Understanding Management and Control in the Cloud

Mittal Parekh September 8, 2020

ruckus-cloud-wifi-homepage-image“All that glitters is not gold” is an aphorism that rings true even for cloud-managed networking solutions. This is because there are three subsystems or planes – control, management and data – in a typical network management solution. These subsystems or planes are also applicable for cloud-based network management.

When a vendor advertises a cloud-based network management solution, they expect enterprise IT to ask them if the solution offers a management plane in the cloud – or both a management plane and control plane in the cloud. Why should IT bother to ask? Well, IT should care because there is a difference and it is very pronounced. Let me explain.

From our perspective, management includes all the network device management tasks that IT performs throughout the lifecycle of a network device. Let me provide some tangible examples from the world of Wi-Fi management:

  • Creating a Wi-Fi network
  • Assigning a Wi-Fi network (SSID) to an access point (AP) or a group of APs
  • Setting day/time limits when a Wi-Fi network is visible and available to end users
  • Wi-Fi AP firmware upgrades
  • Collecting general network operation data

Similarly, control includes the following elements and more:

  • Discovery of neighboring Wi-Fi APs
  • Setting up a mesh configuration among Wi-Fi APs and mesh routing
  • End-user device hand-off between APs
  • All layer 3 routing and layer 2 switching actions

CLICK TO TWEET: CommScope’s Mittal Parekh discusses management and control for cloud-based network management solutions.

What happens when a solution only offers management in the cloud but no control in the cloud?

Essentially, this means the control function must be on-prem somewhere and you certainly don't have to go looking very far. Most of the time, the control function is hosted inside of a Wi-Fi AP.

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Now that this is clear, let's further explore the pros and cons of each solution.

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Now you know. So, if you are evaluating a cloud-based wired and wireless management solution, make sure to ask where the "control" resides. You'll be glad you did.

It is worth mentioning that RUCKUS Cloud, our AI-enabled converged network management-as-a-service platform, offers both management and control in the cloud. Want to try it? Click here to secure a free Wi-Fi AP and start your free RUCKUS Cloud trial today!

About the Author

Mittal Parekh

Mittal Parekh is Product Marketing Director for RUCKUS Cloud at CommScope. Most recently, Mittal spent several years as a product marketing and strategy leader in the startup universe tackling cybersecurity, mobile security, enterprise mobility, and virtualization challenges. Prior to that, Mittal held various Product Management and Product Marketing roles at Citrix Systems and Hewlett-Packard company delivering IaaS cloud, private cloud, mission critical systems, as well as identity and security management solutions. Mittal holds an MBA from Cornell University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Ball State University and a B.E. in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai.