Two of the most powerful technology advancements in the past decade are mobile and cloud computing. Mobile puts more processing and communications capability in your hand than many organizations had in their entire data centers twenty years ago. The cloud efficiently and economically places services, applications and data in widely-distributed—and often remote—locations to meet the needs of market expansion, data sovereignty, new services delivery and optimized processing. Together, mobile and cloud have enabled more of the world to reap the benefits of an increasingly digital economy.
Enterprises that have adopted the cloud to deliver services cite the quantifiable CapEx and OpEx benefits of this strategy. However, widely-deployed or globally distributed organizations face the reality that multiple cloud service providers are needed to support geographic, applications and data needs. According to the RightScale State of the Cloud report, on average, an enterprise uses more than four cloud service providers to support their needs. While every enterprise is unique in its need for multiple cloud providers, some of the main drivers of this trend include the following:
- Legacy data residing in one cloud environment needs to be accessed by applications hosted at a different cloud provider located close to a new business venture.
- Conformance with regulations such as GDRP requires data and applications be hosted in the data’s country of origin, even if the data is used globally.
- Critical applications or remote geographies are not supported by a specific cloud provider, thereby requiring contracting with multiple cloud providers to support the enterprise’s business needs.
Multicloud environments present security and performance challenges
The need to connect services, data and applications across multiple cloud environments presents both security and performance challenges. With the increasing frequency of data breaches, security is continually a top-of-mind concern. Performance—specifically the need to locate services “at the edge” to reduce latency—is also a top priority.
Security and performance requirements of multicloud connectivity can be confidently addressed through the capabilities of private connections and virtualization. Private cloud connectivity, software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are giving enterprises greater control and flexibility in managing multicloud connectivity and security.
Reaching the cloud via private interconnection eliminates the security and performance risks inherent in using the public internet to connect cloud environments. Software-defined networks make it significantly easier for enterprises to configure and manage networks. Network functions virtualization makes it easy to deploy network services where needed without requiring purpose-built network hardware.
A growing demand for private connectivity to the cloud
Taking the path of least resistance, many enterprises initially opted to use the internet for connectivity among multicloud environments. With the ubiquity of the internet, connections were easy to establish and cost-effective. Unfortunately, from a security risk perspective, multicloud connectivity via the internet presents multiple points of vulnerability.
As enterprises move critical applications, data and services to multicloud environments, we see a growing demand for private interconnections between enterprises and cloud providers. Bypassing the public internet can significantly reduce digital threats to your network and data resources and can improve performance through reduced latency. In response to the demand for private traffic exchanges, the Global Interconnection Index projects a 48% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the global consumption of interconnection bandwidth across all industries from 2017 to 2021.
Connectivity options with global reach
When assessing cloud connectivity solutions, look for a platform that provides secure access to cloud environments in global locations where your enterprise applications, data and customers are located. Rapid implementation, centralized network configuration and management, and the ability to continually fine-tune the network to optimize security, data traffic and processing across widely-distributed cloud environments are key advantages of a global platform-plus-SDN approach to achieve private connectivity to the cloud.
Network Functions Virtualization further enhances connectivity
Software-defined networks are also making it nearly effortless for enterprises to deploy network services across widely-distributed networks. The benefits of virtualization, which continues to lower the cost of implementing and managing IT infrastructure, are now being applied to replicate the network appliance functionality in software that runs on commodity servers. This network functions virtualization enables enterprises to quickly deploy critical network functionality such as routers, firewalls, VPN terminators and WAN load-balancers where needed.
Using NFV, an enterprise can further enhance the security of cloud connections by deploying NFV next-generation firewalls and routers at multiple business points of presence to ensure questionable traffic is stopped before it reaches an enterprise’s clouds, users or on-premises IT. By eliminating the delay associated with hardware procurement, installation and configuration, network functions virtualization delivers significant savings in time and cost for enterprises with widely-distributed operations.
SDN, NFV, and a global connectivity platform for secure, optimized private connectivity
Enterprises extending the reach of their cloud presence face the complexity of managing widely-distributed applications, data and services. Fortunately, the combination of a global connectivity platform, software-defined networks, and network functions virtualization is simplifying the process and reducing the cost.
Private connectivity to the cloud eliminates security and performance risks of internet cloud connectivity. Software-defined networks facilitate quick deployment, configuration and continual optimization of network controls. Network functions virtualization enables nearly effortless deployment of network services across globally-distributed cloud environments. Together, these resources and capabilities allow enterprises to efficiently and securely manage connectivity, security and performance among multicloud environments.
We invite you to take the first step toward realizing these benefits by exploring Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, software-defined networks and network functions virtualization by visiting https://eqix.it/nfv.