What if I said you could connect all your cloud network services and share applications and data between them from the comfort of your living room recliner? Then, what if I told you this can be done instantly – without needing to deploy new hardware? This is exactly what a virtual cloud router allows you to do.
So, what is virtual routing? A virtual router (also generically called a vRouter) is a virtual network functions (VNF) device that can be part of a legacy physical network, or an agile network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure. Software-based VNF devices deliver traditional hardware network appliance capabilities, such as SD-WAN gateways, cloud routers, virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls, on standard commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. Virtual cloud routing allows you to seamlessly connect your on-premises and private and public cloud environments together using virtual networking capabilities and create hybrid cloud architectures that lower hardware costs and enable clouds to work harmoniously together when sharing applications and data.
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Cloud Architecture 101
When we talk about cloud computing, there are three basic types – private, public and hybrid.
- A private cloud architecture delivers dedicated computing to one organization within your company.
- A public cloud architecture provides public cloud services that are shared across the enterprise and other organizations (partners, customers) in addition to your own. These services are typically accessed via the public internet. However, private interconnection delivers direct and secure connectivity that bypasses the public internet, improving performance and reducing risk. Virtual private connections can often save over 60 percent versus traditional connections over the public internet, while providing higher throughput.
- A hybrid cloud architecture can include:
- A least one public and one private cloud.
- Two or more private clouds or public clouds connected to on-premises physical or virtual infrastructure.
- A physical or virtual bare metal as a service (BMaaS) platform connected to one or more clouds (public or private), where businesses can consume compute and/or storage services as needed.
Next, let’s understand a few fundamentals about routers.
What is a router? A router is a networking apparatus that creates and sends out data packets (basic communication units over a network). The router’s job is to direct traffic over the internet. Data such as a web page or email is in the form of data packets.
What is a routing table? Routing tables contain a list of destinations and information about the network’s topology. In IP (Internet Protocol) networks, Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) is a technology that allows multiple routing tables to coexist in a router and work simultaneously.
What are the three basic modes of a virtual router? Virtual routers operate in three basic modes: backup state, master state, and initialize state. A physical router is a generalized router used for communication between the client and other networks on the Internet. It transports the IP packets based on the addresses present in the routing table. A virtual router is usually static without any interactions with the other networks.
What types of routing protocols does virtual routing support?
These protocols are enabled simultaneously in one virtual router:
- Static routing – used in the manually configured routing entry.
- Dynamic routing – used in real-time by way of logical network changes.
- Multicast routing – used in TCP/IP communication.
Virtual cloud routing enables network modernization that accelerates the fast and secure deployment of hybrid multicloud architectures. There has been a significant commitment to a hybrid multicloud strategy during the global COVID-19 pandemic as companies see it as a necessary choice for supporting remote workers and future growth, given ongoing systems shortages and facility lockdowns.
Hybrid multicloud environments balance corporate control of IT resources distributed across clouds and delivers them closer to users at the edge. And when you’re moving crucial applications and data to the cloud, the most effective solution is one that enhances or replaces legacy network architectures and scales along with your business.
How deploying virtual cloud routing optimizes your network, in minutes
Network Edge services from Equinix deliver a network automation marketplace for VNF devices from leading vendors, which can be deploy in global metro locations on Platform Equinix®. It delivers agile and scalable virtual network services on a modular digital infrastructure platform, which is developed to interconnect cloud, SaaS and or edge services. Network Edge enables the deployment of virtual network routers and other VNF devices within an Equinix IBX data center in minutes, removing the requirement for costly, dedicated hardware and making cloud-to-cloud routing fast and easy.
Network Edge also provides direct and secure access to networks, clouds and IT infrastructure via Equinix Fabric™, a software-defined interconnection service that allows organizations to privately connect their IT infrastructure to service providers around the world on Platform Equinix. It also enables hybrid multicloud architectures that leverage multiple cloud types and providers, eliminating single vendor lock-in.
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