Don’t Forget Networking In Your Travel Plans To The Cloud

Don’t Forget Networking In Your Travel Plans To The Cloud

Don’t Forget Networking In Your Travel Plans To The Cloud

The term “cloud” was first used by the telecomm industry in early schematics of the Internet to identify the various, non-specific uses data was put to at the end of their cables. The transmission of data was the telecomm industry’s primary focus. What happened in the cloud was someone else’s concern.

Today the attention has shifted so much to all the amazing uses data can be put to within a cloud environment that there is an unfortunate tendency to overlook how all your data is going to get safely and reliably to the cloud and back. It’s a little like focusing on all the great things you plan to do in Paris without considering how you’re actually going to get there.

Critically evaluating your network options may be less exciting than focusing on your ambitions in the cloud, but before you send your data off on its great adventure, you better be sure you know how it’s going to get there and get back.

Rest assured: You can safely assume that there are secure network options for every cloud implementation, but there are many details to be considered to before you decide which options are best suited to your needs and resources.

Admittedly, unless you are a network geek, thinking about networking can be a daunting task so, if you don’t know CCIE from TCP, here’s a primer on the network options you can use to connect to the cloud

There are basically three basic network options to connect to the cloud:

  1. Encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) over the Internet
  2. Adding a cloud environment as a node on your current Wide Area Network (WAN).
  3. Point-to-point circuits, i.e., leased lines.

Encrypted VPN over the Internet

Virtual private network technology makes it possible for businesses to securely and affordably create geographically dispersed business networks on top of the public Internet infrastructure. A key advantage to VPN access is that it is relatively inexpensive because your data is traveling for free over the Internet. It is also relatively uncomplicated to implement. These advantages essentially launched a wave of businesses into the Internet, and from there to the cloud.

VPNs provide security by the use of tunneling protocols and through security procedures such as encryption. Encryption protocols include Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS).

While your data is out hopping from router to router around the Internet, it is also kept separate from everyone else’s data by Multiple Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), a mechanism that basically establishes a virtual path for your data between your outgoing router and its final cloud destination. MPLS is the technical counterpart to the multi-tenant technology which keeps your data secure in its own virtual container in a public cloud environment.Downtime-Data-Centers

A Node on your WAN

Wide area networks connect multiple Local Area Networks(LANs) across an enterprise. Most WANs include virtual LANs (VLANs) that are connected by VPNs through local exchange carriers to the Internet. Here again MPLS protocol protects your data from mingling with other data within your WAN or on the Internet.

Organizations that adopt this option still take advantage of free Internet transmission of their data. Implementation, however, is more expensive and complicated. Accessing the cloud as a VPN extranet on your WAN is appropriate for mid-sized organizations that have a widely distributed WAN environment.

Point to Point Connections

If you can’t get comfortable with the idea of your data hopping around the Internet with everyone else’s, point-to-point leased line connections (also known as private circuits) provide dedicated, always-on, fixed bandwidth connectivity between your data center and your cloud environment.

All three network options are secure, but point-to-point connections are the most secure. They are also the fastest and by far the most expensive option.

Point to point connections are appropriate for large organizations that have critical need and/or compliance requirements that require an exclusive, direct connection to the cloud. These could include financial organizations that require very high speed bandwidth, government agencies and suppliers that require absolute security, and healthcare organizations that need to guarantee the privacy of patient data.

Mix and Match

There are many variations and levels of speed, quality and security within each of these three options. Drilling down into the pros and cons of those variations is beyond the scope of this column. Suffice to say, one, or some combination of them, can be tailored to adequately and securely get your data to your cloud environment.

Combining more than one option, in fact, is the only way to guarantee against downtime. Every connection has the potential to go down—even direct point-to-point circuits, so having more than one connection is the only way to protect against the risk of losing access to your data in the cloud.

Acceptable risk varies with the criticality of the use case. If you are just spinning up virtual servers for a test dev sandbox environment, you don’t have to worry about losing access to your data. If you are a hedge fund involved in high-speed trades, on the other hand, any risk of downtime is unacceptable.  (See Infographic: http://cloudtweaks.com/2013/09/cloud-infographic-data-center-downtime/)

Bandwidth and Latency

There are two other key considerations you need to address in your choice of network option: bandwidth and latency.

Bandwidth requirements depend on what you plan to do with the cloud services. If you are accessing IaaS in the cloud, it takes little or no bandwidth to manage monitor and maintain the virtual container a cloud provider provides you. If you are going to run a SQL database or do transactions in real-time or nightly backups in bulk, however, you are going to need additional bandwidth to accomplish your tasks within an acceptable timeframe.

Most application providers publish bandwidth guidelines. According to Microsoft, for example, a SQL database requires bandwidth ranges of 3 megabits per second (Mbps) (dual T1) and greater with latencies less than 100 milliseconds (ms) – operational range. You can quantify your bandwidth requirements by adding up the required throughput of the applications and services you intend to access from the cloud. If you are already accessing these services within your data center, you should know that number

Latency is basically a measure of the delay between when a packet of data is dispatched and when it arrives at its destination. Every medium of transmission—cable, optical fibre, etc.—causes latency. Latency limitations determine the distance you can be from your cloud environment.

