Buyer's Handbook: Now data center interconnect lets traffic ride the cloud Article 1 of 2

Data center interconnect options: Do you need cloud DCI?

Current cloud data center interconnect options highlight both the evolution of the enterprise's relationship to the cloud and the evolution of the internet and WANs.

Although most organizations use the cloud for production service delivery, most also retain significant amounts of work in their own data centers, which they use as integration hubs for their various clouds. They also steadily integrate more of the internal and external workloads.

So, they place increasing pressure on the internet to act as part of their WAN.

The two responses to this are the introduction of cloud data center interconnect (CDCI) and the rise of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) to supplement or replace traditional WANs with internet. The former deals with the unpredictability of the internet by avoiding it; the latter applies redundancy and application-centric traffic management to get around it.

While the shift is picking up steam, we also see enterprises embracing other development models, mainly DevOps, and new application architectures, mainly microservices. The goal is to deliver cloud-like solutions and become more responsive to organizational needs, more efficient and more agile in pursuing business and operational goals.

Enterprises also want to be able to assemble a service offering by connecting parts resident anywhere -- whether developed in-house or purchased, running in-house or cloud-based as a service. They want to rebuild the IT service delivery portfolio around collages of components however best meets their needs for speed, function and cost. And all parts must talk to each other with acceptable levels of speed, reliability and continuity.

As enterprises reshape themselves to work more like clouds and cloud service providers, and increasingly deliver amalgams of microservices scattered across internal data centers and external clouds, CDCI and SD-WAN will become essential to success. Every enterprise IT operation should be evaluating both, and even small IT shops should be looking at cloud data center interconnect options.