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From flower power to the cloud

July 7, 2015

Kieron McCann   

Director of Product Marketing for network services

For most, harking back to the 1960s evokes images of flower power, tie dye, PVC clothes and the Troggs. These are all relics of a bygone era. In comparison, cloud computing and software as a service, both dreamt up in the 60s, have stood the test of time and have gone on to change the face of enterprise IT architecture forever.

The rise of phenomena such as the cloud, mobility, the internet of things and 4G connectivity have had a momentous impact in the past decade and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Enterprise workloads have been on the move, first across the data centre from dedicated hardware to virtualised compute and storage stacks, then out to third party private cloud providers.

While all of this has been going on, what has happened to the enterprise network? Well, in all honesty, not a lot. Yes, transmission speeds have increased, but little has happened in terms of WAN networking technologies and architectures. While software defined networking has revolutionised the data centre, we are some way off SDN delivering on its promise in the WAN in a genuinely interoperable service provider context.

When it comes to enterprise networking, the philosophy has always been to keep the Internet – broad in reach, but fundamentally insecure – separate from the self-contained and private ‘enterprise grade’ WAN. However, the Internet has become an indispensable business tool, and dependence on applications and services in the public cloud has increased dramatically. Increasingly, enterprises are facing complaints that existing WANs suffer from comparatively poor user application performance, as well as slow response times and prolonged faults. As a result, enterprise network managers have been forced to patch together solutions using both the Internet and private networking.

This patchwork of connectivity has built up over time, as managers have tried to cope with the highly dynamic application and user landscape of today, but traffic ends up being routed across the network through bottlenecks and gateways, on and off the internet in unpredictable ways. The result: highly variable user experiences depending on the time of day, application type and user location.

The clear solution is to embrace, not fight the cloud, by properly integrating the Internet into the network. I accept that this switch will not take place overnight, with billions of dollars already invested in traditional Ethernet and MPLS networks, but this is the essential next step in the transformation of the enterprise network.

There are many tools available for enabling enterprise cloud solutions, allowing enterprises to manage the right mixture of services across a hybrid IT environment, encompassing in-house, private and public cloud.  At Tata Communications, we recognise that a more open minded approach is required, blending public and private networking to deliver on customer outcomes, whether that is improved performance, greater responsiveness or reduced costs.  It is one of the reasons why we have introduced IZO, the world’s first enterprise grade internet WAN service, which guarantees performance across the Internet.

At the end of the day, the face of enterprise IT architecture is changing, with new developments round every corner. To keep up with the fast-paced mobility of the modern world, enterprise networks need to embrace the Internet if they are to avoid becoming the flower power of enterprise IT.

Find out more about our IZO platform in the video below