How WAN Governance and Network Unification Make or Break Successful Cloud and Hybrid Computing Models


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How WAN Governance and Network Unification Make or Break Successful Cloud and Hybrid Computing Models

  1. 1. How WAN Governance and Network Unification Make orBreak Successful Cloud and Hybrid Computing ModelsTranscript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on meeting the challenges of networkmanagement and operations in the age of cloud computing.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Sponsor:Ipanema Technologies For a white paper on "WAN Governance for cloud computing," click here. For the Ipanema "Cloud Networking Report," click here.Dana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and youre listening to BriefingsDirect. Thanks for joining this sponsored podcast discussion on the rapidly escalating complexity and consequent need for network management innovation in the age of hybrid computing. And the emphasis nowadays is on "networks," not "network." Long gone are the days when a common and controlled local area network (LAN) served as the workhorse for critical applications and data delivery. With the increasedinterest in cloud, software as a service (SaaS), and mobile computing, applications are jockeyingacross multiple networks, both in terms of how services are assembled, as well in how users indifferent environments access and respond to these critical applications.Indeed, cloud computing forces a collapse in the gaps between the former silos of private, public,and personal networking domains. Since the network management and governance tasks havechanged and continue to evolve rapidly, so too must the ways in which solutions andtechnologies address the tangled networks environment we all now live and work in.Automated network unification and pervasive wide area networking (WAN) governance are proving essential to ensure quality, scale, and manage security across all forms of todays applications use. Were here to explore the new and future path to WAN governance and to better understand how Ipanema Technologies is working to help its customers make clearheadway, so that the next few years bring about a hybrid cloud computingopportunity and not a hastening downward complexity spiral.
  2. 2. Were here now to discuss the new reality of networks and applications delivery performance.Please join me in welcoming our guests, Peter Schmidt, Chief Technology Officer, NorthAmerica, for Ipanema Technologies. Welcome, Peter.Peter Schmidt: Hey, Dana. Its nice to be here.Gardner: We are also here with David White, Vice President of Global Business Developmentat Ipanema. Hello, David.David White: Hi, Dana. Looking forward to this chat.Gardner: Lets look at this whole issue of the pain now in networking. The trends around cloudare raising the stakes. Tell us how things have shifted, Dave, over the last several years.White: Over the last several years, most enterprise customers that weve talked to and, in fact, most enterprise customer in the industry, have moved to using SaaS applications. For example, is the largest, and is used by most large enterprise companies as a part of their sales force automation. Also, Amazon is doing hosting for hundreds of different businesses providing SaaS applications to enterprises. Peter, do you have any comments? Schmidt: Another really important trend is that enterprises have added extra networks. Theyve been building single private networks based on MPLSconverted from older technologies like Frame Relay. Over the past few years, weve seen a realtrend, where enterprises have been going to the Internet as a backup link for a lot of their offices.Cheap bandwidthThe Internet is cheap bandwidth and it gives some benefits of additional reliability. But now,theyve got all this bandwidth lying around, theyre paying for it, and theyd like to find a way tomake use of that.As soon as you start using multiple networks, youre in the cloud, because now youre makinguse of resources that are outside the control of your own IT organization and your serviceprovider. Whether people think about it or not, just by adding a second network, theyre takingtheir first steps into the cloud.White: I absolutely agree and, as part of that, a lot of customers are looking at things over theInternet that they can use as applications, like Google Apps, that they never could have used eventwo years ago.Schmidt: Youre suddenly delivering significant applications from Google’s servers over theInternet as an enterprise IT organization. How you get your arms around that is a big question.
