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Optimizing Cloud

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Information is a critical differentiator for businesses today. Innovative tools for creating and using information and connecting people to it can help you set your businesses apart from your competitors. And it isn't coincidental that the rise of cloud computing parallels the modern explosive growth of information-more resources are available to more people through more ways than ever before. Resources are only a click or an API call away, eliminating procurement delays that impede progress of the business. The elasticity of cloud computing and its seemingly inexhaustible supply of storage continually call out to businesses and consumers to engage their creative processes and to share the results.

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Of course, certain challenges arise when all compute and storage resources are remote. These are similar to what organizations faced when they consolidated dispersed branch office resources into central data centers, like degraded application performance and overloaded WAN links. While the cost and security benefits of recentralization are clear, user satisfaction and productivity both suffered-sometimes in financially measurable ways.

Fortunately, what worked for wide-area networks also works for cloud computing. This should come as a welcome news to anyone who's been reluctant to move applications to the cloud. Much of the buzz surrounding cloud computing tries to convince you that you have to throw away everything you have done and rebuild from the ground up.

MOVING WORKLOADS TO THE CLOUD

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Early adopters of cloud started new projects and designs for their applications to take advantage of its strengths. Greater enterprise cloud adoption happened as organizations became more comfortable with moving existing line-of-business workloads such as CRM, BPM, ERP, email, file sharing, and backups.

In such cases, applications exhibited characteristics that could undermine the user experience when distance is involved:

  • They're highly interactive between the client and the server
  • They rely on chatty and inefficient application-level protocols
  • They move massive amounts of data between locations; this data is often redundant
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In these and other cases, WAN optimization technology in the cloud improves the user experience and increases productivity in exactly the same way it does for traditional branch office-to-data center deployments. What differentiates the cloud from other deployment methods are the aspects that make it truly compelling: Elasticity, rapid on-demand provisioning, and pay-as-you-go pricing. Your WAN optimizer of choice will need to follow the same model. Allocating storage and computing in the cloud is nearly a friction-free process, optimizing the cloud should be, too.

Further, few organizations will move everything to the cloud. As have other new technical innovations, the cloud will take its place as one of many delivery models in the list from which to choose. To derive the highest benefit from WAN optimization, the same technology should be used at every location: Data centers, branch offices, mobile clients, and in the cloud. Managing cloud based optimizers should use the same interfaces and follow the same paradigms.

IMPLEMENTING A CLOUD-FIRST STRATEGY

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The economic and technical benefits are clear: Applications can be written to take full advantage of the cloud's capabilities and resources can be added or removed to match demand. There's no denying the fact that bandwidth usage in these scenarios can be quite high, though. This is an ideal opportunity to combine branch office WAN optimization and cloud optimization tools together to drive further cost reduction:

  • Application acceleration can lower your monthly telecommunications charges by allowing you to use lower bandwidth connections
  • Network based data deduplication can lower your monthly cloud transfer charges by reducing the volume of data traversing into and out of the cloud
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Accelerating high-performance computing environment: Cloud providers offering ‘cluster compute' services bring high-performance computing within the reach of many organizations. These applications frequently operate on extremely large data sets that can take a while to transfer over even reasonably fast WAN links. WAN optimization techniques can compress and deduplicate this data often between 50 and 90%. By reducing the time required to transfer your data sets to your cloud computing cluster, you can start your project and obtain your results earlier.

Boosting one cloud with another: You can take advantage of international peering agreements among cloud service providers to accelerate traffic to other cloud providers that don't offer WAN optimization as an option in their own data centers. As an example, assume you're a business based in New Delhi and you wish to consume PaaS or SaaS style cloud services from a provider whose closest data center is in Singapore. Even under the best of network conditions, latency between these locations can be unbearably high. It's likely, though, that service providers, say Singapore data center is topologically very close to your ultimate destination, perhaps with latencies as low as five milliseconds. You can install WAN optimization appliances in your New Delhi office, deploy a cloud Steelhead instance in AWS Singapore, and route traffic to and from your ultimate destination via the cloud service provider. Users will experience performance almost like that of a LAN because the long-distance, high-latency links are carrying only optimized traffic.

CLOUD WORKS BEST WHEN IT'S INVISIBLE TO END-USERS

For many scenarios the cloud is an ideal deployment model but it can introduce network-related performance and productivity problems. Solving these problems requires WAN optimization services that are well-integrated with cloud providers and their business models.

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