Will we ever run out of the cloud?
Recently, the popular video-on-demand provider Netflix had to reduce video quality in Europe due to the strain on the region’s internet service providers.
Elsewhere, due to the world’s largest work-from-home exercise, customers of telcos and network service providers are becoming more reliant on satisfactory connectivity to the cloud.
If this should imminently be replicated at scale globally, there is fear that networks will not be able to cope.
Let us analyse this fear systematically: the worry of running out of cloud resources is related to the environment where these clouds live in, that is, the data centres.
The cloud service providers (CSP) that are present in or operate these data centres do so using the services of hundreds of service locations globally, interconnecting them to form a large cloud fabric.
The larger players build their own data centres and are also depend on cloud interconnection or cloud exchange to achieve hyper scalability.
The vulnerability variable is therefore the interconnectivity pathway.
If this connectivity breaks due to the unexpected surge in traffic due to the current circumstances or any massive cyberattacks, the result will be slow internet access or even outages.
Given enough of this strain around the world, the longer-term effects may be debilitating and disruptive enough. Enterprises may face more unplanned downtimes which may affect the way they do business.
In reality, this is worst-case scenario, but generally, the answer to the question of whether we can ever run out of cloud resources is a qualified NO.
However, the ICT infrastructure supporting the cloud applications can go down in quality and scalability.
If network operators cannot easily respond to problems caused by massive surges in demand, it could lead to a chain of other business problems.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom has already warned the market to expect some possible disruption to its supply chain in the network equipment sector due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
When even Microsoft Azure suffered outages last year, it goes to show that the cloud platform is not going to run dry but it will not be infallible either.
How to avert this scenario?
If the recent rush for toilet paper hoarding is anything to go by, any crisis-induced cloud outages and lowered quality of internet connectivity can result in stampede for stable and fast bandwidth.
This can then shift the strain to elsewhere in the CSP value chains including network operators and other IT service providers.
The greatest proportion of cloud clients are businesses that rely on all the basic cloud connectivity in their chosen multi-cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure.
To avert this kind of scenario, and in preparation for all future pandemics and any potential coordinated cyber-attacks, now is the perfect time to examine what it will take to harden your interconnection. Here are some critical considerations:
Smaller service providers are at higher risk because they may not have access to globally interconnected data centres. Their crisis readiness depends on a mixture of in-house data centres, colocation, CSPs, and some peering at the internet exchanges. Their business thrives on having the best network routes to deliver their applications to customers, critically dependent on the reliability of the data centre interconnection and the network infrastructure.
- Even the larger players are only as resilient as the security, reliability and interconnectedness of their own data centres.
- The common threads that both large and small service providers rely on are therefore the data centres and the interconnection between them, in terms of how fast and simple is it to access the IT resources they need.
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) providers for SaaS and PaaS providers, as well as digital service providers, offer the icing on the cake for business to adopt serverless computing.
This is especially important in the ongoing drive to digitalise and leverage new technology and analytics to squeeze business intelligence out of data. Serverless computing will be highly susceptible to the quality of connectivity and the network fabric.
With these considerations in mind, have we driven across the point that data centre interconnection and the cloud are all contingent on the same constant?
Tapping into the ubiquitous connectivity fabric
It takes a global connectivity specialist to glue data centres, CSPs and networks into an interconnect network fabric that’s flexible, scalable and secure enough for all kinds of business.
Not only that, the connectivity services have to be quick to deploy and on-demand. Or integrate easily into existing platforms with the use of APIs.
The cloud is here to stay and it’s growing faster than ever even in times like these.
We are seeing this reality as global CSPs like Alibaba Cloud continues to make significant investments into their infrastructure and Google Cloud reporting significant growth rate.
In regard to the cloud infrastructure that much of the world now relies on, let us take this opportunity to spruce up our network connectivity in order to be more resilient during any global catastrophes.