  3. 3. Gardner: And, Peter, when we had just internal applications and we are worrying aboutperformance issues with that, that was plenty complex enough, particularly when we want toconsider how we brought in new services and new employees, or expanding our organization outto branch offices and whatnot. Give me a sense of how much more complex this is from anetwork performance management situation.Schmidt: That’s an excellent point, Dana. I speak at conferences fairly often, and over the past few years, the hot topic has changed a little bit. Even as little as three years ago, the focus was on how to get the most performance for your applications out of your single MPLS network. I am talking enterprises where all of their applications are hosted on their property. They’ve got a single MPLS network from one service provider and theyre still struggling to deliver reliable application performance across the infrastructure. Now, we throw in multiple places to host applications. You have SaaS,Salesforce, and Google Docs. You have platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as aservice (IaaS). People’s critical applications can be hosted in numerous locations, many of whichare beyond their control. Then, as I mentioned, these are being accessed via multiple networks,and you have the legacy MPLS plus the Internet.There are increasing numbers or diversity of models of those networks, - whether the Internetconnection gets to a service provider POP and then via MPLS to their own data center, or what isthe impact of content delivery networks? So weve got a situation where enterprises who arestruggling to master the complexity with one data center and one network are now using multipledata centers and multiple networks. Something is going to have to give.Gardner: For a lot of companies, as they try to push applications out, but retain more centralcontrol, perhaps to cut costs with a more consolidated data center strategy, the branch officeapproach maybe gives them some sense of what to expect as they move towards cloud. In youropinion, Dave, the branch office is sort of a stepping stone to what networking in the cloudecology or ecosystem is about.White: Absolutely. Its really all focused once again on the branch for the last five to seven years.We’ve had server consolidation where we try to remove any type of issues for the branch andremove intelligence from the branch. As cloud computing has come in, and we are going throughwhat we have just described regarding usage of the Internet and SaaS applications, we are nowputting more stress on the branch.Managing trafficWere not necessarily putting intelligence out there, but were having 2, 3, 4, 5, or morenetworks, all coming into the branch at the same time, and that traffic has to be managed. It’ssomething a lot of people haven’t thought about.
  4. 4. Schmidt: That’s the unknown piece of the cloud story. Most of the cloud marketing andinnovation that you read about in the past couple of years is really being focused on a data center.Its as if everything to do with the application happened in the data center. We know its only thehalf of the story. You have the network and then the branch itself. As long as the majority ofworkers are out in branch offices, which is true for a large percentage of especially largerenterprises, making that work is obviously critical for the productivity of the whole business.White: And, interest going up too. When you look at the announcements that have been comingout and the hype on cloud in the industry, its all focused on the data center. That’s because mostof the vendors say, "That’s where the big bucks are being made. We are going to make moneyout of the data center."Ipanema, on the other hand, is focused on application acceleration, and in order to do that, youhave to take care of what goes on in the branch and manage it.Gardner: So, it seems that automating network unification, bringing more governance to thiswhole WAN, even if its a complex stew of networks, thats the key. Help me understand what itis at a high level that we need to do to beat this, so that we can do cloud computing and get thatreturn on investment (ROI) in that data center, but without stumbling at the network stage.White: Id be happy to. At a high level, the first thing you have do is provide some type of WANgovernance, simply meaning that we are going to make sure that you have taken care of themanagement of your business. Because that’s what WAN governance means -- providing thetype of control over your business to allow it to continue to be productive, as youre makingchanges to your WAN.Simply put, you first of all have to find out whats going on in the network. You have tounderstand whats happening on those 4, 5, or 6 different flows that are all going in from differentsources to your branch. You have to be able to control those flows and manage them, so that youdont have your edge device or edge router getting congested.You have to be able to guarantee performance and, very importantly, you also have to then unify,balance, and optimize the performance over those multiple network points that are coming intoyour branch.If youre doing it the right way, at least what we would say is the right way, it needs to bedynamic, automatic and, in Ipanema terminology, autonomic, meaning that not only does ithappen automatically, but the network learns and manages itself. It doesn’t require extra humanintervention.Schmidt: Thats a really critical point. The way the enterprise is going to get its arms around thisincreasingly complex environment is not through throwing people at it. Throwing people atnetwork management has never worked and, now that the environment is more complex, itsgoing to work even less.
