In my recently published Gartner IT1 guidance document, “Moving Applications to the Cloud: Finding Your Right Path”, I highlighted a major contributing factor to the failure of VM to cloud mobility being the Internet bottleneck between enterprise data centers and public cloud providers. In fact, for many large enterprise organizations, achieving uploads of 2-3 GB/hour across the Internet is a best-case scenario today.
I wanted to highlight two recent announcements in the industry that will hopefully help solve this bottleneck soon.
First, Citrix announced NetScaler Cloud Bridge at the Citrix Synergy conference in May. As the name aptly applies, the product aims to bridge connections between corporate data centers and cloud providers. It is a layer 2 network bridge that includes end-to-end security (IPSEC) and network performance optimization. Cloud Bridge accomplishes the network optimization through compression, packet optimizations, and de-duplication. Performance improvement data is not yet available, but I plan to follow up on that in the near future.
More recently, Amazon Web Services announced AWS Direct Connect which allows organizations to establish a dedicated circuit between corporate infrastructure/applications and AWS at either 1Gbps or 10Gbps connections. AWS already has a an intriguing Virtual to Cloud (V2C) tool (AWS VM Import) that works well for converting Windows Server 2008 VMware-based images to AWS AMIs, but adoption is slow due to Internet bandwidth bottlenecks. It simply hasn’t been practical to convert and move large VMs yet. By establishing a dedicated circuit to AWS, the bottleneck is largely erased for customers that are serious about moving large VMs or large amounts of data to AWS quickly.
Personally, I think both solutions will be very successful and have different use cases. Cloud Bridge is more versatile and will improve and secure connections to several cloud providers. AWS Direct Connect is for those customers highly dedicated to using AWS for serious data transfers. Both solutions will need some more time to bake however. Netscaler Cloud Bridge will need time to proliferate into all the major cloud providers as it will require a presence at each cloud provider and AWS Direct Connect is currently only available as a cross-connect from the Ashburn, VA Equinix facility.
We are approaching a “meet me in the middle” solution where most enterprises need a lot of on-premise hosting, some traditional managed hosting and setup (like dedicated circuits, design assistance, concierge-level support), and also some cloud (for workloads that need scalability or can handle elasticity). The hybrid cloud picture is coming together. Both these announcements are positive improvements in supporting this concept.
I’m excited to see the adoption rate and early feedback on both solutions and am wondering what other players might get serious in this market soon. How about you?