In a recent newsletter we introduced the concept of Application Delivery 2.0, a major component of which is cloud computing. As noted in one of Jim's recent reports on cloud computing, the goal of cloud computing is a significant improvement in the cost effective, elastic provisioning of IT services. We will use this newsletter to discuss the impact that achieving that goal will have on the WAN.
When the phrase cloud computing is used, many people think about using a WAN to access IT resources from a third party, such as Amazon, Google or Salesforce.com. In this newsletter we will refer to that approach to cloud computing as public cloud computing and the third parties that provide these services as cloud computing service providers. We will also refer to movement on the part of IT organizations to implement inside of their company the same techniques that cloud computing service providers implement, as being private cloud computing.
Two of the primary characteristics of private cloud computing are the consolidation of servers into centralized data centers and the virtualization of those servers. In recent newsletters we have discussed the current and expected deployment of virtualized servers. In particular, our research indicates that the vast majority of IT organizations have already consolidated at least some servers out of branch offices. That research also indicates that only around 40% of IT organizations have consolidated the majority of servers into centralized data centers and that percentage will increase slightly over the next year.
Because of the consolidation and virtualization of servers, the deployment of private cloud computing results in additional application traffic transiting the WAN. In an analogous fashion, a key component of public cloud computing is that IT organizations will access IT resources such as applications and storage from one or more third parties. Hence, as IT organizations increase their adoption of both private and public cloud computing solutions, this means that the wide area network will be involved in an increasing percentage of instances when users access applications and storage. This increased use of the WAN creates additional security vulnerabilities that adds to the value of having a WAN optimization controller that tightly integrates with security functionality. Accessing storage resources over the WAN will increase the need for IT organizations to implement functionality that optimizes the transfer of large blocks of storage.
In our next newsletter we will discuss the challenges of supporting cloud computing over a WAN and how IT organizations intend to respond to those challenges. More insight into the changes we expect to see in 2010 can be found in Jim's recent report on cloud computing.