  5. 5. Quickly and automaticallyThe whole point of cloud is that youre going to use virtualization and automation to bring upinstances of servers quickly and automatically, and thats where this order of magnitudeimprovement potential comes from. But, if you dont want the multiple networks to be thebottleneck, then you have to apply automation in that domain as well. Thats what weve done.Weve made it possible for the network to run itself to meet the businesses’ objectives.The effect that has in a branch office with multiple network connections is really to hide all thecomplexity that that multiplicity brings, because the system is managing them all in a unifiedway. Thats what were getting at when were talking about network unification. The details thatbedeviled traditional management just kind of disappear.Gardner: Thanks, Peter. I see the term WAN governance used a lot, I wonder if either of youcould give me a quick primer. What do you really mean by WAN governance?White: I just mentioned it and I probably should have defined it a little more. We look at WANgovernance as really a piece of ISO standard for IT governance, which is an official ISOstandard. There is a section in there on WAN governance. In a way, it talks about what you haveto do to manage your wide area.Ipanema strongly believes the WAN governance is really a standard that should be put on thebooks, but isnt yet. If youre really going to have governance over your IT, since the network is astrategic asset to promote enterprise customers, you need to have governance over the wide areaas well.Weve made it a particular issue, as far as were concerned, in delivery of service. We want tomake sure that our customers can have governance over the wide area. Peter, have you got morecomments on that?Schmidt: WAN governance is what the CIO wants to buy. CIOs don’t want to buy a WAN, andthey certainly dont want to buy WAN optimization controllers. What they want to buy is reliableapplication performance across their infrastructure with the best possible performance and lowestpossible cost. My high-level definition of WAN governance is that its the technology andtechniques that allow the CIO to buy that.White: Excellent.Gardner: So, as we look at cloud computing and then hybrid computing, there is also asimultaneous trend around mobile computing. As you’ve pointed out Peter, when Ive spoken toyou in the past, there seems to be this removal of the boundaries between private, public, andpersonal computing.Tell me how thats impacting things. I know that a lot of the enterprises I talk to are rapidlymoving towards mobile. They want to be able to use mobile apps. They want to be able to have
  6. 6. their workforce engaging with applications as part of the business process 24X7 no matter wherethey are.Schmidt: Absolutely. Anybody who carries a smartphone is experiencing the personal, private,public boundary of operations themselves. But what seems natural to somebody carrying aniPhone or Blackberry is a tremendous challenge to the traditional models of IT.iPhone appWere about to release our first iPhone app to provide an interface into our central managementsystem, and its terrific. Its exactly the kind of thing the CIO would want to have in their hand.That just shows the value of pushing IT to be democratized and put into the hands of all of thepeople tied to the enterprise.How does it challenge traditional IT? Control is something that is ITs responsibility, and itdoesnt matter that these technological innovations are making that harder. They still have thatresponsibility.We think you need to use technology to fight technology. The Ipanema system is designed toprovide the full control by giving the enterprise IT organization not just visibility in reporting onevery users access to their IT infrastructure, but also to automatically control all of that traffic inaccordance with various policies. For a white paper on "WAN Governance for cloud computing," click here. For the Ipanema "Cloud Networking Report," click here.We dont see any other way around it. Youre not going to do this manually. Youve got to buildsmarter systems. We happen to think that we are a huge piece of that puzzle in terms of how wecontrol things at the network level.White: Dana, most of us hire those mobile remote users ourselves. Were all on the road or athome working, which is probably typical for 80 percent of all the people in the US. My wife, forexample, works for a real estate agency. You wouldn’t think she works at home, but she does,and most everybody does. Whats important is that you have to provide full guaranteedperformance, regardless of where your users are, because a lot of your users are now remote andmobile and they are accessing critical applications.So if you have a mobile agent that is a part of your network, all the services need to be integratedfor the visibility and control of the applications even to a mobile user. Thats what the mobileclient does. Its integrated into the whole network and its nothing separate. It allows enterprisesto have control and management over the objectives they have set for application performancedown to my desktop.
