By Erin Harrison
Networks are crucial assets, which service providers can leverage to build data centers that deliver cloud services successfully.
According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, "The Network-Enabled Service Provider Cloud," services provided through the cloud are a natural extension of the virtual private network (VPN) and hosting capabilities offered by service providers today – they’re also a significant business opportunity.
Before we go further, let’s look at some key considerations:
- The network is the backbone of the next-generation cloud;
- Virtualizing the data center infrastructure brings strategic benefits; and
- Logically consolidated, physically dispersed data centers lower service delivery costs, grow revenue.
To leverage these cloud service opportunities, service providers are transforming legacy standalone data centers into an agile, intelligent, integrated next-generation data center infrastructure.
To that end, the service provider’s greatest strength is its network: the network is the backbone of the next-generation infrastructure that allows service providers to interconnect geographically dispersed data centers and take advantage of data center virtualization.
Some benefits of a network-based data center strategy include: lowering total cost of ownership (TCO); increasing service agility; improving service quality; and introducing the ability to offer better service level agreements (SLAs).
Virtualization is also an important enabler for cloud-ready, standardized and intelligent data centers – a key catalyst for cloud computing.
As Alcatel-Lucent pointed out, a virtualized data center infrastructure offers all of the efficiencies of server virtualization. It also gives service providers a truly agile cloud services environment. For example, they can:
- Host a customer’s service in the optimal data center and on the optimal platform to meet customer requirements and ensure fast application response times. This increases the service provider’s ability to meet SLAs and drive profitability.
- Deploy widespread business continuity and disaster recovery mechanisms. This increases application availability and allows customers to access applications even if a site fails.
- Balance workload demands by moving large workloads among geographically distributed data centers. This avoids demand hot spots and allows service providers to fully utilize the capacity available across the network.
Service providers that transform and virtualize their infrastructure to create the next-generation data center, allows them to manage large numbers of highly virtualized resources, in multiple locations, as a single source. In addition, this transformation provides the foundation for a truly on-demand logically centralized, physically dispersed data center that delivers computing and application resources “anywhere, at any moment.”