Adapting Legacy Networks to the Cloud

What is the best way to design network architectures for the cloud? That is literally the million-dollar question as cloud computing quickly evolves into the new normal for IT.

No network at all?

Standard cloud computing iconorage and storage networking, the need for higher-end technologies like Fibre Channel will grow, not diminish.

At the same time, some of the most notorious proprietary developers on the planet are starting to make nice with the open source community now that the cloud is dangling real dollar signs before their eyes. Witness Microsoft’s recent support of the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) protocol in Windows Server 2012. RDMA has received strong backing from the OpenFabrics Alliance where it provides the framework for handling large file-based workloads in virtual and cloud environments built on Ethernet and InfiniBand networks.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will enable RDMA for remote file access in server message block v.3 (SMB3), as well as a kernel bypass RDMA API that should enhance third-party development of OpenFabrics software (OFS) applications.

As prior generations of enterprise technicians will tell you, however, open source does not necessarily mean cheaper, better or more flexible. It all depends on the level of cooperation among supporters and the degree to which your existing infrastructure can accommodate multi-vendor environments.

By nature, the cloud is intended to provide a melting pot of solutions from which enterprises or individual users can draw the most efficient and effective solutions. Legacy infrastructure can play a very large role in this new world, but it will have to change to keep up with the times.

Arthur Cole covers networking and the data center for IT Business Edge. He has served as editor of numerous publications covering everything from audio/video production and distribution, multimedia and the Internet to video gaming.


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