As cloud computing continues to evolve, it’s becoming pretty clear that IT organizations need to start acting a lot more like service providers. Of course, what any service provider will tell you is that the quality of the service being provided is only as good as the network that supports it.
Within the enterprise today, there is already a mix of wide area networking technologies in place that provide various levels of network bandwidth. Most of those networking transport options are being steadily replaced by Ethernet. But for the time being, IT organizations are still going to have to contend with multiple types of WANs to deliver services that in the era of the cloud are more distributed than ever.
At the recent ITEXPO West conference, Adtran announced the Total Access 900e Gen 3 series of Ethernet and Multi-T1 IP Business Gateways that, in addition to being able to support voice services, provide 100 Mbps along with a Gigabit Ethernet interface. In addition, Adtran followed up this week with a new NetVanta 6250 IP Business Gateway that makes it easier to transition from a T1 network to Ethernet.
On the face of it, these are clearly carrier-class networking products. But as cloud computing ambitions of enterprise IT organizations continue to grow, the line between carrier and enterprise-class networking products is going to increasingly blur. Obviously, not every enterprise IT organization is essentially becoming a carrier. But as Ethernet bandwidth grows, enough of them are that companies with global operations are clearly going to be expanding their Ethernet networks to gain access to higher amounts of WAN bandwidth at a much lower cost.
According to Christie Holder, product manager for the Enterprise Networks Division at Adtran, the primary issue these organizations will encounter is going to be finding the networking platform that guarantees the highest levels of quality of service, which Holder says is one of the primary reasons many carriers rely on Adtran networking products to deliver their services.
Adtran may not be the most familiar name in the enterprise, but it’s no stranger to industrial-strength networking. It’s clear that these kinds of networking capabilities are going to be increasingly required by organizations looking to control their own cloud computing future in the most granular way possible. Whether they choose to do that themselves or continue to rely on carriers will be up to them. The more important thing will be having a deep understanding of the real capabilities of the underlying networking technologies that they are ultimately depending on to deliver those services.