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Bandwidth can help prevent cloud stall

By Max Burkhalter
April 12, 2012
It is becoming more and more common for businesses moving to the cloud to experience a major stall part way through the project. The cloud is a complex and demanding technology. As a result, it is easy for organizations to set forth ambitious goals and get part way through their completion before realizing that more work needed to be done before the project was started. In a recent Network World report, Bill Hurley, CIO, CTO and executive vice president of Westcon Group, explained that transition to virtualization, and eventually the cloud, is an incredibly challenging task that requires careful planning and supporting infrastructure upgrades to enable the technological advance.

To illustrate the potential of virtualization and cloud computing, Hurley told the news source about Westcon's efforts to implement the technologies. The process began when the organization was working to consolidate its data centers into a single primary facility supported by one backup center. The company was going to refresh one-third of its hardware for approximately $1 million. Then Hurley and other leaders noticed that IT was working on virtualization on the side to see if it could use the technology to make servers more reliable. This side project was so successful that the business sanctioned a full-scale move to virtualize its new data center.

In the end, the company was able to spend its $1 million on a complete hardware refresh, leading to a much more reliable and efficient new data center built on the foundation of virtual infrastructure.

Cloud projects often stall, Hurley explained, when too much money is used to deliver benefits that are below the standards set forth by the organization. In many cases, this happens because the company did not evaluate the full implications of the transition, especially the need for better networking systems to support the new technology, Network World reported.

Hurley explained that having success in the cloud is dependent on considering the network upgrades that are necessary to add bandwidth and enable virtual and cloud infrastructure. He told the news source that these investments are key to enabling the cloud and should be part of the initial return on investment discussion.

Cloud computing and virtualization demand more bandwidth. The technology's are built on a system of putting more data on less hardware. As a result, there are fewer network pipes with more information going through them. Adding bandwidth to make those pipes wider is key to allowing the two solutions to work effectively.

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