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FCW : November 15, 2013
gencies that transition their IT operations to the cloud without also upgrading their network infrastructure could end up with some unhappy end-users. That's because for all the bene ts of cloud computing, the approach can create problems with band- width and latency that can under- mine application performance. The key to success, an increas- ing number of agencies are guring out, is network optimization. According to a recent 1105 Government Information Group survey of federal, state and local government IT professionals, only 5 percent of respondents said their agencies had so far moved their applications to the cloud. However, another 13 percent said the move was under way, and just under half of the rest said their agencies were studying or planning for the cloud. The same survey also showed that many government organizations were already deploying or consider- ing tools to help them better manage cloud-based network performance. Nearly half of the respondents said their agencies had deployed or planned to deploy wide area network optimization tools. It's possible that agencies can use the existing equipment they have to optimize the WAN with certain cloud services. If they use software-as-a service (SaaS), for example, routers and servers could be con gured to allow for band- width shaping that will give pre- cedence over the SaaS data over network traf c deemed less critical. "[With SaaS] you have the ability within some types of optimizers to prioritize the performance of core enterprise SaaS on your enterprise link," said John Burke, an analyst with Nemertes Research. "That allows you to improve the perfor- mance and reliability of the SaaS solutions by giving priority, say, over recreational Web browsing." Likewise, he said, if you are using Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) in the cloud, you can opt to make the use of bandwidth between internal and external resources as ef cient as possible with optimization. That can help with bandwidth and error correction and provide additional buffers against data loss and other performance considerations. Even if an agency opts for a managed cloud service, where it has no control over the technology offered, optimization still has a role to play, Burke said. There are potential problems. Since WAN optimization products use proprietary compression and decompression algorithms, the optimization appliance used by a cloud service provider might not match up with an agency's own technology, so compromises may have to be made. As long as that issue is ad- dressed, agencies can use their own WAN optimization appliances for the cloud, since underlying com- munication protocols apply equally to both the WAN and the cloud. Overall, said Burke, "there's de - nitely an evolving role for optimiza- tion technologies as the enterprise focus shifts to include a lot more cloud solutions." Sponsored Report NETWORK OPTIMIZATION Network optimization key to cloud transition FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to FCW.com/2013OptimizeTheNet Other Network Optimization Report Articles
October 30, 2013
November 30, 2013