Cloud Trends and Challenges
Adoption of cloud-based applications will continue to increase as enterprises realize the benefits for cost savings, flexibility, and reduced operational demands. Indicating the popularity of cloud-based applications, 81 percent of businesses surveyed are either planning their initial forays, are in experimentation, or have full implementations of cloud services, according to an October, 2011, KPMG and Forbes Insight global survey. Security and control remain the biggest barriers to cloud adoption, followed by performance and reliability concerns (Source: ZK Research, 2012). Last but not least, bringing different cloud services together is a complex effort.
- Security: The ability to apply enterprise security policies to cloud services is limited, resulting in inconsistent security policy enforcement across the enterprise.
- Lack of control: Improving user experience and application performance requires more than just adding more bandwidth. Achieving better control over the choke points in a network is challenging and lacks the ability to dynamically apply network optimization techniques to have the cloud service adapt to the capabilities of the network.
- Inconsistent performance: Workers want to access applications wherever they are and when they need them. Unfortunately, the user experience varies widely, depending on whether the user is in a branch office, telecommuting, or working from home or other locations. This inconsistency can be extremely frustrating for end users and can cause them to not want to work in some situations.
- Limited reliability: Link failures and performance degradation of the WAN reduces the availability of cloud services and consequently puts the success of an organization at risk.
- Complex operations: The challenges mentioned previously often make it impossible for the IT organization to ensure a transparent end-user experience and ensure transparency of policy enforcement across the different cloud services.
Requirements for Connecting to the Cloud - Why Network?
Cloud computing is the most network-centric computing model to date. Connecting remote and branch offices to the cloud requires uncompromised performance, security, and availability while simplifying IT operations. The network is the natural home for management and enforcement of policies relating to security risk, performance, and cost. As data centers and applications are transitioned offsite and into clouds, only the WAN network sees all data, connected resources, and user interactions over the public internet, as well as between clouds. The network is thus uniquely positioned to control performance and apply security policies, while monitoring the overall performance and metering usage of distributed cloud services.
- Performance: Acceptable and consistent end-user experience irrespective of location and device type
- Security: Consistent security enforcement of enterprise security policies across multiple cloud services
- Availability: Continued operation of cloud services even in case of link failure or degradation
- Simplified operations: Less complexity for IT operations to deliver on these requirements
Cisco Cloud Connectors, embedded within Cisco IOS Software, hosted on, or integrated with the Cisco ISR and ASR, make it possible to take advantage of intelligent capabilities of the network to improve the delivery of cloud services and applications. Cisco Cloud Connectors help ensure that the network gains additional awareness of the cloud service, and allow them to dynamically respond to the conditions of the network. The improved linkage of the network with multiple cloud services contributes to increased transparency of the end-user experience and transparency of managing IT operations