The shifting demands of the enterprise

The shifting demands of the enterprise

DIA remains the most popular way of accessing the cloud, but there has been a shift in deployment methods, according to a recent WAN Summit panel

Dedicated internet access (DIA) remains the most popular way of accessing cloud infrastructure as a service providers, according to a poll taken at the recent WAN Summit in New York, with 43% of respondents picking it as their most common form in a live poll of attendees.

It beat out Ethernet and IP VPN, while broadband gained less than 5% of the vote, according to exclusive figures from Capacity.

Most of the enterprises said they use a typical bandwidth of between 1,000Mbps and 5000Mbps to private connections to their cloud providers, with 101-999Mbps as the next most popular option. Interestingly, around 12% of respondents said they used connections surpassing 10,000Mbps.

The polls were conducted at the WAN Summit event, which is ran by Capacity and TeleGeography, and featured a fascinating panel looking at cloud services, with speakers from Oracle, Microsoft, PacketFabric and enterprise Gate Gourmet.

Lloyd Noronha, head of SD-WAN marketing at Cisco, told the gathered audience that he had seen a shift in how people deploy their software-defined wide area networks in order to solve problems with cloud services.

“We’ve seen more than 30,000 deployments of SD-WAN solutions,” he said, “but 90% of them were not related to cloud.” This, he added, began to change over the last year. “In the last 12 months we’ve seen a dramatic shift as companies want to use SD-WAN to solve a cloud problem.”

Enterprise use cases

Microsoft, one of the leading cloud providers along with Amazon Web Services, was also in attendance. Ross Ortega, partner program manager for Azure networking at Microsoft, sat on the panel, saying though the IT giant may not have been traditionally seen as a networking company, this aspect has become increasingly important as more companies have begun using its cloud services.

“The growth of connectivity has been very strong,” he said. “Microsoft may not have been traditionally associated with networking but we need a global backbone for all our products.

“It is common for people to do geo-dispersed and then start using Microsoft for backup. We’re seeing growth in private connectivity in APAC where the internet is not good enough for most business critical applications. Latency breaks applications so we have a private connectivity team for that. 

“We designed our system so you can get to the cloud. Then you need to think about what is the security model. That is now migrating into the cloud at scale. We live this at Microsoft as a big international enterprise and we deal with this balance: what can be run in the cloud and what needs to be in lockdown, on-prem.”

To meet the needs of its customers, Microsoft “strives for agility” and works closely with PacketFabric. He explained: “It is really easy to spin up VPNs but it is hard ot manage them. We work closely with PacketFabric to make sure we connect with the PacketFabric routers. The physical network is still very hard and clunky and anyone who works with it closely knows that, but we’re working hard to hide that from the customers.”

Representing the enterprise view on the panel was Barry Bonson-Bruce from Gate Gourmet, a catering company that produces food for airlines. It is the world’s largest independent airline catering, hospitality, and logistics company, with over 28,000 employees operating worldwide, highlighting the need for robust and far-reaching cloud infrastructure.

“We have six data centres globally and three Microsoft Express Routes,” Bonson-Bruce said. “As the cloud evolves we have the opportunity to use public access – once you put in firewalls, there is an opportunity to put in public access.

“You just want control of your customer data – you can do analytics but at the end of the day you own that data. Another product we have with ExpressRoutes is Ethernet which is really cheap. They charge for that but there is value to it.”

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