Ethernet and Cloud: A Perfect Partnership?

With cloud computing on the minds of CIOs, we are seeing a recurring question come up in our discussions with our largest customers: Can cloud computing really address the needs of large enterprises?

In many cases, large companies are wary of cloud due to the lack of QoS and SLAs they’ve become accustomed to. In fact, it was for these very reasons businesses turned to Ethernet. With so much invested in Ethernet (from the customer and carrier sides) the question now becomes: Can Ethernet support the demands of cloud?

Cloud is a whole new world that requires unprecedented flexibility to address just-in-time resource pooling and application buffering. And, since to date, cloud has generally been the public variety (over the Internet), it introduces a number of challenges for IT: security, inconsistent internet availability and performance. It’s imperative that carriers find a way to address these challenges so businesses can reap the tremendous benefits of cloud computing. That’s where Ethernet comes in. With its inherent security and scalability, in many ways, it seems like the perfect partner for cloud when it comes to business use.

We discussed this topic with our industry peers at the recent MEF forum meeting. And we are not the only ones With discussing it. A lot of really smart people are working on this very topic. We don’t intend to solve it here, but we thought it would be fun to look at both sides of the argument and get your thoughts.

Yes! Ethernet is Made for Cloud:

  • Security: Being a top priority for any business the built-in security Ethernet offers that is not available over the public internet make it attractive. 
  • Performance: It introduces a predictable level of availability and establishes a platform for expected performance. IT will take comfort in the level of controls with Ethernet’s evolving network management capabilities.
  • Scalability: Ultimately, Ethernet is the best platform that can possibly scale to the bandwidth demands cloud introduces at a very low cost.

No Way! Ethernet Can’t Handle Cloud:

  • Environment Limitations: Ethernet by definition is a closed environment WAN which limits end-user network accessibility. With cloud’s “anywhere, anytime” access benefits, this is a challenge. Users expect to be able to log in and work wherever is convenient from the airport to Starbucks.
  • Flexibility: While Ethernet offers flexibility in terms of Internet speeds, it has challenges managing extremely variable bandwidth needs on the fly.
  • Complexity: WAN networks can get very complex with the network management and controls.

What do you think? Is Ethernet the perfect partner for cloud?

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