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Prepare for major network upgrades to support the cloud

By Donna Donnawitz
August 29, 2013

If you've spent any time setting up cloud solutions for a company, you may have noticed how easy it is to subscribe to new services and get users set up to run applications. What you may not have noticed is the overarching impact this ease-of-access can have on the company network. You're not going to be looking at a situation where the LAN is overwhelmed by the cloud. At least not in most cases. Instead, what you need to look at is how the WAN is performing, as it can provide a key indication of whether or not you need network upgrades to support the cloud.

The networking problem that comes with the cloud
The key issue with the cloud is that, all of a sudden, a company goes from having a fairly small amount of traffic being sent over the web to having major applications and services being delivered over the web. This means that the often severe bandwidth limitations included with WAN infrastructure can cripple your efforts to get going in the cloud because of how bandwidth limitations impact end users. If there is one thing end users really care about when dealing with technology, it is performance, and an under-equipped network can slow application performance to a crawl, creating major problems from a cloud use perspective.

This leaves you with just a few options for getting the network up to speed, and generally speaking, they all involve updating the WAN in some way. This, of course, is incredibly challenging. Infrastructure upgrades that increase WAN bandwidth and improve performance can have a powerful impact on operations, but they can also be extremely expensive and that bandwidth also gets used up fairly quickly.

Alternately, web acceleration or WAN optimization tools can improve WAN performance, but their impact is still limited by bandwidth issues on the network. The solution could be to turn to the MAN.

Considering MAN solutions to support the cloud
A MAN network is a collection of dark fiber, media converters and various network technologies that introduces the power of fiber-optic connections into a metropolitan-based setup that functions in the same way as a WAN. With the dark fiber already in place, the costs of establishing a MAN are generally much less expensive, making the telecom service a reasonable option for many companies. As a result, the MAN can serve as an ideal way to meet network demands created by the cloud.

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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