5 Network Modernization Scenarios

How network automation accelerates digital transformation

Ed Baichtal

It’s just a fact that successful digital transformation hinges on automating a number of infrastructure services, but none more vital than the network. Legacy network deployments just can’t meet the performance requirements to create a digital advantage for the following reasons:

  • Traditional network services can’t be deployed fast enough to support new digital and cloud services and applications, delaying time to market.
  • As businesses expand geographically and across multiple clouds – traditional networks are not close enough to end-users to maximize performance.
  • Not being able to privately connect between two different clouds, where multiple applications span across multiple clouds, limits new development.
  • As applications continue to move to the cloud, IT organizations need to secure corporate networks as more public endpoints are being exposed to growing security threats.
  • Time spent on manual network configs/adds/changes slows new network deployments.

Today’s network devices need to be deployed quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. And with the current environment given the global COVID-19 pandemic, accomplishing this is getting harder to do with the limitations around available networking hardware and the personnel to install it.

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Modernizing networks with virtualization

By deploying virtual network devices that support network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities such as SD-WAN, VPNs, firewalls and cloud-to-cloud routing, you can deploy a modern network  ̶  from the core to the edge  ̶  in just minutes, without additional hardware. The following scenarios leverage Network Edge from Equinix to create more agile and scalable virtual networks that leverage leading NFV providers, such as Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Palo Alto/CloudGenix, Versa and VMware VeloCloud. Network Edge services allow you to deploy virtual network devices through a self-service portal, including interconnecting to cloud service providers (CSPs) or your own network service providers (NSPs) via the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric® (ECX Fabric®).

Scenario #1: Optimize Connectivity Between Cloud Providers

In this first scenario, we’re enabling private interconnection between clouds where applications that need to interact are spanning across multiple CSPs. For example, a business may be hosting its front-end website in AWS, but leveraging Oracle Cloud for its back-end database. In order to optimize application performance, the company needs to quickly route between its database in Oracle and website in AWS. The company simply deployed a virtual router using Network Edge, with no upfront CAPEX or additional hardware, and connected it to both CSPs using ECX Fabric. This enabled the company to deploy applications closer to its customer and quickly exchange data between clouds.

It’s just a fact that successful digital transformation hinges on automating a number of infrastructure services, but none more vital than the network.

Scenario #2: Reach Edge On-Ramps to the Cloud to Connect to Clouds in Other Metros

Here we are providing connectivity between clouds in an Equinix location where a business doesn’t reside. The company has a presence in a Stockholm Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center and wants to route between Google Cloud and Azure in Amsterdam. Since it already has a physical equipment stack in Stockholm, it can’t justify the CAPEX to create another presence in Amsterdam. By using Network Edge, the company can create a virtual router in just a matter of minutes, connect it to Google and Azure in Amsterdam, and provision an ECX Fabric connection back to its Stockholm equipment. This allows the company to reach new markets, virtually, in minutes, and more cost-effectively leverage consumption-based billing.

Scenario #3: Protect Your Data Using a Hybrid Cloud Firewall

In this scenario, a company hosts public-facing applications in AWS, with traffic originating over the public internet to those applications. To access its virtual private cloud in AWS, the company leverages ECX Fabric, exposing the corporate network to the public facing endpoints in AWS.  To ensure greater security, a firewall was been placed between any corporate applications and the public cloud. Network edge enables the business to immediately protect itself by deploying a firewall within minutes, with no hardware or upfront CAPEX costs.

By deploying virtual network devices that support network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities…you can deploy a modern network ̶ from the core to the edge ̶ in just minutes, without additional hardware.

Scenario #4: Streamline Network Integration of New or Acquired Sites

A multinational manufacturing company, headquartered in Florida, with operations in 25+ countries wanted to gain secure access to newly acquired sites from the corporate WAN. Using Network Edge, it deployed redundant firewalls in Amsterdam. The company then used ECX Fabric to directly reach its existing primary and secondary NSPs and provision the connections to its WAN in just minutes versus months. This enabled the business to quickly and securely grant access to the corporate network for its newly acquired branch locations. 

Scenario # 5: Branch to Cloud SD-WAN

Traditional WAN infrastructure is not designed for accessing applications in the cloud. As more applications move to the cloud, the traditional approach of backhauling traffic to a centralized core deployment is no longer optimal or cost effective. SD-WAN enables enterprises to route traffic across a mix of network connections, (i.e., internet and MPLS) based on real-time availability and performance needs. SD-WAN architecture can also connect branches, data centers and clouds with faster, and with greater performance, for about a third of the cost versus exclusively using traditional WANs. SD-WAN bandwidth can be easily added as business requirements change. And localizing and optimizing traffic flows between the branch and the cloud applications through pre-integrated connectivity and close proximity to clouds improves application performance.

Network modernization using Network Edge services to deploy virtual network devices in just minutes, without additional hardware, enables you to expand your network’s global presence, increase application performance and create a more secure hybrid multicloud infrastructure for less cost. Network Edge also allows you to deploy redundant, highly available network devices for greater business continuity and disaster recovery.

You can see how easy it is to deploy Network Edge by viewing our demonstration, or take your own test drive.

Learn more about how you can increase your network agility.