Scalable infrastructure can help companies to move to a flexible, modern way of working: commonly known as ‘digital transformation’.

So say Colt product manager Mike South and COO Rajiv Datta, who agree that the cloud has been instrumental in enabling on-demand networking:

“The scale of the compute power offered up by the cloud confers the level of agility that digital business requires, since making decisions on the back of historical data is no longer good enough,” says South. “The cloud allows organisations to spin up the tools in minutes to turn unending quantities of unstructured data into decisions to put them at the forefront of the digital marketplace.

However, cloud adoption is not the only step in the process; modern, flexible systems and legacy infrastructure do not play well together. South continued:

“That decision-making takes place off campus, often in a data centre run by a third party, so accessing the data and acting on those decisions is now a critical consideration. However, enterprise networking is still largely based on a traditional model, similar to the enterprise IT market before the cloud. Lead times are still measured in weeks, bandwidths are fixed and configuration changes need to be manually requested.

“Technological developments in software-defined networking have enabled the introduction of on-demand network services, bringing the cloud experience to connectivity. Customers have direct control over their services via a customer portal, and new connections can be delivered in near real-time with bandwidths that can be flexed up and down to meet application demand.”

Datta agreed that education is just as important as adoption. He told us, “Part of the on-demand story is educating customers on how they can use it in their environment, because it changes their business processes. The cloud has introduced on-demand capabilities because it’s consumed on demand, whether adjusting your storage or compute requirements in real time coupled with a usage-based billing construct. On-demand networking matches those capabilities and features.”