  7. 7. Schmidt: Or your laptop in the hotel room.White: Or my laptop in the hotel room, absolutely.Gardner: And the pace has changed so rapidly, who knows? In two years there might be atotally new class of device out there, right?Schmidt: One thing thats clear is that putting into people’s hands more power that theyre goingto be using more often and in more places is the obvious trend. I dont know in which wayssmartphones will get smarter, but Im pretty sure that they will become the dominant end userdevice over time for all IT needs - personal, private, and public.White: If we look at the projections for smartphones, in the next couple of years theyre going tohave the intelligence that the current laptops were using now have. That means theyre reallygoing to have the performance of a laptop, and they will have applications running the same aswe do now on our laptops.Interface limitationsSchmidt: The limitations of the interface versus a laptop are such that its going to put pressureon some of the more sophisticated computing happening into the back end of the cloud. So, thetwo really work off each other.White: I completely agree.Gardner: While we think about mobile computing now as a B2E, that is to say, how I empowermy employees, were also seeing a lot of enterprises thinking about how to deliver applications totheir end users, their clients, their customers, and even finding new classes of customers. This isabout application delivery, not just for productivity internally, but increasingly as the means tonew revenue and new business. Any thoughts about that?Schmidt: That really represents a merging of the traditional e-commerce model with thetraditional IT. Now we have a similar value delivery mechanism, the app, being used by differentconstituents of the same enterprise.For example, weve been talking to a very large, worldwide, well-known consumer brand. Theirconcern is how do they make the thousands of employees of their enterprise productive usingtheir mobile apps? Also, how do they bring their customers to their website and have them buythat way.Were talking to both groups at the same time, because its ultimately a common infrastructure.They need a way to solve that issue from a common platform. Thats why they came to us,because were the only ones who have that platform.
  8. 8. Gardner: Lets look at the ways that we approach these. Weve clearly defined that there are a lotof challenges and tremendous opportunities as well. This isnt something that many companiescan afford to ignore. This is a problem that needs to be solved. How do we get at this? What arethe WAN governance, the autonomic, and the hybrid network unification approaches that weneed to consider?Schmidt: It starts with a change in philosophy, honestly. Traditional network management wasdone from a very bottoms-up technical orientation. We worried about sites, we worried aboutrouters, we worried about network connection, and we hoped to build from the bottom-up arelatively reliable, relatively well-functioning network infrastructure.Since youre no longer building big chunks of that infrastructure to move to the cloud, theres anobvious limitation right there in a bottom-up approach. Youre going to be buying a service withsome sort of service level agreement (SLA). Theres a wrapper around that. You dont have thosedetails. In fact, thats what exciting about the cloud. Now you dont have to worry aboutmanaging those details.Youve got to go the rest of the way, and Ipanema has pioneered a unique approach that stemsfrom the idea that all that matters is that end users are able to get good performance from theirapplications, because that’s when they are most productive. When application performance slowsdown, end users start surfing the web. So, ensuring the performance of the application is critical.That’s what the enterprise needs to reorient itself toward.The fundamental input into our system is a list of applications and their performance. The systemitself is intelligent enough to monitor and dynamically control all of the traffic to achieve thoseobjectives on behalf of the business. So, it’s imposing the business’s will on the network.The first stepThe first step is the change in orientation to understand that application performance is thefundamental thing you want to buy, and to realize that it could be achieved top-down through asystem like ours.Gardner: Tell me a little bit about the history of Ipanema. How did you get to this point? Dave,what’s the history that led up to your innovation and ability to look at this a little differently?White: It starts with our three founders who got together and took a look at what the needs werefrom an application perspective. Their goal was to find a way to ensure that, as users, we all hadthe performance we needed and that enterprises could deliver performance from an applicationperspective to their users.That’s what they started out with. Then they took a look at how you would deliver that serviceand recognized the best way to provide for the delivery of the right type of consistent applicationperformance is to do it over the wide area and to look what happens over the WAN.