Latency is also determined by the relative well being of your network environment. It’s not your ISP’s fault of data from your cloud is delayed unduly because your firewalls, routers and servers delay transmission once the data arrives at you door. With all the demands that virtualization, collaboration, BYOD and a host of other hot trends have made on your network environment, if you haven’t done a comprehensive assessment of the health and capacity of your network, making that a priority before your journey to the cloud would be an excellent idea

One World

Using the cloud metaphor for the underlying technologies involved in delivering IT as a service runs the risk of encouraging a sense that the cloud is some stack of servers out in the ether that belongs to someone else. As soon as you make a commitment to use cloud-based services, in fact, you expand your corporate environment to encompass your internal IT environment, your network connection to the cloud and the cloud itself. They are each mutually interdependent and need to be addressed as integral parts of a whole system. Nothing works, unless they all do. Leave one out of your overall IT strategy, as a result, and no matter how innovative, creative, and cost effective your cloud destination may appear, you still won’t be able to get there from here.

By Mike Johnson

mike-johnson

As Logicalis Director of Unified Communications Architectures and Solutions, Mike is responsible for managing a team of pre-sales engineers focused on the development and design of unified communications and networking, specifically mobility and security solutions. Mike has a 14-year track record of successful management of go-to-market strategies, customer solution design, implementation and pre/post sales support in the managed services, healthcare and manufacturing industries.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Trends Now that we are a little more than halfway through 2016, many experts are beginning to make their predictions about cloud computing for the rest of the year and beyond. While many of the trends aren’t too unexpected (the ever increasing acceptance of cloud solutions by businesses, for instance) other trends are…

Tesla Solar Plan Would Cost Billions To Implement

Tesla Solar Plan Would Cost Billions To Implement

A 1,500-word manifesto that Elon Musk unveiled last week, outlining his plan to expand Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric-vehicle line and to build “stunning solar roofs,” may end up costing the company tens of billions of dollars to carry out. Musk, Tesla’s chairman and chief executive officer, gave the estimate on Tuesday after a tour of the…

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security It’s obvious that IoT can make the entire healthcare industry more efficient. The kind of data involved can be used to save time, physical energy and operating costs. Because of this, devices that facilitate medical data are becoming more commonplace in the industry. This includes things such as wearables that can track…

Zoho Announces Industry’s First Multichannel CRM Service

Zoho Announces Industry’s First Multichannel CRM Service

Zoho News According to Gartner, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software market grew by 12.3% from $23.4 billion in 2014 to $26.3 billion in 2015. Suggests Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner, “The merger and acquisition activity that began flowing through the market in 2009 continued in 2015, with more than 30 notable acquisitions. This…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? You know how enterprise resource management (ERP) can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Cloud Comings and Goings

Cloud Comings and Goings

Cloud Power Amazon Web Services – the giant of cloud computing – is on track to do $10 Billion in revenue this year. Yet, rumors swirl that Apple may take a huge chunk of business away from them and Dropbox has definitely left AWS. Is something wrong at AWS? Wait, Salesforce.com (SFDC) – the granddaddy of…

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Virtual Reality Cloud We’re lucky to live in an era where virtual reality is no longer relegated to the confines of a sci-fi movie universe. Thanks to technology introduced by products like Oculus Rift, consumers now have access to virtual environments with fully immersive graphic capabilities. As a result, companies have only just begun to…

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Evolving Internet of Things  The Internet of Things, or IoT, a term devised in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton, represents the connection of physical devices, systems and services via the internet, and Gartner and Lucas Blake’s new infographic (below) explores the evolution of the IoT industry, investigating its potential impact across just about every…

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to helping teams win…

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors A recent BI Intelligence report claimed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to becoming the largest device market in the world. Quite naturally, such exponential growth of the IoT market has prompted a number of high-profile corporate investors and smart money VCs to bet highly…

How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

Ambitious Startups An oft-quoted statistic, 50% of new businesses fail within five years. And the culling of startups is even more dramatic, with an estimated nine out of ten folding. But to quote Steve Jobs, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” So while…

Teach Yourself The Cloud: Cloud Computing Knowledge In 5 Easy Steps

Teach Yourself The Cloud: Cloud Computing Knowledge In 5 Easy Steps

Teach Yourself The Cloud Learn how to get to grips with cloud computing in business  Struggling to get your head around the Cloud? Here are five easy ways you can improve your cloud knowledge and perhaps even introduce cloud systems into your business.  Any new technology can appear daunting, and cloud computing is no exception.…

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Data Scientist Report The amount of data in our world has been exploding in recent years. Managing big data has become an integral part of many businesses, generating billions of dollars of competitive innovations, productivity and job growth. Forecasting where the big data industry is going has become vital to corporate strategy. Enter the Data…