The virtual cloud network – Building an engine for future innovation

By Bart Coole - country manager Vmware BeLux

August 15, 2018

A business is a bit like a car: you have the design to make it look as visually appealing as possible, and the engine underneath the hood to deliverperformance, reliability and efficiency. For businesses, the network is their engine. But continuing with the car analogy: do you believe the engine of a 197Peugeot 104 is going to power a 2018 Audi TT?  

No, and today’s hardware-based networks are not going to power today’s digital business. To paraphrase Henry Ford (If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”): so if we were to keep designing faster hardware, we would be stuck with a network that has reached its physical limitations. So it’s time we looked at something that can revolutionize a business’s ability to deliver better customer experiences. The network that got you to today is not the one that’s going to bring you forward!

Powerful new applications have become the lifeblood of companies across all industries. Already, some global manufacturers can generate up to four petabytes of data a month through their day-to-day operations; Did you know intelligent vehicles produce two gigabytes of data for every 100 kilometers?  

Imagine this:you’re a logistics company with 1500 lorries, each averaging 500 kilometers a day; if you used your existing hardware infrastructure, you would be overwhelmed by the amount of data your operations generate. But you areunable to identify, analyse or secure it, and missing the opportunity to use that data to innovate and grow.Why? Because the key here is that data has little value. What organizations need is contextual information, the understanding of data.

My network? Too complex.

It’s a challenge many are facing – 90% of organizations feel they are disadvantaged by the complexities of their network, and 82% experience network downtime (disruption) caused by manual errors, according to a recent report from Dynamic Markets.  

And it’s only going to grow: appsand data now reside everywhere– thanks to our mobile culture, IoT and edge computingin the data center, in the cloud, at the branch and even in a sensor at the edge of the network. Currently, around 10% of enterprise generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner predictsthis figure will reach 50% . More than this, how much of that data will remain human-generated?

Centers of data’

Turningdata into information will be the foundation fornew business models. As such, the key imperative for any network must then be to provide business users with information at the point of demand. It must be delivered fast, securely and irrespective of the cloud it might have crossed, or the type of application. Even more critical it must be seamless to the device the person chose to be using. Today’s business is about consumer simple and human choice. How do we create this “enterprise secure productivity.”

The move from data centers to ‘centers’ of information is putting masses of pressure on the traditional network – largely because typical security solutions, which aren’t built into the infrastructure itself. By design this legacy doesn’t allow free, secure movement of data or enable the interpretation of it. Today, security has to be so inherent that when breaches occurthey can be automatically detected and compartmentalized, so any potential impact can be minimized.

However, leveraging a virtual cloud network where the scale of security, compute and storage is infinite means we can now enable the secure handling of data in real-time, with near-zero failure.

Simplifying, improving and strengthening

This new approach, the virtual cloud network, focuses on creating end-to-end connectivity and security to deliver business technology to the hands of the user, over any cloud, for any application type, any service and any transport; whether that’s a smart vehicle, a remote worker, a sensor in a wind farm in the North Sea – the applications are infinite.

It essentially overlays cyber-hygiene over the traditional hardware layer by moving the intelligence that traditionally lived in hardware into software. This provides infinite scale and storage potential. At the same time, it allows organizations to quickly aggregate, automate and draw insight from their applications and data – so businesses can mine the most value out of their existing processes while maximizing future business opportunities.

The virtual cloud network is not just a vision but the platform for the future of networks. The only way businesses can operate in a digital world is by being able to respond to market conditions faster than the competition, provide employees with the tools for maximum productivity, all while maintaining the integrity of their operations – and ultimately brand.  A software based approach provides this, offering application safety, an antidote to companies afraid to innovate, and the most impressive sand box for developers. Hardware cannot deliver that anymore – software can.

What a Virtual Cloud Network can do for your business 

Your traditional hardware network is reaching the physical limitation of what it can deliver and support. In response, the vision of a Virtual Cloud Network focuses on creating end-to-end connectivity and security to deliver business technology into the hands of the user, over any cloud, for any application type, any service and any transport; the potential applications are infinite.

A Virtual Cloud Network sees the network become a universal fabric into which anything that requires network connectivity can be plugged. By doing so, it gives businesses have the digital foundation needed to choose their next move:  to innovate faster, develop with agility and focus on what they do best.  This infographic shows how the Virtual Cloud Network is transforming organizations and industries:

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