Research Reveals IT/Cloud Professionals Rate Network Efficiency Number One Priority for Optimizing Data Center Performance

Research Reveals IT/Cloud Professionals Rate Network Efficiency Number One Priority for Optimizing Data Center Performance

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  March 06, 2019

Efficiency and effectively reducing costs are the leading challenges internationally for today’s data centers. In most situations, data centers are not being used to their full potential, are over-provisioned and not very efficient. However, recent trends are showing that many cloud, enterprise, and telecommunication companies are taking strides to increase efficiency within data centers.

With robust applications now being hosted in the cloud, propelling the development of applications using big data, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence the effort to build a scalable cloud infrastructure is a huge challenge.

The amount of data now coming into data centers presents difficulties for traditional networks and the need for capable, reliable, and sturdy networks are massively important so that the network isn’t a hindrance for the cloud. The addition of more expensive servers or greater CPU power has become an inefficient solution to increase data center performance with a growing focus on more capable solutions to advance network efficiency.

It is in the same vein that a combined study was conducted by Futuriom, a research and analysis community focused on next-generation technologies and Mellanox Technologies, a multinational supplier of computer networking products using InfiniBand and Ethernet technology, to look across medium to large enterprises throughout China, the USA and the UK to support a comprehensive analysis of how today’s data center experts are undertaking the challenge of advocating powerful applications, i.e. artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics across public, private and hybrid clouds.

These three countries were chosen to show a diverse, global outlook from within regions where data center infrastructure is currently being deployed the most.

The study showed that the software-defined virtualization and network optimization approach was met with the greatest enthusiasm, with processor offload and SmartNICs being the favored solution for improved data center performance. The overarching conclusion being that the network, the core of performance to the cloud, requires definitive transformations to be able to keep up with their cloud-scale initiatives.

“Over 200 director level or higher data center professionals – from US, UK and China-based cloud, telecommunications and enterprise IT – were screened by country and company size by analyst firm, Futuriom, to dig deeper into actual working practice and the key trends.” Says Kevin Deierling (News - Alert), VP of Marketing, Mellanox Technologies. “There was a lot of interest in SmartNICs – a bare 10% did not know what they were. Their applications included improving the efficiency of VMs and/or containers (56%), virtualizing and sharing flash storage more efficiently (55%), isolating and stopping security threats (47%), accelerating hyper-converged infrastructure (50%), and enabling SDN (54%).”

The potential benefits of upgrading the network with the latest optimization technologies to improve data center performance that was recognized in the report include:

  • Faster application performance (64%)
  • Heightened security (59%)
  • Greater flexibility (57%)
  • Application reliability (57%)

In addition, almost all IT/cloud professionals believed that network infrastructure was either “very important” or “important” to deliver artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) capabilities.

“The data center is being reinvented,” states Scott Raynovich, Chief Analyst, Futuriom. “It’s a real challenge to build a cloud infrastructure that can scale to support demanding applications that can embrace big data, analytics, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence. The very techniques developed by hyperscale cloud giants are now migrating to the enterprise, where distributed applications now rule. There’s more pressure than ever for networks to perform, and new technologies are beginning to be deployed to make sure that networks don’t become the bottleneck for the cloud. This report provides the most detailed insight into why this matters, and how key players are reshaping the road map.”

To find out more, the report can be downloaded in full here.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle