While Gartner forecasts roughly 25% growth in enterprise adoption of the public cloud for the next several years, one glaring issue remains – How to Get There. I don’t mean how to grow cloud usage, or even how to support setting up new cloud environments, I mean literally, How to Get There. That is, how to access public cloud in an efficient, secure, and cost-effective manner. While cloud usage varies enormously across enterprises in terms of infrastructure type (IaaS/PaaS vs SaaS), volumes of traffic, multicloud vs single provider, etc. most would agree that simply “going through the Internet” leaves a lot to be desired. The relative merits of access type are mostly hidden from the users, and often, even Cloud developers, but there ARE significant differences.
In a recent Research Note, titled How to Optimize Network Connectivity Into Public Cloud Providers, analyst Lisa Pierce and her co-authors describe the performance and cost challenges enterprises face when connecting into Cloud Service Providers they consider strategic. Quite often, access is given little consideration until after the provider has been selected and services begun, when the network team is asked to “fix” performance problems. The research highlights several types of specialized connectivity, including Software Defined Cloud Interconnection, or SDCI.
In short, SDCI allows the enterprise to establish a high speed connection to the communications routers of a cloud provider via a software defined connection that takes place in a carrier neutral data center or a carrier’s private cloud connect hub. Think of it like a High Occupancy Vehicle Lane on a highway; enterprise or even end user traffic is aggregated in the communications data center, and merged onto a high speed fiber or switched connection that feeds, often at speeds up to tens of Gigabits into the cloud. Rather than traversing the open Internet, such routes can be entirely private, from a nailed up circuit from the enterprise to the hub, and from the hub into the cloud. Among other recommendations, the authors suggest “using SDCI to enable multicloud use cases or to improve flexibility, management simplicity and performance” of enterprise cloud access.
When considering any cloud deployment, even SaaS, it is best practice to involve networking staff on the cloud plans, traffic estimates, even the degree to which data from one cloud might be used in the applications of another. Like building a house, applying the right architecture up front can make a world of difference when it comes to living with your results. Check out Lisa’s research!