  9. 9. They were very visionary in recognizing that application performance over the wide area isgoing to be the single most critical piece of the puzzle, when it comes to taking a look at how weas users of enterprise deliver service and do it in conjunction with major service providers andnetwork providers, because they are the ones that deliver the wide area connections.When they started out, they were told that they were wrong and werent looking at it the rightway. When you see what’s happened to the network and how it’s evolved, particularly now thatwe are moving into the cloud generation, they were focused exactly in the right area. Althoughwe have a lot of new features, the basic architecture has been there for years and it’s been provenin major service provider networks and is installed on a global basis.Gardner: Peter, we are going to get into some more technical detail about Ipanema’s approachin an additional podcast, but just to round this out for our discussion today, what is a little bit ofthe secret sauce? What is it that differentiates you technically in terms of being able toaccomplish autonomic networking and hybrid network unification?Schmidt: There are a couple of things that are the secret sauce, but the easiest one to explainprobably is the fact that our appliances actually cooperate with each other, and this is unique.Our appliances know about not just the traffic that’s impinging on their network interfaces, butthey actually know about the flows that are active everywhere on the network.It’s actually not that that simple. They really only need to know about the flows that mightconflict with the flows that they are managing. But conceptually, every device on the networkknows about all the other flows it needs to know about. They are constantly communicating witheach other -- what flows are active and what performance those flows are getting from theinfrastructure, which includes the whole WAN, but also the data center and the service. So whatdoes that enable?Global perspectiveSharing this information means that all of the decisions made by an individual device are madefrom a global perspective. Theyre no longer making a local optimization decision. They each runthe same algorithm and can come to the same result. And that result is a globally optimum trafficmix on the network.When I say globally optimum, that’s a valid technical term as opposed to a marketing term,because the information has been collected globally from the entire system. In terms of optimum,what I mean is the best possible performance from the most applications using the given networkinfrastructure and its status at that point in time. So, it’s a hard definition of what optimummeans.Gardner: It sounds like you are taking metadata in a real-time environment, almost applyingbusiness intelligence to what’s going on in the network. Is that what you mean by WANgovernance or am I overstepping the definition here?
  10. 10. Schmidt: Forgive me, Dana, but that’s how a data center guy would describe what we are doingin the network. Were network guys. From what I know about metadata and the applications builtback in the data center, that sounds pretty good. The fundamental point is that the traditionalapproach to network management required a human being in the loop, and the human being hadto look at low level metrics, like what percent full was a particular circuit, what was the pingtime between two sites, and then try make a judgment about what that meant in terms of thehealth of the infrastructure.Their primary indicator about the health of the infrastructure was, and remains, helpdesk calls. Iwas at Interop speaking at a panel last year, and the analyst who was monitoring the panel andsaid, "Everybody in the audience whose first knowledge of an application performance problemis a call to the helpdesk, raise your hands." Three quarters of the IT professionals in that audienceraised their hand - and the other quarter were lying -because its really impossible with traditionalnetwork approaches to understand whats going on at the application level from the network.There are a couple of theoretical reasons for that, but Ipanema said, "That’s too hard. Itsprobably not even theoretically possible. So, lets do something different. Lets measure theapplication performance directly and then share those measurements - and that’s the key."White: The point Id like to make is that its absolutely impossible to measure it in a cloudenvironment as an enterprise network manager, because you only see a piece of the network.Unless you’ve done something different, which is what we provide, than the way you are goingto look at your network, if you are looking at it the way you’ve done for the last 10 or 20 years,there is no way that you can see everything.The closing point here is that the first step is visibility into the network, and the next step isproviding the control. You need to do that in the cloud environment, and thats what Ipanemadoes.Gardner: When Peter mentioned that he thinks about things of course from a networkingperspective, I tend to think more at a data center level, but these two worlds need to stopcolliding or being separate to come together. How does what Ipanema does can allow that? Canwe bridge this cultural gap between the data center mentality and the network mentality, becauseI think that’s whats going to be essential for cloud computing?Schmidt: Its all about application delivery. The enterprise is beginning to understand that. Wetalked about the founders’ insight in realizing that what really matters is good applicationperformance across the WAN and how the WAN is a critical asset and its the most highlyvariable asset, especially in the cloud. So, there is a lot of value to getting control there.Complex environmentBut, the data center is its own highly complex environment with networks and multiple tiers ofdifferent computing going on. Clearly, a huge amount of work and innovation has gone on in
