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Network changes needed to enable the cloud

By Donna Donnawitz
April 16, 2012
Cloud computing puts lots of demand on the network. Traditionally, infrastructure is established to deliver resources from a central data center out to various end users in branch offices. This system works well with traditional IT infrastructure because the amount of data being sent through each network pipe is relatively small. But the cloud is dependent on sending large, data-rich packets of content to end users, creating a shift in how the network needs to operate. However, many organizations have yet to make the changes needed to support the cloud.

According to a recent Network World report, the traditional hub-and-spoke networking model simply does not work. The primary data center, as the hub, sends information out through each spoke to get content to end users. However, those spokes are generally the weakest part of the network and feature the least bandwidth. When essential applications, services and data are being transmitted through the smallest network pipes the vast majority of the time, the network quickly becomes ineffective.

Traditionally, the hub-and-spoke system works because only core internet services are coming through the various WAN spokes, while applications pretty much stay in the data center. But the cloud pushes the applications through the internet, which comes through the WAN. Because of this, companies need to consider alternative methods for WAN optimization that allow the network to handle cloud traffic more effectively, the news source explained.

WAN optimization is traditionally performed by putting two appliances together, one on each side of the WAN. They are connected so they can act in concert, controlling the traffic flow. However, the report said appliances cannot be placed in front of cloud applications going through the WAN, making a one-sided solution necessary.

With WAN optimization becoming more complex, businesses may also want to consider alternatives. One option involves using a metropolitan area network built using dark fiber lines to connect branch offices within a single geographic location. In this way, companies can link branches within a city via a high-performance optical network connection to improve performance. Fiber to Ethernet media conversion can then be used to not only ensure smooth transmission, but to provide quality of service capabilities to ensure traffic is prioritized for optimal performance through the MAN.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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