Cloud computing cannot be fully understood as a standalone phenomenon in the global IT marketplace.

Rather, the Cloud should be viewed as the core component within a larger transformation of the global IT industry and the many industries using it to transform themselves.

The relationship between the Cloud and SDN is becoming increasingly close owing to the symbiosis and interdependence they share with one another, as well as the dramatic exponential increase in Cloud services uptake.  This is particularly evident in the public sector where, according to recent IDC Cloud research, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of Cloud service uptake is estimated at 23.5%, more than five times that of the industry overall.

Modern IT use places unprecedented demands and strains on traditional networks.  As cloud usage continues to grow in all its forms, traditional network architectures and their operational processes are beginning to display their shortcomings.

Cloud service providers depend on the most up-to-date network infrastructure to deliver the quality of service, drive growth and support client workloads.  Traditional networking is commercially unviable for today’s demands.

Cloud service providers and a growing number of the world’s largest enterprises are realising that when properly automated and orchestrated, network infrastructure and operational processes can deliver what is quickly becoming necessary.

Capacity management and orchestration are front and centre of the evolution to a true service-supporting virtual network constructed on the principles of NFV and SDN.  Considering a data-driven definition of both the network and capacity is the first step towards meeting the increasing demands of the Cloud.  When networks can be defined simply by data, any network architecture can be modelled or tweaked in real-time.

Network operators and operators of data centres supporting Cloud services need to effectively orchestrate capacity to derive the best possible value from infrastructure assets to deliver the most effective capacity management.  Central to this objective is effectively understanding the current and future demands on a network and enabling it to optimise itself in real-time to deliver to those demands.

Real-time automated optimisation is the key to fostering the symbiotic relationship that exists between the Cloud and SDN.  Although both virtualization and Cloud predate SDN, the latter is now providing a reliable and effective foundation for the growth and success of Cloud business models.