The importance of looking beyond bandwidth in the delivery of cloud connectivity
Cloud computing is fast moving to the top of the IT agenda, with companies across the board looking to migrate applications away from simple in-house datacentres to a mix of platforms including both private and public cloud services. When it comes to planning those migrations, however, the emphasis tends to be on the cloud technology with scant attention paid to the connectivity side of the equation.
The cloud can be delivered in many formats, but in the majority of cases applications will be remote from the customers, partners and users who need to access them. That makes wide area network (WAN) connectivity a critical part of the solution and companies need to consider the consequences of poor performance or even connectivity failure on their business, customers and users.
Unfortunately connectivity services are not all the same making it important to look at more than mere headline bandwidth figures. Indeed simply buying bandwidth while relying on basic ISP broadband services may be a false economy. Instead companies should seek out business-grade services such as leased lines, IP VPN, Ethernet, fibre optic broadband and other next generation network services to connect offices and mobile workers with the applications and data they need to do their work.
Equally it is important to work with service providers who understand the needs of business and the demands they place on their connectivity services. Companies should choose partners prepared to do more than simply deliver vanilla services and hide behind a basic service level agreement. Rather that they should choose providers able to tailor services designed specifically to meet business needs with proactive management and direct access to expert, friendly and local support when required.
For many, too, the ability to host cloud-based services AND deliver connectivity will be important, as will the location of both the datacentres involved and the staff servicing them.