Monday, January 02, 2012

Need for Real Time Networks


Cloud Computing in its various forms: SaaS, PaaS, VDI, etc is creating the next inflection point for IT networks. As cloud computing takes center stage for enterprises, IT Network managers will have to redesign and restructure their entire network to meet the new demands of the cloud to provide real-time performance across the network.

The current network is no longer adequate for this task because real-time traffic has special requirements. IT managers will have to redesign the network to build an infrastructure that provides scalable bandwidth with flexibility and simplicity to work in a virtual infrastructure to support the new real-time applications.

The initial real-time application on Internet was VoIP phones which relatively needs small bandwidth. When video conferencing was introduced, IT managers created dedicated networks and video conference stations to support those high bandwidth applications. But such band-aid approach will no longer work for cloud applications such as VDI or cloud storage.

Need for Unified Communication Network

Unified communication Network refers to a network that can handle real-time voice, data and video applications across a range of end user devices in multiple ways: VPN/WAN gateways and LAN networks (10/100 ethernet & Wi-Fi).

The network will have to support multiple device types: Laptop, servers, desktops/workstations, tablets, smart phones, printers, various sensors and controllers - smart meters, HVAC controllers, Video surveillance etc..

The bandwidth demand on the network will increase exponentially - which will make the current network architecture obsolete within next 18-24 months. The need for bandwidth and lack of IPv4 addresses will force companies to build an IPv6 network from scratch.

What's driving the need for real-time network?

In the post PC world, we are seeing an explosion of new network enabled devices: Smart Phones, Tablets, Web connected cameras, range of industrial sensors & controllers. All these devices are bandwidth hogs. An iPad could use 4 Mbps of bandwidth for HD video conferencing, while the VDI running on that iPad could eat up another 5Mbps. Video conferencing, Web meetings over the cloud could consume 12Mbps or more.

As the end-user devices start to demand more bandwidth, the user applications are also multiplying. Cloud computing applications such as VDI, Data-as-a-Service, Cloud data storage, RFID based Real-time ERP systems are all new applications that demand a real-time network.

Virtualization of all Edge Networked devices

VDI brings in virtualization of all edge devices: Virtual desktops, mobile devices: Tablet/smart phones, VoIP phones, video cameras, video conferencing etc..

The edge network contains the largest number of devices and hence presents the greatest network bandwidth demand. Plan for the edge network devices will require 10MB/sec per port.

Core Networking

A virtualized data center designed for high reliability and availability will demand high bandwidth for moving the virtual machines around the physical servers. The SOA applications running on VM's and vMotion - i.e., moving VM's across servers creates enormous traffic between servers (also called East-West traffic).

Applications such as business analytics using Big Data analytics using Hadoop and Business intelligence systems are now being made real time - which calls for moving big data across the network from storage to servers and vice-versa. (North-South traffic)

The need for core network bandwidth is really exploding. Today the data center servers have 40MBps ports and applications are still running out of bandwidth.

WAN Gateways for the cloud

Cloud computing increases the WAN traffic exponentially. As enterprises build out fault resilient private clouds there will be need to seamlessly integrate multiple data centers which demands very high WAN bandwidth.

Deploying VDI and other cloud services will also increase WAN traffic and WAN bandwidth.

Closing Thoughts

Enterprise IT managers will have to deal with this explosion of bandwidth requirements as the business moves towards the cloud and mobile computing devices. Network managers do not have a choice but to redesign and rebuild their networks to meet the new bandwidth demands.

1 comment:

PeopleLink said...

Thanks Arun, we are been in software video conferencing and hope your article may provide new dimensions to our network programmers.