Cloud computing seems to have as many definitions as there are clouds in the sky, however its impact on today’s data centers is undeniable. Public clouds allow fast moving companies to outsource compute and storage on a pay-as-you-go basis, but it is private clouds that we’d like to discuss in this paper. Simply stated, private clouds describe an architecture in which the servers and networks in the data center can rapidly respond to changing demands, by quickly scaling compute capacity and connecting that server capacity where it is needed. The technology underlying this fluidity is server virtualization, which by now has been established as a reliable and essential core technology for most data centers.
As a result, cloud computing architectures are being massively deployed in today’s data centers because they offer unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. These advantages are critical to many Wall Street firms, which have implemented cloud computing to help them innovate and compete more successfully. Fortune 500 enterprises are also using cloud computing to quickly scale application capacity in response to changing business conditions. Instead of waiting for servers to be delivered, installed, and provisioned, cloud computing lets them increase capacity by making selections on a control screen. At the other end of the spectrum, smaller businesses are turning to cloud computing to accomplish more work with limited budgets, using virtualization to squeeze out optimal efficiency from their server and network investments. Regardless of the size of the data center, it is critical that improvements to the network infrastructure are put in place to enable the benefits of the new flexible server capacity to be harvested.