Europe embraces the cloud... just not volcanic ones

by Alberto.Soto on ‎07-13-2010 01:44 AM (471 Views)

I am almost two weeks into my life at Brocade and I am pleased to say that I have hit the ground running and am proud to be spearheading the company’s EMEA operations, and positing my first blog. My first couple of days at Brocade were spent in Staines, near London, meeting my EMEA management team. While Staines itself is... um, interesting... getting to meet members of my team was an invigorating experience. The passion and commitment from the organisation is unmatched and coupled with the market opportunity ahead of us, I am relishing the challenge ahead.

While this was my first visit to Staines, it wasn’t my first to the area. As London Heathrow airport is merely a few miles away, I recognized a lot of the surrounding area – albeit, normally seen from a few thousand feet up and through layers of cloud. However, as a frequent traveller based in Europe, I am sick and tired of hearing about clouds! “Alberto, what are you going on about?” I hear you say. You probably remember reading about how travel schedules across most of Europe were terrorised by a plume of volcanic ash during April and May. Southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano grounded flights across European air space, leaving countless travellers stranded.

Now, you are probably wondering why I mention clouds and volcanic ash? At the same time travel chaos hit Europe, Brocade conducted a survey of 200 European CIOs to find out how they were embracing cloud-based computing models. Our findings showed that European enterprises are beginning to embrace the business opportunities offered by virtualizing assets and accessing applications through the cloud.

More than 60 percent of enterprises are expecting to have started the planning and migration to a distributed – or cloud – computing model within the next two years. Why? Well, respondents told us that the key business drivers for doing so are to reduce cost (30 percent), improve business efficiency (21 percent) and enhance business agility (16 percent).

The findings reinforce Brocade’s vision that data centers and networks will evolve to a highly virtualized, services-on-demand state enabled through the cloud. Brocade recently outlined its vision, called Brocade One™, at its annual Technology Day. Brocade One is a unifying network architecture and strategy that enables customers to simplify the complexity of virtualizing their applications. By removing network layers, simplifying management and protecting existing technology investments, Brocade One helps customers migrate to a world where information and services are available anywhere in the cloud.

The days when the majority of computing power was in the data center are behind us. Today, we have incredibly smart end points with lots of computing power that are remote, distributed and mobile. Information and applications are virtualized and can reside anywhere within the cloud. While our findings show that European adoption is on the rise, businesses need to address a number of very real challenges/concerns to reap the benefits of the cloud – enterprises, in the majority of cases, are investing in the development of a private cloud infrastructure due, in part, to concerns over security. Over a third of respondents cited security as the most significant barrier to cloud adoption, closely followed by the complexities of virtualizing data centers, network infrastructure and bandwidth.

As data centers become distributed, the network infrastructure must take on the characteristics of a data center. And if the network becomes your data center, then the network is your business. For the cloud to work, the network needs to be scalable and deliver high performance and security – without these traits any migration is doomed. What our research tells us is that companies are now recognising the profound economic implications of adopting cloud solutions and are ready to make the journey of adoption, but only if the foundation infrastructure is sound.

Brocade is once again ahead of the competition with Brocade One as the unifying architectural vision. We can help ensure that businesses can migrate to a cloud-based environment, and deliver that sound foundation they require. Now, if we can figure out how to keep planes in the air during volcano eruptions I will be a very happy man.