Global Column | Why the Cloud Won’t Swallow Your Data Center

Gradual changes in the IT paradigm are often difficult to notice. It’s literally gradual. Sometimes it helps to think through assumptions. In that sense, let’s assume, as some radical thinkers say, ‘the cloud has devoured the network’. It is an eye-catching phrase. But is that possible? If possible, how would it be done?
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Looking at WAN services, enterprises have already adopted virtualized networking based on VPN or SD-WAN instead of building their own WAN with pipes and routers. That was a big step, but what must happen to further virtualization of the WAN to reach the level of inclusion in the cloud? Perhaps a change in the data center is necessary.

Data centers account for the largest share of enterprise network spending. In fact, over the past 30 years, I’ve been hearing from business stakeholders that data center networking drives overall network requirements. The starting point for the idea that the cloud will absorb the network is the premise that the cloud will absorb the data center.

In this cloud-centric future vision, all sites use the Internet to connect to and from the cloud. Homes, small businesses, and small WAN sites are already doing that. You can reach the cloud from the internet, so you don’t need other services like MPLS VPN.

Each site uses SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) to access the Internet. A small SASE can be used in a small environment, and a large SASE can be used in an environment where a large number of people gather and use their own applications located in the cloud. The goal of SASE is to create a kind of ‘corporate network’, just like today’s SD-WAN, and hide all the complexities of networking as we know it.

Many CFOs and executives will welcome the idea of ​​getting rid of the data center, but I’ve never seen a company with a full-fledged strategy for moving everything to the cloud. In fact, more companies are focused on finding ways to modernize their legacy core applications that reside in their data centers rather than trying to cloud everything. Enterprise IT executives say that data centers will likely continue to exist, perhaps forever, due to security and compliance concerns, reliability/availability, and cost control.

From the standpoint of the belief that the cloud will swallow up all IT application hosting, the cloud doesn’t kill everything but SASE. The office is like a home network. If you have a small number of employees, say up to 100 people, you can use an internet gateway to establish local connections with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, in some cases with Repeaters and a few simple LAN switches. As the number of employees increases, these simple LAN switches proliferate, and a waterfall of traffic daisy-chaining these switches to create a connection starts to load the switch closest to the Internet gateway. To construct a true local network, a hierarchical structure of switches, backbones, and edges is required.

Daisy chains are very easy to diagnose, but the backbone is more complex. Because some switch management is required, simple switches can no longer be used. You also need a management system to manage the switch, and you need something to run it. It is difficult for the cloud to play that role. Because if the site backbone collapses, there is no internet, no access to the cloud or any of the company’s applications. Because the cloud holds all of the local storage, even local information sharing may be lost. If you’re using VoIP, you won’t even be able to make phone calls between onsite extensions.

This is likely to be unacceptable to corporate executives, so suppose your company decides to have a few servers to host local storage, share print access, and perform other mundane tasks in case the internet or cloud goes down. . It also adds an IP PBX for on-site calling. If your site is large, you’ll have dozens of servers spread out everywhere, kicking, spilling drinks, and pulling cords as people pass by, imaginable. So the company gets a room and pushes all the servers into it. When the servers are concentrated like this, all the power breakers are broken and the temperature control is not working properly. So, special facilities are built to solve the power and cooling problems. Servers and server networks are now located within controlled facilities. In this way, I ended up re-creating the data center and returning to the original location.

so far it’s good But what if the cloud swallows WAN devices? Since you can do the switching and routing on the server, why not use the cloud to do all in-datacenter and wide area switching and routing, even if the cloud doesn’t absorb all the networking? It won’t be that fast.

Servers are not designed to transfer terabits of data. Telecom operators and cable operators that move large amounts of data are well aware of this fact. So, despite considerable interest in turning proprietary switches and routers into something more open, their focus is on white-box devices built around custom networking chips, rather than regular servers (commonly referred to as COTS). The datacenter we rebuilt a while ago, and the staff will in most cases connect to private network equipment or white boxes rather than servers.

However, before ending the story of the cloud swallowing networks as an urban myth, another fact should be considered. The fact is that we are not moving our data center apps to the cloud, but we are moving our front-end traffic processing to the cloud. In fact, application modernization these days often involves building a GUI that resides in the cloud rather than replacing legacy applications. These cloud frontends collect user, customer and partner traffic from the internet and send a few pipes to the data center to deliver the resulting transactions. Traffic aggregation and information structuring are all linked within the cloud.

All cloud providers have private networks that connect their data centers to their customers. These networks continue to grow. The Google network must also carry all web crawling, search activity, video, music, and advertisements. Amazon’s network carries a lot of video and music traffic. Front-end traffic is concentrated within this cloud network, down to the pipes that carry it to the data center.

A WAN for such an enterprise currently consists of 10,000 Internet connections and a few pipes between the data center and the cloud. The cloud won’t swallow the network, and the LAN will continue to exist. Instead, ‘network’, all wide area networks are becoming ‘Internet’. Every business site running a data service has Internet access, and the ultimate winner is universality. SD-WAN, SASE, and the cloud are just new technologies that are accelerating the transition to the Internet.

The story of the cloud swallowing up data centers is not a myth, it’s an oversimplification. We are now redefining services to include application services (cloud) and network services (internet), and building information technology based on this new model. This will have a huge impact on all buyers, cloud providers, network operators, and vendors, and the changes it brings will keep us busy for years to come. This should be enough to excite everyone. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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