Design Con 2015

Test equipment gets boost from the cloud

-August 02, 2013

The rapid increase in the adoption of cloud-based services among enterprises, financial institutions, healthcare, and government sectors will drive the demand for test solutions among service providers and network equipment manufacturers.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s recent research, the global cloud infrastructure testing market generated revenue of $95.2 million in 2012. Despite the advances in the cloud infrastructure and virtualization, IT organizations, and businesses across the world face database, hardware, and software downtimes of varying magnitude. On average, businesses lose between $84,000 to $100,000 for every hour of IT system downtime.

In order to mitigate these challenges and ensure customer satisfaction, the cloud infrastructure must have high reliability and quality. Cloud service providers typically have individual approaches towards infrastructure testing and there are no widely accepted methods in the industry. As businesses continue to move their applications and data to the cloud, the need for service providers and Network Equipment Manufacturers (NEMs) to invest in test solutions is expected to increase rapidly. Other key factors behind the growth of this market are increasing importance for security, service assurance and adoption of IPv6.

The cloud infrastructure testing market is expected to reach revenue of $366.2 million in 2020 by growing at a CAGR of 18.3 percent from 2012 to 2020.

Chart 1.1 illustrates the global revenue for the cloud infrastructure testing market for 2012 and 2020.

 

Cloud Security is a MUST!

Considering the cost advantage, businesses are adopting cloud-based services and investing actively in moving their business applications and data to the cloud. In this process, IT administrators tend to overlook problems facing their organization in the form of cyber attacks and privacy issues.

Over the past two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of publicized security breaches aimed at stealing corporate and individual identity. As cyber groups continue to use sophisticated methods to exploit security in the cloud using advanced persistent threats (APTs) and zero-day attacks, the question of whether the cloud is secure still remains unanswered.

With the increase in the frequency of attacks and number of publicly disclosed attacks, it is important to reiterate the need for testing the network infrastructure using a robust virtual private network (VPN), firewall testing, and security monitoring systems.

Due to the volatile nature of security breaches and the attack methods, businesses are beginning to realize that it is not sufficient to simply ramp up security investments, but that it is important to deploy test and monitoring systems that can detect, prevent, and recover from such incidents. One other factor contributing to the increase in need for security is the widespread adoption of cloud-based services by end-user segments, such as social media, healthcare, banking, retail, and government.

Under the current cloud ecosystem, while using the third-party cloud service provider the responsibility of securing the physical infrastructure of the cloud is also outsourced. In spite of the SLA agreements in place, the service providers are accountable for securing the data against cyber attacks. Factors such as high availability (99.9% uptime), mean time to recover (MTTR) from an outage, and demand for higher efficiency from customers and competitors force service providers to invest on security test solutions.

Importance of SLAs in the Cloud

Cloud computing has altered the way in which businesses operate by driving efficiency and productivity. Two of the most popular terms that have often been used in the cloud ecosystem are cloud-security and SLAs. Over the years, SLAs have emerged as a key competitive factor in choosing the cloud service provider. Businesses have understood the need to clearly set the expected service level depending upon the cloud service model (SaaS, PaaS, Iaas) and the cloud deployment model (public, private, and hybrid).

Businesses adopting the cloud are increasingly aware of the importance of establishing SLAs with the service provider. It is important for service providers and network equipment manufacturers to carry out performance tests by creating a replica of the exact cloud infrastructure including servers, routers, and IP gateways.

Enterprise Adoption of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing as a technology is witnessing a rapid adoption rate among global enterprises. Cloud-based storage and applications are fast becoming an integral and widely accepted part of organizational IT strategy. According to a recent analysis by Frost & Sullivan, 33 percent of organizations stated that cloud is their top priority in the current fiscal year. Hybrid clouds emerged as the most successful cloud delivery model, with 14 percent of the enterprises and 42 percent of cloud adopters choosing it over other models. The primary reason behind this is the prevailing concerns over factors such as security, availability, and SLAs of public clouds.

The need for ensuring security and privacy of business data remains a key factor driving the enterprise adoption of cloud computing. This reflects the lack of confidence among end users in the security of off-premise infrastructure and privacy of data in an outsourced location. Factors such as network security, application security, and access control are the key priorities when architecting a private cloud. With the rapid increase in the adoption of cloud-based services, the demand for test and monitoring solutions developed specifically for the cloud is expected to increase.

Impact of Network Downtime on Business

Though cloud computing has reshaped the IT and networking landscape, the threat and impact of a network or service outage continues to be hinder the growth and adoption of this technology. With end-user groups such as social media, healthcare, banking, and financial institutions moving to the cloud; incidents such as service outage and security attacks due to equipment failures, software and network behaviors, and natural disasters could impact the brand value directly. Cloud hosting service providers and third-party cloud-based application vendors use past statistics from planned and unplanned downtime as a key competitive factor in the marketplace.

In case of a network failure, it becomes difficult for cloud vendors to react to an unplanned downtime without any fault detection and monitoring systems in place. Network downtime also translates into reliability and service providers are investing heavily in making sure their network is capable of handling rapid variations in load.

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