Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Virtual WAN Optimization: Enabling Application Migration to the Cloud

A growing trend in networking is the migration of applications to the cloud as organizations look to take advantage of deployment flexibility and lower management costs. This was the theme at VMWorld in San Francisco recently, where Cisco had major presence, and presented on our capabilities in the network that enable virtualization. Virtual Machine (VM) technology is the foundation for cloud migration, but for a complete solution that overcomes challenges with security, availability and performance, network services need to be incorporated into the virtualized architecture.

To meet the requirement for providing network services in the cloud Cisco has announced Unified Network Services (UNS) as a component of the Data Center Business Advantage architecture. UNS provides flexibility and choice in the adoption of network and compute services in both physical and virtual formats, unified by operation simplicity. The UNS architecture delivers a utility-based consumption model for network services that is promised by the cloud computing model. There are a number of technologies within this architecture including security, server load balancing and WAN optimization.

Let’s take look at application performance as an example of how network services enable application delivery from the cloud. As organizations move applications to the cloud performance is impacted due to the extra network hops back to the organization’s data center and out to the branch offices. To overcome performance issues organizations need to be able to easily deploy WAN optimization and seamlessly scale it in cloud environments. Cloud computing drives different deployment requirements for WAN optimization then with a typical data center based application deployment model. To deploy WAN optimization for applications in the cloud organizations need a deployment model that is agile and elastic, providing on-demand instantiation & provisioning. The WAN optimization service must be transparent to the location of the applications and to mobility of the application server virtual machines. For scalability WAN optimization needs to be multi-tenant without increasing the hardware footprint. A virtual form-factor is essential to achieve these requirements.