not understand what are some of the crucial factors that should be considered before deciding to move specific applications or platform including hosted telephony, SIP, server and desktop computing, backup and other such services to the cloud. That prompted me to write this article, in which I will explain why the network is the foundation for moving to the cloud and what are some of the main benefits of integrating organisation’s connectivity.

Why is your network so important?

If you are considering moving specific services and applications, or in fact the whole business to the cloud, the first thing you should assess is your current connectivity. Unfortunately, it is often not considered until after cloud services have been implemented into the business. Technologies such as ADSL, which are designed for fast web browsing, are being asked to support many other time sensitive applications such as voice and video with an expectation that these applications will perform flawlessly without interruption. As an earlier article written by Miles has shown, our expectations of the service and responses to non-enterprise connections need to be adjusted. It’s the old adage – you get what you pay for.

The best technologies for a consistent cloud experience are those which guarantee the quality and performance or dedicated 1:1 connections.  With the right infrastructure backbone and dedicated inbound/outbound bandwidth (same ways connectivity), the network is capable of supporting whatever you’re planning on implementing reliably, consistently and without interruption. These technologies, such as fibre and Mid-Band Ethernet will ensure that information gets to where it needs to. The other advantage of these technologies is the network provision of Quality of Service (QoS). QoS enables your service provider to prioritise specific applications over others in order to ensure those services that are the most critical get the bandwidth first, in the case of link saturation. Why is this important? If all traffic was of equal importance they would tend to fight with each other for the bandwidth resulting in loss of call quality, video conferencing sessions or slow computing, which is something we want to avoid.

Another consideration is to bring your network and the cloud service provider together on the same backbone or fabric. If you can do this through interconnects at the data centre you can create an integrated “secure private cloud”.

Benefits of the network and cloud integration

Having appropriate connectivity as a foundation for your cloud computing will bring many benefits to your business. Some of the most important ones are:

●     True convergence – migrating multiple communications services into a single network such as data, voice, video storage on the same network link greatly decreases the complexity. The right access ensures everything will work without interruption.

●     Reduced overall cost – Through matching the network and cloud together there will be no traffic costs for sending data from your office into the secure cloud.

●     Security – the integration of network and compute enables you to have better data protection policies. Your company’s critical data can securely be accessed or transferred off-site by the network backbone, not over the public Internet.

●     Speed – data transfer and access to your applications will be much faster because you will again be using the network backbone connection, instead of the Internet. This will allow for lower latency or the time it takes to access applications.

Give your business a best chance to have a good cloud experience

If you are already planning to move into the cloud, talk with us and our partners about it before jumping in. The distinction between public and private cloud is important.  Where your data is held, how it is accessed and how many people are accessing it within the business are all important factors as well.

Consider the things I have mentioned in this article and do not forget that your network is the foundation. You need business grade services from a business service provider. Making the appropriate investment in your network will save you a lot of heartache down the track and ensure a smooth transition from onsite to the cloud.