Cloud computing has changed significantly over the years.
Where once the main question for organisations was whether to move all or part of their operations to a given service provider, today most are operating distributed – and often complex – multi-cloud environments spanning private, public and hybrid cloud.
The business benefits have of course been profound, with the recent COVID-19 experience further bringing home the power of being able to shift and scale multiple workloads in agile, cost-effective ways.
Everything from mobilising staff to work from home, spinning up new projects such as dev-ops or new marketing campaigns with teams in multiple jurisdictions, can be achieved with minimal effort and cost, virtually immediately.
It’s also now increasingly common for organisations to have workloads from the same project reside in different cloud environments as needs dictate.
You might have an SQL database now sitting in Azure or a specific ERP platform now in Oracle cloud. Alternatively, you might be looking at web hosting and want to leverage a specific CDN (content delivery network) to help bring content closer to your users.
Many companies have their own on-premise data centres of course, but with specific project workloads residing in other people’s clouds. In fact, and possibly somewhat more worryingly, it’s not all that unusual for companies to have data and systems spread across more cloud services than they’re ever aware of.
Is your network ready?
As the multi-cloud space becomes more intricate and complex, the onus is now more than ever on organisations to ensure they have the fastest, farthest-reaching, most reliable and secure network infrastructure supporting them. Otherwise, you’re in for a bumpy ride, as the performance of your multi-cloud environment is quite deterministic.
The top three things you need to consider in choosing the right communications provider are:
If your connections are stable and reliable you won’t see bumps in latency, or strangles / bottlenecks throughout. It also means you’re better placed to take advantage of key features offered by cloud providers. For instance, most now allow you to have VPN gateways to use whatever service provider you have, creating tunnels directly from your office.
Or you might want to have direct connects, or ‘express routes’ providing dedicated connectivity between yourself and your cloud provider of choice. Private links can be achieved as an extension of IP WAN or layer 2 point-to-point.
In addition to how you connect, another thing to consider is that each cloud provider has different ‘availability zones’ in different geographic regions.
For example, AWS has three different ‘zones’ for Asia Pacific, while Microsoft operates four different regions for Azure. In fact, virtually all cloud providers offer different services in different regions, and it’s very important to map those with your own specific regional locations.
Key to this is partnering with a communications provider operating a proper, independently-owned international network so you’re able to confidently take advantage of the full ‘global’ range of services and features.
Strong connectivity in local metropolitan and regional areas is critical too.
An increasing number of cloud service providers allow customers to buy dedicated ports, and communications providers with access to dark fibre infrastructure are able to more easily and quickly provision those links, for example via IP WAN or Layer 3 point-to-point.
And let’s not forget security.
In today’s fast-expanding multi-cloud universe, it’s more important than ever to have not only the right security checks and balances in place for data and systems living outside the company firewall, but to ensure you’re with a communications provider you know is supporting you with a modern, reliable, fully-redundant network guaranteeing your information goes where it’s intended, and nowhere else.
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