Networking, Cloud and Converged Infrastructures

If HP’s Nick Watson is to be believed, the most commonly misunderstood area of IT is networking, according to an interview he gave to Computer Weekly.

Mr Watson was talking specifically referring to the idea that networking has been left out in the cold while other areas of the IT market have received much more attention and investment from business users.

He is of the opinion that it is necessary to take a convergent approach to modern IT rather than thinking about different elements as distinct from one another. Interlinking infrastructures and appreciating the important role played by networking in relation to the cloud are key to successful implementation of modern IT, according to Mr Watson.

Prioritising networking is certainly no bad thing for businesses, because without the network there is no cloud access and no broader infrastructure to harness.

A business must look not only at its internal network, but also consider how this is coupled with external services, because connectivity is the conduit for data and the cloud relies on seamless interaction between these varied elements in order to operate at the peak of its potential.

Mr Watson believes that the converged infrastructure should ultimately include storage and servers along with the networking in order to be arranged in the most productive and forward-thinking manner.

In short, he is recommending providers that are able to offer all of these things under one roof, rather than suggesting that businesses pick and choose networking, infrastructure and storage from separate firms in what can become an understandably fragmented arrangement.

Mr Watson admits that one of the main obstacles that stands in the way of the development of a more converged, unified approach to networking and the cloud is a general unwillingness among companies to completely dismantle existing set-ups and replace them immediately.

He sees the method of migration as being something that takes time to enact, because businesses need to be able to make the transition from old to new in their own time, or at least on a schedule that is dictated by the direction of the market and the manoeuvring of competitors.

The evolutionary nature of networks means that they are supplemented over the years, rather than designed once, used for a set period and then replaced outright when a new solution presents itself.

The result of this state of affairs is that networks can often suffer from errors and faults that are passed down from older generations of hardware and software that are still inextricably linked to the more modern elements.

Mr Watson perceives this as the epitome of the roadblock to progress in the world of networking. Of course, as the convergent generation of technology is put into action and businesses increasingly rely on the cloud for software, storage and even infrastructural services, the problems of the past will evaporate.

When the responsibility for maintaining and upgrading a network is outsourced, businesses will be able to avoid legacy issues and keep up to date with networking developments without having to handle these processes in-house.

With this will come increased stability as fragmentation and compatibility issues abate. In addition, companies will be able to receive security benefits since flaws and loopholes left by wheezy old networks will be avoided as patches and protection can be applied quickly.

Taking a holistic approach to infrastructures (which deals with the cloud) and networking (which facilitates it) may be very useful for businesses, particularly when far more technically complicated concepts are having to be grasped. Hopefully the world envisioned by Mr Watson and others will gradually come into being.

photo credit: Marco Wessel via photo pin cc

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