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Cloud Services

Interoute CTO: 'Dumb' Legacy Hinders Cloud Adoption

There are many user concerns throttling the more widespread adoption of cloud services, such as security, but none more irksome than the legacy of David Isenberg's "Stupid Network" proposition from the 1990s, believes Matthew Finnie, the CTO of pan-European network operator Interoute Communications Ltd.

"Some major companies are dismissive of cloud services because they have preconceived ideas about data floating around" in a public cloud that can't be trusted as secure, stated Finnie during a presentation at the recent Cloud Computing World Forum in London.

But many of those perceptions have to do with a lack of understanding about networks and their capabilities, reckons Finnie.

"I blame Isenberg and his 'Rise of the Stupid Network.' Since then a lot of people have dismissed the network" as something that's incapable of delivering the services they need, stated Finnie, who spoke with Light Reading on the sidelines of the event.

That perception suits the IT vendors, stated Finnie. "They want enterprises to think the network is dumb" so they can sell them more products and services to compensate for the network's perceived shortcomings.

Now, Finnie wasn't attacking Isenberg or his theory -- written in 1997 and available to read here -- but rather the fallout from his much publicized views.

"It's really a matter of education. Isenberg was 1997 -- this is 2012. A lot of pushback comes from people not really thinking about how cloud services are offered and managed. A lot of that is because the worlds of networks and computing have been regarded as separate. But they're not," stated Finnie.

A lot of the fears associated with cloud services are largely unfounded, adds the CTO, who believes that the concerns will be overcome and that cloud services will be adopted more quickly than previous disruptive services such as VoIP.

"A lot of people are turned off because of the notion that they are sharing a network and that it's inherently insecure. 'Shared' is a word that scares people. But almost any of the networking resources used by companies are shared. It's all about how those resources are managed," he state during his presentation.

"MPLS is now the linchpin of most corporate networks," noted the CTO, and with MPLS you can build secure connections for the delivery of cloud services over shared networks, "as secure as anything a company could build itself."

He adds that network operators already have the references and experience to offer secure, reliable and sustainable cloud services. "We know how to manage this stuff," adds Finnie, who also has strong views about software-defined networking. (See Interoute's SDN Dream.)

So it'll take time for the cloud doubters to be swayed, but ultimately people will wonder what the fuss was about, reckons the CTO. Being asked to talk about whether cloud services are going to be adopted reminds him of "2002, when I was asked to talk about whether IP was here to stay."

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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