How cloud impacts enterprise networks

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"Traditional networking tiers start to come undone," said 451 Group's Eric Hanselman, as virtualization enables moving workloads and more complex data flows.

Add clouds on top of virtualization and the degree of change gets that much more dynamic and complex.

Hanselman led a panel discussion on the impact of clouds on traditional networking at this week's Cloud Connect event in Chicago. As applications and workloads are further fragmented even across the globe, he said, a big challenge is keeping data synchronized. For some enterprise users, the answer is this: Don't. At least not in real-time. Some applications can settle for near-real-time or "mostly up-to-date" data that replicates across the distributed environment quickly, but not instantly.

Obviously that approach won't cut it for every use case. However, Hanselman said enterprise users should be prepared "to separate and distribute" data.

Bernard Golden of Enstratius Networks said that a critical part of addressing these challenges is to "have smart software in the middle of the network," which could mean software-defined networking or a simpler approach such as virtualized switches. This approach gives the enterprise more dynamic control over network topology and resource allocation.

For more:
- read Network World's report

More on clouds and enterprise networks:
Torrents of SDN coverage--is it hype or hope?
Software-defined networks spotted in the wild
Data centers will be engulfed by clouds by 2017