Optimizing the Performance of Cloud Computing

Michelle DeFiore

Can’t get enough of cloud? Never fear, my final session is on cloud!

Peter Schmidt, CTO of  North America from Ipanema (is that like the girl from Ipanema?  Like they haven’t heard that before.) started the panel talking about hybrid network unification.

Hybrid networks are difficult. Why?

  1. They add costs to your operations (management of the tunnels) and add management of the policy based routing configuration  (which is tricky, time consuming, and error prone).
  2. With current technology, hybrid networks are under exploited. With PBR you have a static approach that is location-dependent. This does not handle the time-varying quality of the link of layer 7 application classification of the traffic flows.  Not very intelligent and very manual.
  3. How will this mesh with other technologies? Visibility, WAN optimization, QoS? How do you report  on it, control overall performance, or deal with variations in performance?

What’s the solution? Hybrid network unification. 

This provides automatic configuration management, the ability to dynamically respond to real-world conditions, and a solution that is completely integrated with other critical technology for visibility, control, WAN optimization and QoS.

Benefits of network unification include guaranteed good application performance across the hybrid network, improved business continuity, full usage of high speed, low cost links.

You can start moving applications into the cloud while retaining performance.

Let’s talk barriers to public cloud adoption with Neil Cohen of Akamai.  Cloud servers reside in big data centers, farther away from the  end users. The consequences of this are that performance can be degraded and there is an increase of vulnerability.

What you need to optimize cloud services on the internet is a highly distributed architecture.

But, the public cloud is inevitable. More and more apps are moving to the cloud, taking advantage of ubiquitous nature of the cloud. Performance, reliability and security are critical concerns.

Michael  Feiertag from Blue Coat Systems takes the stage now to talk about delivering applications from the cloud.

Private clouds are nothing new, it’s just more consolidation.  But, make sure you have visibility and WAN optimization.

When you talk about a public cloud there are three main components. Think about your branch office where the bulk of users will be accessing the application.

The next component is the public cloud, and the final is your existing data center. When users in the branch office go to the public cloud, they first send information through an internet connection which may be encrypted, and all will be over http(s).

What to focus on? Application delivery problems:

  • Need good performance for users
  • Need visibility into usage
  • Need to control bandwidth costs

Different clouds have different problems.

  • SaaS (Salesforce, Taleo) – first need to find them, then need to address page view performance.
  • PaaS/IaaS (Rackspace, Amazon  EC2, Google Apps) – can be virtual private or public clouds. Issues – you know where they are, but not how well they are working. You need to address performance and network costs.

How to solve it? 5 minimum requirements:

  1. Web focused
  2. Caching
  3. Identify SaaS traffic
  4. Measure performance of SaaS/IaaS/PaaS apps
  5. Prioritize all internet traffic

After those requirements have been met, you can facilitate direct access from remote locations and require integrated web security.

And last but not least, Riverbed’s Apurva Dave.

When you consider virtualizing WAN optimization infrastructure, you have mobile workers, office users, public cloud providers, and the data center or private cloud.

The thing that will change is how people will consume  WAN optimization in the cloud. We’ll see a mix that will increase potential economic benefits and elasticity.

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