As you migrate more and more of your data to cloud environments, you’ve probably noticed a couple of things:
1 Data gravity
It’s not your imagination: as you’ve embraced cloud computing, the data still outside your cloud(s) really does get pulled toward applications running in your cloud(s).
This has come to be called data gravity — though we should probably call it cloud gravity — and we’re finding that speed, efficiencies, application performance, and thus end-user experience all improve as this “gravity” attracts more and more data.
2 The network is changing
Enabling data gravity in the first place, meanwhile, is a network environment that’s more complex and diverse than ever — thanks to cloud and managed services and related, supporting technologies such as virtualization, mobility, video, VoIP, and more.
But wait — am I losing control?
You may also have noticed that the pull of data gravity and the convolutions of a changing network can cause problems related to network performance, application workloads, security and compliance, monitoring and management, and, as always, cost.
So, increasingly, staying in control has meant bringing in a technology services provider with the skills to assess and understand your existing environment and then create a customized hybrid mix of cloud and managed services that can extract order out of the chaos of clouds, in-house systems, managed services, colo sites, backup vaults, data recovery, and so on.
The importance of network services
This is where you need to take note: at the heart of your provider’s myriad cloud and managed services options lies its network services.
After all, without a network infrastructure capable of being optimized for your organization’s operations, the cloud and managed services that enable you to efficiently manage security, governance, provisioning, operations, and the rest will not be able to get the job done.
So your technology services provider’s own network services platform is critically important to their ability to meet your cloud and managed services needs.
That network should be based on a software-defined network (SDN) architecture, and it should be able to automate many manual tasks, to offer visibility through the integration of physical and virtual environments across networks, servers, storage, security, and services, and to dynamically implement workload-based security and policy across all elements.
Atop this foundational network capability, the right technology services provider can field an ever-changing combination of technical knowledge , strategic partnerships, and forward-leaning products and services necessary for a customizable range of service options.
What’s more, that provider will also be able to use their extensive network services expertise to bring cutting-edge capabilities to your network. In my next post, I’ll examine that.