Inside Extreme Scale Tech|Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Juniper Survey Shows Networks In Cloud Transition 

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The shift to cloud services increasingly requires changes in network infrastructure to support the rollout, a networking industry-sponsored study found.

Juniper Networks commissioned the hybrid cloud study earlier this year from market researcher Forrester Research. When respondents were asked whether they have or will change their network infrastructure as part of a cloud initiative, the majority percent said “yes.”

“While 22 percent of organizations surveyed for this profile have not needed to overhaul their network infrastructure to accommodate a cloud platform, 73 percent have needed to make changes since not all the architecture is under their domain,” the Forrester/Juniper survey found.

These network infrastructure changes are required as organizations make the transition to private, public and hybrid cloud services.

Major challenges related to hybrid cloud rollouts included network security (50 percent), bandwidth and performance (both 42 percent) along with reliability (39 percent), the survey found. Those hybrid cloud features ranked higher among respondents than network automation and virtualization, which are commonly assumed to rank higher on network administrators’ list of priorities.

“This means a lot of the same best practices that network engineers use today are just as critical – if not more so – to enabling hybrid clouds,” the survey concluded.

Hence, the Forrester study also found that the majority of network managers surveyed “didn’t feel that their existing network had the capabilities to meet these demands [for delivering cloud services] and had to upgrade in one or more of these areas.”

“The network is a much more important component of enabling private, public, and hybrid clouds than its simple depiction in PowerPoint drawings might indicate,” Brendan Hayes, a product marketing manager with Juniper Networks, argued in a blog post.

As Web services companies automate many of their operations, the automation trend is filtering into enterprises. As a result, the survey found that IT automation software is making the biggest inroads in server administration (60 percent), storage administration (54 percent), and network administration (46 percent).

“Automating all the data center components enables the platform to transition into a platform that has no boundaries,” the study concluded. That means automation tools can discover operating systems along with network and storage configurations used for applications. The tools could then “inject” drivers, tools, and security components before deploying applications to public and private cloud stacks.

“IT decision-makers value the performance, reliability and security of the network that underpins their cloud [and] these network fundamentals together with automation are the top priorities to enable a successful hybrid cloud deployment,” the study concluded.

Forrester said survey respondents included network managers and other executives overseeing network equipment purchases at U.S. companies with more than 500 employees. The survey was conducted during January 2014.

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