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Cloud Building Challenges – Part 2

Cloud building challenges – Part 2

New cloud building challenges

Cloud infrastructure requires a fast, dedicated, scalable, efficient and resilient network. Each of these is equally important to support Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for customers. In this post on building a cloud I will explore new challenges:

  1. Speed: Cloud-based solutions can take advantage of very high speed interconnects that would be very expensive to provision direct to a company office.
  2. Dedicated: Direct links between the cloud and the customer guarantees performance, and improves security by removing the public Internet risk. Where applications and data are separated, a direct link limits the latency.
  3. Scalable: All applications have traffic peaks which can sometimes be managed through the Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms. Where QoS is not enough, additional bandwidth and links have to be provisioned.
  4. Efficient: QoS and traffic shaping help manage network traffic. This is important for mission-critical applications that need guaranteed bandwidth at busy times.
  5. Resilience: Multiple network circuits into both the data centre and the customer provide scalability and business continuity.

For a service provider, having access to multiple network providers at the data centre means being able to negotiate lower prices based on larger bandwidth requirements. It also ensures the availability of multiple circuits for disaster recovery.

Network Security

Last but not least, network security is a major challenge. Traditional solutions rely on firewalls for protection. As virtualization has matured, firewall and security have taken advantage of it. Recognizing the speed with which VM’s are created and deployed, vendors have created rule-based virtual firewalls that can be kept constantly updated and deployed on demand.

The key here is ‘constantly updated’. Normally when a VM is shut down, it is not possible to maintain the firewall or security components. Now, there are vendors that allow for a master firewall to update the elements of all firewalls, even those in shutdown VMs.

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