Cloud networking is more important than ever for enterprises. The WAN needs to cater for this traffic to deliver a great user experience.
These days, most users are sitting in a branch office or a home office, trying to connect to their work in the cloud. If you’ve been working from home during COVID-19, you can likely appreciate the importance of a strong cloud network.
But what is cloud networking, and why are so many enterprises starting to depend on it? Here, we take a closer look at the major trends in cloud networking, and how Coevolve helps our clients implement cloud networking (and multi-cloud) solutions.
What is cloud networking?
Just as applications are moving to the cloud with SaaS applications, infrastructure is trending the same way. That is, enterprises are shifting away from on-premises infrastructure (running their own servers) and the network is moving into the public cloud to accommodate this shift.
The cloud has gone from a spoke on the edge of the network that only needs connectivity for a small number of workloads, to being the true center of the network for many enterprises. Meanwhile, the deployments within those clouds have become more sophisticated.
So the question becomes: How do you connect between those workloads that live in the cloud? How do you connect to, and between, the providers? How do you handle failover, resilience, diversity?
All of these design considerations that were part of traditional networks also apply in a cloud environment, and a whole new set of skills is required to deploy cloud networking, to deploy it effectively, and to manage it over time.
Some people might ask: what’s the difference between cloud computing and cloud networking? Think of cloud computing as the destination: the servers, the applications, the infrastructure. Instead of sitting in a physical rack of servers in your office building or data center, it’s deployed virtually in the cloud.
Cloud networking, meanwhile, is the road or pathway that joins users back to those resources. A focus on cloud networking means focus on getting user traffic to and from those cloud computing workloads in the most effective, cohesive way.
What advantages can enterprises gain from well-executed cloud networking?
Most enterprises don’t start working with cloud networking and multi-cloud by design—they find themselves there almost by accident. Different business units will deploy workloads in the cloud so they need connectivity; the next units do the same; they acquire another business that has its own connectivity into the cloud…
Over time, these public cloud environments become fairly complex for enterprises to handle, even if they didn’t start out that way.
At Coevolve, we help enterprises build the networks for these environments in a more consistent, architecture pattern, or a more standard way of connecting into cloud workloads. We help manage it just like part of their own on-premises network.
Enterprises gain the general advantages you’d expect from any managed service provider: performance, SLAs, accountability, visibility. Some more specific advantages we’ve seen our clients enjoy over the past three years include big improvements in visibility and reduced costs, since we help deploy these networks more efficiently.
Cloud networking also offers elasticity. You no longer have to manage physical servers; users are typically sitting at a home office or in a branch office, while the workloads are sitting in public cloud providers. As a result, enterprises need good, reliable connectivity that can scale up or down as needed, plus insights into how the network is performing and how to continue delivering a great user experience.
Moreover, if cloud networking isn’t done well, the costs can spiral out of control. All of these cloud providers have on-demand pricing—you pay for what you use. If your cloud architecture isn’t carefully managed, the prices can get out of hand.
So we could sum up the four reasons enterprises need good cloud networking as follows: flexibility, visibility, user experience, and reduced costs.
How does Coevolve help implement cloud networking solutions?
We aim to fill a gap in industry expertise. There are major cloud vendors, but if you’re not a large global enterprise or a Fortune 500 sized company, it’s very difficult to gain access to their technical experts – to people who will actually work with your teams and draw out your architecture on a whiteboard with you.
It’s a self-service model, and if you’re not a technical expert, it’s very difficult to work with. It’s like getting a giant bucket of LEGO pieces with no instruction manual.
The first thing Coevolve brings to the table is our technical knowledge around what enterprise environments need. Many of our team members bring more than 10 years’ experience in cloud-based solutions. We know the challenges and cost pressures enterprises face as well as the performance objectives they’re trying to hit.
We also have technical knowledge of the cloud platforms themselves. We know at a glance the blueprint for whatever we need to design: if you need us to build an SD-WAN Edge in Azure, it’s like the dozens of other times we’ve done exactly the same thing. Repeatable design helps us be more efficient with less risk of error.
Finally, we have unique access with some vendors, which lets us be even more hands-on with certain technology. For instance, we’ve partnered with Microsoft for the last year as a managed service provider in Azure. Clients can now specify resource groups in their Azure environment to delegate management of them to Coevolve.
In other words, clients don’t need us to join a screen share to tell them where to click. We take over the task of building that environment, troubleshooting, and managing. Then, we can delegate access to members of our various teams who will provide solutions and monitoring depending on client needs.
Clients benefit from this being a real part of their network. It appears on their map of sites just like another location; they can see what traffic is coming in and out or what applications are being used.
Essentially, our clients gain a high level of insight into what’s going on and how it’s performing—a seamless extension of their extension network—without having to do a lot of the manual work themselves.
- Cloud networking helps users access resources virtually, through the cloud, rather than on-premises infrastructure
- Cloud networking gives enterprises more flexibility, visibility, and a better user experience while reducing costs
- Coevolve uses our unique technical knowledge and access to help clients implement cloud workloads and applications with less manual work on their part