How next generation cloud services will impact businesses

Keao Caindec, CMO, Cloud Business Unit at Dimension data, speaks to ITProPortal about the emerging next generation of cloud services and what this means for businesses wishing to migrate to the cloud.

What is the difference between a server-centric and network-centric cloud?

The network-centric cloud provides many benefits over the server centric cloud, simply because it allows for true network control. Without being able to configure networks at the "networking layer," early server-centric cloud users had to either BYOS (bring your own security) or engineer a more complex deployment to have the reliability and security required by the application. Instead, the network-centric cloud boasts network based security, strong SLAs and enterprise-class performance.

These benefits are ideal for customers who want to do more than simply testing, developing or hosting non-business critical applications in the cloud. We believe that this demand is growing with 40 per cent of our clients using production applications in the cloud. By partnering with network technology vendors such as Cisco, cloud providers can use the best technology to configure switches, firewalls and load balancers in the cloud. This is key to providing the performance improvements that the network-centric cloud offers.

So, does the network-centric cloud provide better value?

The Tolly Group report, published on 16 July 2013, has found that there is a true difference in application performance between cloud service providers. When the Tolly Group compared several different providers, our network-centric cloud approach demonstrated significant performance benefits across a range of system and networking parameters. The Tolly Group benchmarked four cloud service providers using publicly available solutions from each vendor by testing the throughput of applications running on cloud-based Linux web/app servers.

Will other cloud service providers change their cloud model to be network centric?

The Economist recently reported that banks, both large and small, are starting to embrace cloud offerings due to its associated cost and efficiency benefits. This adoption is encouraging because, as The Economist reports, large banks in particular, have been the most wary when it comes to the cloud. Application performance, security and the protection of data are the challenges that have traditionally prevented wide spread adoption in the industry; precisely the issues that the network-centric cloud addresses.

As important industries such as the financial sector turn to the cloud, the pressure for commodity cloud providers to offer a network-centric model will mount. They will realise that simply delivering a 'best effort' cloud offering is no longer good enough. Ultimately, they will need to either change their technology model to reflect those forging the way with network-centric services or risk losing market share to them.

How soon are businesses likely to adopt this network-centric approach to the cloud?

The pressure for businesses to reduce spending and seek efficiencies via the cloud is likely to change the pace of network-centric cloud adoption. In an effort to migrate more applications to the cloud, businesses will seek the right provider to host their business critical applications. This is when they will start to look for an alternative to commodity offerings.

The adopting of next generation services will be gradual as many businesses may have already adopted cloud services from commodity cloud providers. As they look for and settle on a new, network-centric provider, they will need to renegotiate new cloud contracts and face the migration of all of their applications from one provider to another. Nonetheless, we expect that in the next 10 years, most businesses will be working with a network-centric provider.