To many, cloud computing and WAN utilization can be considered synonymous. More organizations are seeing the direct benefits of moving towards a cloud platform. Whether they’re trying to reduce their internal hardware footprint, or are trying to distribute their data; the data center infrastructure is very much a critical component of the entire process.
Business are trying to find ways to better deliver their information and continue to be more competitive in this “cloud-centric” market. WAN technologies continue to evolve as more bandwidth, better underlying infrastructure and optimization all create a more robust connection. As more organizations move to the cloud, they will increase their reliance on data center availability and technologies. This is where data center managers must look to the cloud to help them stay ahead of the curve and continue to offer great technology solutions.
The market will continue to grow and some leading data center providers are now actively looking at ways to enter the cloud and WAN markets. Even now, more data centers are finding new delivery models and services which not only help customer agility, but also drive additional revenue.
- Enhanced connectivity. Software-defined technologies have helped the data center become more distributed and robust. Multiple data centers across the country can span one logical network connection and deliver cloud services with very little latency. This type of advancements truly brings data centers closer together and creates numerous options for the customer. The ability to build a “business-in-a-box” becomes much easier since one single data center provider can effectively support the entire global organization. More bandwidth, better WAN optimization and more cloud platforms all translate into more opportunities for the data center provider community. With better links between sites, more data centers can open up their environments to a broader range of customers.
- New cloud services. Expansive data center resources mean new cloud services, whether data center providers are acting as hosting solutions for various cloud options or building entirely new cloud platforms for private, public or even community access. Right now, data center cloud architecture is on the rise. Just take a look at the recent cloud architect job trends. There are a lot of cloud options for data centers to dive into. Backup and recovery have been popular, as have been cloud offerings. Data centers are now trying to ramp up their WAN presence by increasing bandwidth and improving the underlying hardware. Cloud hosting, deployment and implementation services are definitely ways that data center environments can continue to help the industry grow – and generate additional revenue in the process.
- Better DR and recoverability. The increase in bandwidth and WAN control has given rise to cloud-based disaster recovery (DR). Data center providers can effectively, remove single points of failure by quickly replicating data over the WAN to hot or standby sites. Many organizations, especially in light of recent natural disasters, are looking heavily into business continuity. WAN optimization and faster links into the data center have created feasible and affordable disaster recovery methodologies for more organizations. DR and business continuity operations aren’t cheap. However, they have come down in price as the demand has gone up and the competition has increased. Now, organizations have the option of replicating vital VM or server information into the cloud. Then, in the event of an emergency – the data center provider can spin up VMs to allow an organization to connect into the data center. Using WAN optimization and calculate bandwidth utilization, users can continue to work even though their primary data center is down.
- Greater data center elasticity. With improvements in the WAN and cloud models, data centers have been able to focus on growth and expansion. Now providers are able to open more branch data centers to support more users. Internet and WAN speeds have increased as ISPs and providers try to keep up with demand. IT consumerization has created a “data-on-demand” end-user who requires connectivity and availability at almost all times. Not only can a data center utilize greater bandwidth resources, they can support more users and control the connections more granularly. All of this results in an expanding business model where data center providers can grow and provision new customer resources quickly. For example, a data center provider can offer burst WAN speeds during peak times – a travel agency for instance – so that the company can meet the demands of the visiting customer. Then once the peak times are over, the provider can dynamically de-provision those resources and return them to the pool. This creates a more robust and more elastic data center capable of supporting more users at any given time.
Cloud computing will continue to provide great benefits for those organizations which fit the cloud model. At the heart of it all sits the data center which provides connectivity and data delivery for many cloud components. Now, more than ever, data center administrators must look to WAN technologies to help not only optimize their offerings, but to increase the benefits of working with a WAN-based, cloud ready environment.