Network Evolution

Building the infrastructure for the changing face of IT

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Cloud network strategy: One size doesn't fit all

Your cloud network strategy will depend heavily on the type of cloud architecture you're using and for what purpose.

For a long time, I just figured I wasn't a "beer person."

Beer never really tasted good to me. It was always too bitter, too carbonated and too zingy. My taste buds would read it as a combination of grass, grapefruit and the adhesive backing of postage stamps. But as the craft beer revival began to sweep across the United States several years ago, I decided it was time to give this beer thing another shot.

I tried a lot of beers. I hated a lot of beers. IPAs were the worst, but I was no great fan of most lagers either. I didn't speak the language of beer drinkers, so I went by other people's recommendations. I had no clue how to articulate what it was that I specifically liked or disliked. I was ready to just accept that beer is beer, and I didn't like any of it.

Then I had my first pint of Guinness, and the world suddenly made sense.

So what does beer have to do with networking? In this case, admittedly, the connection is oblique and maybe a little tenuous. Our cover story on cloud networking ("Cloud networks need careful planning, not just bandwidth") in this issue of Network Evolution got me thinking about one of the biggest contradictions in cloud computing. For most clouds to be cost effective and operationally efficient, they often must deliver a one-size-fits-all service. Enterprise IT requirements, however, are anything but that.

That is to say, we can't direct you to one common network architecture that makes sense for every cloud deployment because it doesn't exist. That's due to the fact that clouds, like beer, come in so many styles and flavors -- see what I did there? -- from public to private to hybrid.

The term cloud computing can mean anything from infrastructure as a service to software as a service, and it includes dozens of other as-a-service models in between. And as contributor Sean M. Kerner explores in this issue's cover story, the network strategy you develop to support the cloud must be equally multifaceted.

Also in this issue, we take a look at the recent flurry of software-defined networking vendors (SDN) offering so-called starter kits ("SDN starter kits remove some do-it-yourself aspects of an SDN deployment"), which aim to make small SDN deployments or lab environments more accessible to enterprises. And don't miss contributor Dina Gerdeman's story profiling three enterprise-grade Internet of Things (IoT) deployments and the wireless LANs that bring them to life ("Go behind the scenes with three IoT networks").

Finally, be sure to check out this issue's edition of "The Subnet," in which one networking pro describes her personal and professional journey from pint-sized computer geek to Google data center engineer to network automation guru ("Network automation tools bring 'set it and forget it' to life").

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This was last published in March 2015

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