The proliferation of powerful cloud services is one of the most important IT stories of our time. These services have completely redefined what enterprises can accomplish, giving them access to new tools and capabilities on demand, the flexibility to deploy IT infrastructure when and where they want, and the greater cost-efficiency that comes with shifting to an OPEX model.
That said, most IT leaders recognize that working exclusively with a single public cloud provider will not yield the best results. Enterprises need a hybrid multicloud architecture to maximize the benefits of cloud while keeping costs down and avoiding vendor lock-in. In fact, the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, a market study published by Equinix, predicts that 85% of global companies will expand multicloud access across several regions by 2025.
This growth highlights one of the major challenges facing businesses as they pursue hybrid multicloud: Simply put, hybrid multicloud networking is hard, and doing it across multiple regions only makes it harder. Unless businesses can find a way to simplify it, they won’t be able to move the right data into the right cloud at the right time. To use cloud services to their full potential, you need reliable, high-performance networking across your entire global operations. Implementing a cloud-to-cloud routing solution is one way you can get it.
What does multicloud look like without cloud-to-cloud routing?
Imagine you have a hybrid multicloud architecture with your database services hosted at Oracle and your analytics suite hosted at AWS. To get value from your analytics tools, you need to move data from one cloud to another quickly and consistently. In a traditional hub-and-spoke IT infrastructure model, all traffic would have to pass through a centralized on-premises environment before eventually reaching its final destination.
This indirect routing will contribute to higher latency which in turn could limit the effectiveness of applications running in the cloud. The problem is especially pronounced for businesses accessing the cloud remotely. To return to our previous example, imagine your on-premises infrastructure is in Chicago, but you need to access both clouds in Ashburn. Any traffic you need to move between the two clouds would require a complete roundtrip—Ashburn to Chicago to Ashburn—leading to even greater latency.
Also, inefficient cloud-to-cloud routing doesn’t just impact cloud workloads. Data moving between clouds would have to pass over your organization’s WAN, taking up network capacity that could be better used for other purposes. Since non-cloud workloads would have to compete with cloud workloads for bandwidth, performance would suffer for both sets of traffic. You’d also end up paying for more network bandwidth than you would have otherwise, and the overall cost-effectiveness of your hybrid multicloud environment would suffer.
Evaluate your cloud-to-cloud routing options
The drawbacks of inefficient cloud-to-cloud routing are clear, and enterprises have several choices for how they can address the issue.
First, moving cloud data via the public internet is always an option. It does allow you to keep cloud traffic off your own WAN, but it can’t provide the level of performance and reliability you need. You’ll most likely still experience high latency, so you won’t have solved one of the biggest underlying problems. In addition, moving data over a public connection makes it vulnerable to cyberattacks, so enterprises have good reason to be wary of using the public internet for their vital cloud workloads.
Another option would be to work with a network service provider (NSP) that can design, implement and manage a cloud-to-cloud routing solution on your behalf. Depending on your exact needs, an NSP solution could work well for you. The only potential drawback is that you most likely won’t have complete and direct control over your solution.
Finally, you have the option to build your own cloud-to-cloud routing solution with the help of a digital infrastructure partner such as Equinix. In fact, Equinix partners with more than 2,000 NSPs worldwide, so there’s a good chance your solution will be based on the same Equinix tools regardless of whether you acquire them directly from us or through a managed solution delivered by an NSP. Unlike working with an NSP, you’ll most likely have tighter control over building and managing your routing solution exactly how you want.
Additionally, you shouldn’t overlook the fact that implementing a cloud-to-cloud routing solution independent of cloud or network providers could make it easier to add new routes and elements to your infrastructure. As new tools like hosted AI and machine learning continue to gain popularity, these tools and platforms will need access to cloud-hosted data and applications. Building your own cloud-to-cloud router can help you provide that access.
Ensure cost-effective, high-performance cloud-to-cloud routing on Platform Equinix
Platform Equinix® is the ideal place to build your cloud-to-cloud routing solution because we can help you gain proximity to all major cloud providers in all the different locations that matter to your business. For instance, Platform Equinix offers:
- 37 AWS Direct Connect locations—more AWS markets than any other data center provider
- 37 Google Cloud Partner Interconnect locations, representing 45% of all Google Cloud on-ramps globally
- 36 Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute locations on five continents, making us the leading provider of ExpressRoute globally
We also offer the flexibility to build the exact cloud routing solution that meets the needs of your business, whether that’s a traditional physical router deployed on-premises in one of our Equinix IBX® colocation data centers or a virtual router built using our suite of digital infrastructure services.
You can deploy a virtual router quickly, without the time commitment required to stand up physical hardware. Our Network Edge service offers multicloud routers as virtual network functions (VNFs) from top vendors. Select a virtual device from the vendor of your choice, and you’ll be able to manage it just as you would if you had deployed a physical router from that same vendor.
When you deploy a physical or virtual cloud-to-cloud router on Platform Equinix, you also have the choice to support that router with physical or virtual interconnection capabilities. Either way, you’ll be able to perform routing at the digital edge, which means cloud-to-cloud traffic will stay off your WAN. You’ll be able to use network bandwidth to move the traffic it was originally intended to move, and the performance and cost-effectiveness of your entire networking infrastructure will improve as a result.
Equinix Fabric®, our software-defined interconnection service, is available in more than 50 locations worldwide. Your network engineers can use our self-service web portal to set new connections between cloud environments—locally or remotely—with the push of a button. Since they don’t have to set foot inside one of our data centers to set up the routing functions, your business will save on travel costs and cut emissions—ultimately contributing to a more sustainable digital infrastructure.
Direct, private interconnection also provides performance, reliability and security that the public internet simply can’t match. For this reason, Equinix Fabric can play an integral role in simplifying your hybrid multicloud networking. Also, we believe the best is yet to come. Soon, we’ll be announcing a fully distributed virtual routing capability on Equinix Fabric that provides on-demand private connectivity at Layer 3.
The new solution will enable customers to connect to two or more of the leading public IaaS and SaaS providers—or anyone within the Equinix ecosystem—and join those connections into a single routing domain with the click of a button. This will make it quicker and easier for customers to connect all their clouds and services, without needing to manage equipment or license a virtual device. It will provide yet another option for customers to build the routing solution that best meets their needs.
Stay tuned for more information on the new solution coming soon. In the meantime, read the guide to learn more about Equinix Fabric’s current capabilities, and how it enables dynamic, distributed digital infrastructure.