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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cloud Concerns

Are We Going to Look Back and Say..."What Were We Smoking?"

You've got a blazin' fast gig network running like Usain Bolt on Jolt. You've tweaked every inch of the network and spent hours explaining that you "don't control the Internet" when their web browsing sessions slow to a crawl because some blowhard ISP decided to cap your bandwidth.
The winds have turned cold and a chill is in the air as management performs rain dances that bring ominous cloud computing towards the horizon. Now you need to watch for latency along the ISPs path to your servers... your data. What about packet loss dragging your throughput rates through the mud? Oh... don't even get me started about rate throttling! Makes me want to throttle someone! Let's ponder this case study... A customer of mine complained that communications between their offices seemed rather slow lately. They asked me to take a look at the traffic and evaluation the throughput rates. There seemed to be a consensus that some device was dropping packets along the path.

The IO graph screamed a story.The graph above is my rendition of what I'd seen that day - the trace files were to remain at the client.Do you see how that line seems to hit a ceiling? Oh yeah... a ceiling by the name of ***** (name hidden to avoid lawsuits). The ISP had promised them (and charged them)the world. In reality, however, they had put a cap on my customer's traffic that was way below what my customer paid for. Now... imagine that this is your corporate network and your service response times are dependent upon some ISP! Do you love your ISP that much?

Cloud computing brings up so many issues - the idea of putting the network health in the hands of the ISPs triggers my gag reflexes. Have you ever tried to work with an ISP to find out why your round trip latency times are so high? What are the bandwidth requirements of your apps? What will the end-to-end (client to cloud-based server) throughput be? Where will your data really be? What path will it take... today...? Who will pick up the phone when you call to say "the cloud is slow?"

Perhaps Lena Horne said it best... "Don't know why... there's no sun up in the sky... stormy weather... when my SERVER and I ain't together...". Lena knew networking!
The Analyze and Improve Network Throughput and Top 10 Reasons Your Network is Slow seminars explain throughput testing and the most common causes of poor performance.

Enjoy life - one bit at a time...