Monday, 25th January 2021

Changing face of cloud: solving multicloud connection challenges

By Eric Troyer, CMO at Megaport.

Getting the best out of what the cloud has to offer is the reason why multicloud adoption will be one of the most discussed topics in the IT world in 2020. However, there are several challenges that are associated with managing multiple cloud implementations and those who work in enterprise IT have to face them daily.

A recent survey by LogicMonitor shows that by 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud - including private, public or hybrid cloud scenarios Many companies will have multiple projects running on different cloud platforms, leading CIOs to explore whether they should use a single provider or explore how to best utilise the multicloud approach.

Those that turn to multicloud will undoubtedly see many benefits, however they need to consider carefully how to best manage multiple clouds and the associated data and network traffic. For some IT managers who are in charge of managing network traffic, the thought of routing and controlling workloads between diverse clouds could give them sleepless nights. Typically, there are three main concerns network teams have when it comes to multicloud traffic management. Many IT managers believe managing multicloud traffic will be complex, expensive and that it might require more hardware to manage. While all of these concerns are valid, they don’t have to be roadblocks. All of these concerns can be addressed and enable companies to succeed with the exact combination of cloud that works for its unique business needs.

Multicloud = multi-concerns?

Traditionally, managing traffic across multiple cloud zones requires a company to purchase separate network capacity for each zone and terminate traffic into a physical router that’s managed and owned by the company. This can take a lot of time and effort to set up – and even when executed correctly, it often results in wasted capacity. This approach isn’t just complex and time consuming, it’s also expensive and does not align to the on-demand, pay as you go model of cloud services. In addition to acquiring and managing extra routing hardware, there are significant capacity costs to consider. If an organisation can’t route traffic efficiently and flexibly, the entire approach to multicloud traffic management can end up hugely expensive in both the short and long-term.

One of the biggest concerns network managers have with this approach is that it is counterintuitive. Adding physical hardware and hair pinning cloud traffic to it simply doesn’t make sense. It pushes the network team back towards traditional hardware-based management activities and requires advanced IP routing expertise. The hair pinning of traffic often leads to unoptimized data paths and can increase round trip latency, thereby impacting cloud performance. Instead, these organisations should be focusing on developing cloud skills and innovating using virtualised networking tools that make connectivity easy – not taking two steps back into the hardware world.

The realities of virtual routing

Fortunately, a new solution has emerged to help solve these challenges and put cloud traffic management capabilities where they belong – in the cloud.

Next-generation routing software virtualises the routing functionality of an organisation’s architecture and enables businesses to flow traffic directly between cloud providers using a global Software Defined Network with paths optimised for reduced latency.

Because router functionality is virtualised, there’s no need for a business to manage physical hardware, it can be easily managed alongside the rest of an organisation’s networking functions and capabilities. It’s easier to configure, easier to manage, and offers significant cost and complexity advantages over deploying additional physical routers in a variety of locations to connect with cloud onramps.

But most importantly, virtual routers enable a company to make routing decisions closer to the cloud. There’s no disconnection between where a business monitors and manages its services and where it manages and routes traffic – enabling you to make faster decisions, streamline management processes, and add routing to the long list of network management tasks that can be completed in seconds through simple cloud-based dashboards.

Revolutionising cloud routing

If you are not already part of it, a multicloud world is likely to quickly become the new norm for all enterprise IT. With the development of big data, the demands on cloud technology are ever increasing. As multicloud environments continue to advance, network managers can tailor the solutions according to business needs to make traffic management across multicloud networks as simple, cost-effective, and manageable as possible. So, whatever a company wants to get from the cloud, and however complex their portfolio of cloud services and solutions may be, they will always have a way to control it without introducing additional complexity. Whatever path a company decides to take towards multicloud it must fit into an overall business strategy. That’s why it’s important to create the right IT environment for a business to thrive not just in the short-term but for many years to come. This will also help to minimise the sleepless IT nights.

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