Contributed By


John Hawkins

Senior Advisor, Product and Technical Marketing at Ciena

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Build vs. Buy: 5 questions to ask about your cloud infrastructure

April 15, 2015

You’re a growing enterprise, and you are moving to the cloud. Sure, there are still questions around what applications and how aggressively you make the move, but the decision has already been made.

Here’s a timely piece on how to determine whether or not to build or lease the network that connects your IT users to the cloud, authored by my colleague Mitch Simcoe. Mitch is a director of industry marketing at Ciena.

You’re a growing enterprise, and you are moving to the cloud. Sure, there are still questions around what applications and how aggressively you make the move, but the decision has already been made. It’s the next big question that’s keeping you up at night: connecting your users to the cloud. How do you make sure you can keep up with the connectivity needs that cloud computing and all the other massive traffic drivers are creating?

You’re not alone. Every growing enterprise has to answer the build versus buy question for their network infrastructure -- in essence do you build out a private optical network or lease your infrastructure from a service provider as a managed service? And like all tough questions, there isn’t always an obvious answer.

It doesn’t help that the decision is being made by an increasing number of stakeholders in your company. As we begin to use the network for disaster recovery, cloud services, collaboration, VoIP and high-bandwidth applications such as video, enterprises now see the network less as a pipe that gets your data from A to B, and more as a genuine competitive advantage over their rivals. Suddenly, everyone from the CEO to the finance and marketing departments is in the boardroom, making a decision on the future of the company’s IT infrastructure.

This decision to build a private optical network versus lease as a managed service is not just as simple as favoring CAPEX to OPEX or vice versa – although that comes into play. Some of the questions that need to be answered before an enterprise makes the leap into a managed service or private optical network include:

  • Do you anticipate significant WAN network bandwidth growth, above 25% per year?
  • Do you think you’ll need bandwidth-on-demand?
  • Does your enterprise need or want multiple routes for disaster recovery and business continuity?
  • Are you concerned about data security, and how important is it to the business?
  • How quickly will you need the network up and running on a greenfield site?

Ultimately, there is no black or white answer on the decision to build or buy – it’s often many shades of grey.

This article originally appeared on the Ciena Insights blog.

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