Cloud has won the hearts and minds of enterprise IT shops across industries, and they’re looking for next-generation telecommunications services to support these cloud computing environments. As such, telecommunications providers need to embrace the distributed nature of cloud-based service offerings, to launch network services targeted for cloud applications, improve operational agility and responsiveness, and reduce complexity and costs.
Telcos are already making moves. According to a 2013 KPMG survey, 76 percent of financial executives from telecommunications firms consider the cost-reduction opportunities of the cloud to be strategically important to their business. But more needs to be done.
Legacy data center networks built on static, manually-driven models are not designed to keep up with the on-demand, dynamic nature of cloud computing. In fact, these legacy networks even may restrict cloud operations and prevent telcos from taking full advantage of their infrastructures. For companies like telcos that deliver revenue-based services, it is especially critical to bring resources together simultaneously to support the cloud workloads.
As workloads and storage became virtualized, provisioning them became easier and they became more agile and mobile. The network, however, is the last frontier to be virtualized. OpenStack—fast becoming a de-facto standard for building open clouds—enables compute and storage resources to be built in minutes. But this advantage can be hampered by network resources that are delivered after the fact. In turn, this can limit enterprises from realizing the full benefits of a cloud infrastructure, in terms of agility and flexibility.
Open, hybrid cloud with software defined networking (SDN) can provide telecommunications providers’ data center networks with access to the benefits of the cloud. Hybrid clouds support both intra-data center and inter-data center communications, putting service providers a position to provide mission critical network connections. Open hybrid clouds allow greater flexibility and scalability than legacy environments by offering greater choice in product selection and easing vendor lock-in. And open, hybrid cloud solutions with SDN enable virtualization and automation so telcos can deliver cloud services faster while simplifying network management and reducing operating expenses. Network virtualization gives telcos the ability to move workloads, independently of the location or underlying orchestration, while preserving the same networking profile and service level agreement.
The Red Hat and Nuage Networks SDN-based cloud solution uses an application-driven approach to automatically and dynamically deploy network services across the infrastructure, in accordance with pre-defined policies. For example, certain workloads are well-suited to be hosted in a cost-effective public cloud model; however, we do want to preserve the same security policies that are applicable either in a private or public cloud. Also, as a derived benefit, by capturing the network events and logs into a single instance that creates a simple and clear auditable trail, organizations’ governance policies can be enforced.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform gives users a fully supported, telco-grade cloud platform for next-generation applications, while Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) delivers an open SDN platform for virtualizing data center networks using x86 hardware, certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. Together these solutions have been deployed at many customer sites, building virtualized networks to connect workloads within cloud environments.
At what stage is your company in its evolution to open, hybrid cloud? Is SDN a part of your IT strategy? Let us know in the comments below!