Malcolm Loro is director of industry marketing at Ciena, with a focus on the Ethernet business service market and Ciena's Ethernet solutions. In a blog posting from last year he commented that “It is human nature to take such things for granted once they become the norm. Nowadays if you're watching YouTube (News - Alert) and the high-resolution video struggles to buffer without pause, there's a good chance you'll skip that video and move on to another one, or another site.”
Having been involved with networks since 1978, I have seen a lot of changes since the days that I learned how to install a connector on a coax cable and daisy chain several dumb terminals to the main computer system. It was normal back in those days, as it was later on with Ethernet cables, to access information and wait for a response.
As Loro mentioned last year, no one seems to have the time to wait even a second longer than they feel they should. Although scenarios have changed, the fact that you need to rely on your network is still there. In a more recent blog posting Loro makes reference to the fact that “The point being that our increasing reliance on cloud services, the advent of the consumer app and our need to always be “on” has altered our expectations of network connectivity, making it relevant again – critical to an end-user’s application experience.”
Loro refers to this as a “Cloud Era Network Platform.” We are in the process of moving away from in-house solutions and turning toward cloud-based hosted services. Regardless of where the information or apps are located, the fact of the matter is that we expect to have access to them immediately.
Essentially, the expectation from a Cloud Era Network Platform is to have the types of services, such as storage, connectivity and computing abilities delivered on-demand, quickly and with an even greater degree of security. As mentioned above, once something becomes the “norm” it is expected all of the time. Toward this end, Loro believes that there are three important things to consider: better application performance, business agility and information security.
In addition to cloud services, VoIP and WebRTC solutions have the ability to link remote locations such as classrooms and conference rooms so that groups of any size can share voice, data and applications. Over the past few years, several companies have been working to establish 100G network speeds, which is a necessity in the Cloud Era Network Platform.
This type of environment is essential to take full advantage of on-demand workload migrations, big data transfers, media contribution and distribution, high-end medical collaboration and data replication. Whether you are sitting in a virtual classroom, business conference room or simply watching a video on your mobile device, Loro makes note of the fact that as more and more end-users consume resources through networked applications that require an on-demand experience, a dynamic network platform is essential.
Business agility is defined as the ability of a business system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration. Business agility can be maintained by adjusting to the changes in a business environment. As cloud computing, along with SDN and NFV continue to change network architectures and operations, delivering better business agility becomes a necessity.
Mobile devices have given us the ability to be a generation of always being connected, everywhere and at all times, while using personal mobile devices for work has given us access to company data from any location. Along with all this access comes a greater need for keeping all this information safe and secure.
What is needed is a trusted infrastructure that provides a reliable network that is secure. Ciena refers to this as “assured networking.” Since the data that is being accessed can be considered as a company’s lifeblood, data security has to become a top priority.
All of this leads Loro to believe that “It’s time for a Cloud Era Network Platform. Not just to satisfy our need to be “on” to explore new realms, fight monsters and complete quests, but to be “on-demand” to deliver better application performance, business agility and information security.”
Edited by Rory J. Thompson