Only an Intelligent Network Will Hold Up the Cloud

A recent survey puts the cloud in a new perspective. The network technology major Cisco Systems surveyed 1,440 executives spanning multiple levels from various industry sectors.

According to the survey, “39 percent of the participants said they would rather get a root canal, dig a ditch, and do their own taxes than address network challenges associated with public or private cloud deployments.” More than one quarter said “they have more knowledge on how to play Angry Birds—or change a spare tire—than how to migrate their company’s network and applications to the cloud.”

Nearly one quarter of IT decision makers said that over the next six months, they are more likely to see a UFO, a unicorn or a ghost before they see their company’s cloud migration start and finish.

Since the cloud rides on the robustness of a company’s network, the success of cloud strategy is dependent on various assets that power that network. However, CIOs rarely talk about the significant relationship between a company’s network asset refresh and its sourcing approach.

Is there, in fact, a linkage between the two?

It’s true that enterprise networks support many types of data flow today – more BYOD usage, more deployment of virtualization technologies by data centers and more usage of collaboration technologies to share mega-sized files. Social media is just another phenomenon that adds to the network traffic.

We don’t worry about a network that supports increased mobility or technology paradigms as long as the network is not exposed to security breaches. However, newer devices introduce newer security vulnerabilities. Interestingly, even though many companies considering cloud adoption are allegedly concerned about security, they are often working with a network infrastructure that is largely supported by obsolete assets. These companies may be hoping to delay sinking some of their capital expenditure, but they need to consider the cost: obsolete infrastructure already exposes their network to security vulnerabilities.

As companies chalk out robust cloud strategies, we’ll likely see increased demand for a new generation of routers and switches in addition to the software that makes networks more intelligent.

Two recent acquisitions of software-defined networking (SDN) vendors, namely Oracle’s recent acquisition of Xsigo and VMware’s acquisition of Nicira, point to an increased focus on making companies’ networks more intelligent. SDN allows network administrators to create virtual networks that operate independently of underlying physical networks and increase their efficiency at the same time.

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About the author

Amit Tripathi is a knowledgeable ITO BPO industry analyst who brings considerable insight on sourcing and market dynamics to ISG clients on both sides - outsourcing firms on the buy-side and service providers on the sell-side. Amit led the firm's offshore Momentum Research practice for 1.5 years, during which he was responsible for the design, generation and delivery of Momentum Research products and services. Among the most accomplished analysts at ISG, he has undertaken and supported top IT service providers in their operational excellence pursuits involving account mining, growth and prioritization initiatives. Amit holds a Masters in Computer Management (MCM) and a Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology, both from Pune University, India.