Changes in information technology are accelerating rapidly, as any IT veteran can tell you. Networks of the recent past are no longer sufficient for the demands of today’s connected world. And just as electric services developed from self-operated, in-house power generation to a widespread utility over a century ago, network resources are quickly moving to a global cloud infrastructure.
While the transition may seem burdensome for some, the end results will be well worth the effort. Here we discuss some of the advantages of switching to cloud-driven networking and leaving legacy networks behind.
Only Pay for What you Need
It goes without saying that all organizations are concerned about the bottom line. Executives and managers are always looking for ways to save a dime. They should be very pleased then with what on-demand cloud networking services will do for their budgets.
First, when they move to the cloud, companies are spared the capital expenses involved in the purchase of a wide array of networking equipment. No need to add new switches, routers, firewalls -- it’s all handled by the cloud provider.
On top of that, organizations pay only for what they need, when they need it. That includes one-time use of network resources for a single project. And don’t forget the cost of constant monitoring, troubleshooting, and maintenance.
Easier to React to the Unexpected
As part of this on-demand network model, IT professionals can easily scale network elements to meet desired capacity. With a few mouse clicks, a network operator can quickly install a new device that’s fully functional with a preset configuration.
Cloud networks are both scalable and elastic. Horizontal scalability involves the addition or removal of elements within the network architecture. Vertical scalability is when additional resources are added to current devices. Elasticity is the ability of cloud environments to adjust capability to meet the fluctuating demands using existing network components.
With cloud networking, companies are not hamstrung because the hardware and software that they painstakingly manage are insufficient for changing business requirements.
No More Constant Monitoring or Updating
Given the many moves and changes involved in network management, it’s no wonder that the cloud offers significant improvement over the local data center. Repairs and updates that were once handled in-house or by third parties are now entrusted to the capable hands of experienced cloud network technicians.
No more the constant vigilance to identify outages, the incessant need for software updates and security patches, the overwhelming concern about having the right experts on hand when a crisis occurs. These tasks all become the responsibility of the cloud providers that also incorporate network-wide redundancy to ensure your cloud services continue without a hitch.
More Reliability and Freedom
For years the IT industry standard for network availability has been “five 9s”, or 99.999% uptime. Cloud-driven networking generally matches that, but it offers something that legacy, in-house networks may have struggled with.
Whereas traditional networks guaranteed the stability and performance of wide-area network (WAN) connections to the business or the data center, today’s cloud environments do much more. In the past, network providers were adamant that they were only responsible up to the “demarcation point”, the imaginary line of separation between the external network and the internal local area network (LAN).
With cloud networking, providers offer management of the whole infrastructure -- not just the connecting links. Depending on the Service Level Agreement (SLA), cloud companies guarantee reliability and availability for a whole array of network resources.
Increased Speed and Performance
One of the drawbacks of hardware-based networking has always been the problem of latency. Every piece of equipment or cabling between two endpoints can contribute to a slight but cumulative drop in speed and performance. Cloud networks overcome this problem with ingenuity -- by moving everything to software.
Network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are just two of the technologies that can make cloud network connections and services lightning fast. Without the friction and resistance of physical components, data moves through software in an instant. And the need for underlying equipment is greatly reduced when network devices of all stripes are housed within the same physical boxes.
What once were colossal network systems spread across a wide footprint are now reduced to virtual environments existing only in software, often in a single physical unit. It’s a new world.
Keeping your Network Safe
In-house networks come with significant challenges, not the least of which is security. Given the unremitting level of cyberattacks from unknown sources, moving to the cloud relieves businesses of the need for constant attention to their IT resources.
Contrary to what some think, cloud networking offers unparalleled security for customers. Of course, their reputation depends on their ability to keep data private and out of the hands of criminals.
There are some network services, particularly those operated by financial institutions, that may never be moved to the cloud due to compliance issues. Many organizations opt for a hybrid network architecture, combining the best of local and cloud environments.
Everyone can benefit from using the cloud in the 21st century. Cloud networking in particular has its advantages. But organizations that are stuck in the past with inadequate legacy networking solutions will only find themselves left in a cloud of dust.
We’re an Extreme Networks partner. If you are looking for assistance with your network, please reach out to us.
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