In 2011, ‘cloud computing’ was the buzz-worthy phrase of the year, with ‘Big Data’ following suit in 2012. As we approach the second half of 2013, it’s clear that software-defined networks (SDNs) have stolen the spotlight as the year’s most successful prominent advancement. However, ‘cloud computing’ and ‘Big Data’ shouldn’t be cast off as prior years’ media darlings just yet, especially as the three technologies often overlap and rely on each other to offer customers unprecedented performance and scalability.
In our own experience leveraging Plexxi’s affinity-driven optical ring networking solution, we’ve seen three distinct benefits that SDNs offer companies leveraging the cloud, particularly those with Big Data needs:
- Optimizing SSD storage performance: One of the main reasons a cloud provider implements SSD-based storage is to avoid bottlenecks and inconsistent performance. Yet, without the proper network capabilities and control, storage suffers even with advanced SSD based technology. With SDN, storage aligns with the network to not only optimize SSD storage traffic performance, but work intelligently with the network to provision on the fly for advanced quality of service and to avoid network bottlenecks in real-time.
- Accommodating Big Data customers with varying workloads: Finding a cloud provider that can instantaneously scale to accommodate varying workloads is not only a pain point for companies in the media and research science industries, but any company with unpredictable and immense content demands. Cloud providers that leverage SDN technologies can easily scale to meet Big Data and HPC demands on a whim because of the dynamism in their networking that might otherwise have failed due to networking bottlenecks.
- Enhancing product portfolios: Cloud is all about automation and self-provisioning. SDN can transform former ‘dumb boxes’ switching traffic to application and service aware components. This allows providers such as ourselves to offer increasingly sophisticated value added services like firewalls, load balancers and more on-demand and highly cost effectively without the need for special dedicated boxes.
Overall, the difference between a public cloud environment that leverages SDN technology, as opposed to one that doesn’t, is akin to one race car zooming along the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and another traveling down a rocky dirt road. By using such efficient SDN technology, premiere performance becomes as much of a strategic differentiator for cloud providers as pricing and flexibility.
On June 11, Robert will tap into his SDN expertise once more, speaking on the future of SDN and the intersection of the cloud, Big Data and SDNs, during Open Cloud Day in Zurich.
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