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Small Business Cloud Computing & Beyond

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How to optimize cloud computing services like IaaS, SaaS & PaaS


cloud computing variations resized 600Cloud services look like a $100 billion-plus opportunity by mid decade. Think, Internet 1997. But is cloud computing worth this level of excitement? In 1997 companies were excited about Internet technologies potentials and worried about security, privacy, bandwidth, standards and more – sound familiar? As Yogi Berra said, "This is like deja vu all over again." In spite of these problems “internet technologies ” transformed communication and commerce? Why? The ability to deliver business value.

In 2012 and beyond, Cloud successes will be measured using that same yardstick, business value. The individual increments will be the ability to increase business agility, decrease cost with on-demand infrastructure and services, speed development, and improved reliability.  Each increment is a key to growing the productivity of the organization.

Cloud computing services must be utility-based, self-service, secure and most importantly, have levels of application performance that improve productivity.  User adoption is the linchpin of any application’s business value but without great performance user adoption any application, no matter how innovative or impactful, will fail to deliver its intended business value.

Wide Area Network (WAN) Optimization software and virtual appliances allow applications to perform as expected, and can be part of any on demand datacenter architecture, rather than part of a farm of tactical networking hardware appliances that currently predominate in most IT environments.  Leveraging cloud computing for business applications and maximizing the clouds business value requires full featured, secure, scalable, high performance software WAN optimization for every location and user in an organization.

Cloud success requires integrating network services that are very far away and often owned by strangers

Business information and resources are increasingly being accessed at global scale distances, from enterprise and cloud sources using Internet, Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Multiprotocol Language Switching (MPLS) connections. At the same time, expectations for application performance are rising

Enterprises embracing the cost and scalability benefits delivered by cloud computing and service provider’s consumption and utility-based models, must balance the need for security and user expectations for access and application performance. Users don't care if the resource is in a cloud or on the moon; they expect their applications to work quickly and flawlessly.

Enterprise heterogeneous and decentralized needs

Enterprises today are a heterogeneous mix of hardware and virtualization platforms, custom and off the shelf applications, storage technologies, networking equipment and service providers all strung together in a web around the globe.

Clouds, company datacenters, branch offices, home offices, coffee shops are all part of the new enterprise. Decentralization of information sources, virtual servers, and users takes this heterogeneous infrastructure and explodes it, creating management and access problems across the globe.

The effort to make this mix of services and technologies useful, affordable and valuable has service providers of all types rolling out a range of cloud service models (Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) , “anything” as a  Service (“X”aaS)) and an array of deployment models (private, public, and hybrid clouds), that promise provide flexibility, scalability, cost savings that will create competitive advantage. But, even these environments are a heterogeneous mix of virtualization technologies from 3 or 4 vendors.

This combination of a infrastructure, enterprise and cloud services demands that WAN Optimization solutions be built to support this heterogeneous flexible infrastructure; they must use and be managed with the same building blocks as the environments they support. WAN optimization cannot continue to be a halo product deployed to part of an organizations locations, or attempt to be a solution to cloud problems as a piece of hardware outside the stack of virtualized storage, servers and virtual networking.

Bottom line: the success of cloud computing is irreversibly linked to network virtual appliance WAN Optimization and Application Acceleration technologies, because distance, security and multi-tenant environments demands require it. Any WAN Optimization solution used in any cloud must be a virtual appliance that provides secure access, application performance and global scale for it to be a cornerstone of that cloud environment, whether it is Private, Public to a Hybrid of the two.

Shawn Cooney is the co-founder, director of research at Certeon, the leader in delivering virtual appliance solutions for optimizing applications in the cloud.

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