  11. 11. there by companies other than Ipanema to master that complexity, and in fact, automate all sortsof interesting activities to make the data center a much more responsive, flexible, on-demandinfrastructure.But, the thing that needs to happen is that there needs to be an end-to-end view of how to deliverthe best possible application performance to the end user, given the resources that have beendeployed or could be turned on, because that’s the new dimension here. In the data center, wecan now turn on more servers dynamically. Ipanema has the ability to dynamically send thetraffic over multiple network paths. So, theres an affinity there that we need to exploit. In fact,were actively working on partnerships to help realize that connection.Gardner: We are just about out of time, but I would like to look at the future and even throughthe lens of the user. Is there someone that you are aware of, a use case that perhaps is abellwether of what more organizations will be dealing with looking at this architecturalperspective, the visibility, but also with this being so essential to their business having a realimpact on the bottom line?Is there an example that might illuminate where other people are going to find themselves in thefew years?Schmidt: We have an excellent example right now. A very large enterprise, a major logisticscompany, is in the process of a multi-year IT project that is critically strategic to their entirebusiness. Theyre moving from a legacy IBM mainframe infrastructure thats running their entirebusiness today -- order taking to warehouse management to truck dispatch, the whole nine yards.Theyre moving to an SAP system. A critical enabler of that is the fact that theyre going to buy amanaged service from a global service provider that’s partner of Ipanema’s, BT. BT has anintelligent managed service on top of the Ipanema platform. So what are the benefits thecustomer is buying?Well, the number one thing caused them to adopt this approach was their concern that if there ispoor application performance with this SAP suite of applications, its not a theoreticalproductivity reduction. Its a measurable, millions of dollars per hour or more, hit to their bottomline. So there is a very high value of having full control over their application performance ontheir WAN.I think the fact that they could buy it as a service from a major service provider was also a bigattraction to them. Theyre a very large company. Theyre used to dealing with very large ITservice providers. The fact that our platform has become the basis for a proven globally deployedintelligent application based managed service gave them a lot of confidence that this is reallygoing to work for them.Although this example is a case of going from mainframe to a modern SAP distributedimplementation, I see the benefit that they are looking for being the same as people who moveinto the cloud are looking for. Theyre looking for revolutionary improvements in their ITinfrastructure, whether that turns into a factor of 10 cost reduction or a factor of 10 uptime or
  12. 12. reliability improvement or whatever the other strategic metric may be. The promise of cloud isthat by using this new model, you can revolutionize your IT.One of the big risks there, of course, is that you step into this world of greater complexity andyou can have the productivity gains completely undone by the fact that it is complex and youneed to be able to figure out how to manage that. So, this company is actually a pretty goodexample of what people are going to be struggling with as they move into the future and look atcloud -- how they migrate their critical business activities into a new distributed infrastructure --and we have a piece of that answer with WAN governance.Gardner: Im afraid well have to leave it there. It was a very interesting discussion. Weve beentalking about automated network unification and pervasive WAN governance as essentialingredients to quality, scale, and managed security across the many forms of todays applicationsuse, working more towards cloud and hybrid models.I want to thank our guests. Weve been joined by Peter Schmidt. He is the Chief TechnologyOfficer, North America, for Ipanema Technologies. Thank you, Peter.Schmidt: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And David White, Vice President of Global Business Development at Ipanema.Thanks so much, Dave.White: Thanks, Dana. It was a pleasure.Gardner: This is Dana Gartner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You’ve been listeningto a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for listening, and come back next time. For a white paper on "WAN Governance for cloud computing," click here. For the Ipanema "Cloud Networking Report," click here.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Sponsor:Ipanema TechnologiesTranscript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on meeting the challenges in networksmanagement in the age of cloud computing. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2010.All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Modern Data Centers Require Efficiency-Oriented Changes in Networking • Converged Infrastructure Approach Paves Way for Improved Data Center Productivity
  13. 13. • Consolidation, Modernization, and Virtualization: A Triple-Play for Long-Term Enterprise IT Cost Reduction