10 February 2011

Network reliability key to cloud success, says industry analyst

The cloud will be a huge trend, said Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst firm Quocirca, but only if the network become more reliable. He was introducing a debate on cloud issues in front of an audience of European journalists at NetEvents in Barcelona.

The problem for cloud providers is that they can only guarantee service levels for the areas of the network that they control, said Longbottom. However, they have no control over the network fabric when their traffic transits the Internet, he said. "There's lots of unknown unknowns," he said. He said that operators can recoup some control using WAN optimisation, protocol tunnelling, application tuning, deduplication and compression.

The consensus of the panel, which included representatives from easynet, Verizon Business, Infoblox, Genband and Spirent was broadly in agreement that organisations need to build their own networks if they need deterministic performance, while the Internet was good enough for most purposes.

"You need to put up with the Internet's vagaries so if you want a better network, build it privately," said Justin Fielder, CTO, easynet. "You just need to explain the issues to the customer."

David Howorth, regional vice-president at Verizon Business agreed, and Jeff Schmitz, vice president networks & applications at Spirent said: "You need to choose which business applications you want to run over the network."

There followed a discussion of where intelligence, such as security logic, needed to be located in the network fabric, with agreement reached that the edge was the best place.

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