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Networking can help you deal with cloudy skies

By Max Burkhalter
November 22, 2012
You've probably heard enough meteorological metaphors and analogies around cloud computing to make you exasperated with the terminology at this point. After all, the only reason we call it cloud computing is because some people started drawing clouds on charts to represent the internet when discussing hosting models. What if they drew something completely different? Imagine if some intrepid tech worker decided to visually depict the web as as bubble gum machine holding content during hosting plans - we'd be talking about bubble gum computing all the time.

On that note, maybe these meteorological analogies aren't that bad, so perhaps you can deal with one more? If cloud computing is the cloudy skies bringing about a storm of IT change, the network is the pressurized air that allows those clouds to move between regions. Clouds wouldn't drift along without little puffs of wind, but the transformational nature of the technology makes those wisps into thunderclouds and the network performance needs turn gentle breezes into high-pressure weather patterns with powerful gusts.

Looking at the network as a cloud enabler
According to a recent Voice and Data report, cloud computing represents an evolution of IT functionality that is pushing the world into an always on, always connected operational climate. Consumers and businesses alike are accessing applications and data anytime and anywhere, as long as they have the internet. This puts such a burden on the data center that virtualization, networking and energy efficiency have all become common topics of discussion around the IT industry.

When considering cloud investments, companies have to think about how it will impact their network. Many experts agree that the greatest problem area when dealing with the cloud is the WAN. The problem is that most cloud applications are delivered through the web, meaning data-rich content has to be sent through the WAN to reach end users. This creates a major bottleneck, as the WAN is one of the least powerful parts of enterprise infrastructure.

One solution to this problem is using MAN infrastructure instead of a WAN. By using dark fiber already in place in many metropolitan areas, MAN solutions offer a cost-effective way to access robust network infrastructure for web-based content without having performance-related issues. However, using the MAN as a cloud enabler often hinges on using fiber to Ethernet media converters to ensure the fiber network is able to integrate with Ethernet systems used in the enterprise.

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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