Connecting To The Cloud
Determining the Best Cloud Connectivity Solution
With the Cloud only being as good as employees’ ability to effectively access it, the overall user experience depends highly on enterprise network connectivity. Today, the Internet is the predominant method to connect to Cloud applications services. Internet connectivity is readily available in all markets. The challenge is that larger enterprises are hesitant to move mission-critical applications to the Cloud when delivered via the Internet due to concerns with security, network performance, data governance and regulatory compliance.
To date, many companies have used the public Internet as their principal method of connecting to and consuming Cloud application services. While Internet connectivity is well-suited for Web research, email and accessing shared business Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, the Internet is a shared network resource that does not have the performance required for more complex Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) computing, storage and business-critical applications such as Open Source Software (OSS) and SAP used by large, distributed workforces. Moreover, the public Internet cannot be used for connecting to the Cloud by organizations requiring a more secure connectivity solution to comply with certain regulatory guidelines, such as healthcare or financial verticals require.
As Cloud computing proliferates and both connectivity as well as applications grow in complexity and requirements, the industry is seeing a fundamental shift in how enterprises connect to and consume the Cloud. To address some of these early concerns, a more reliable, higher performance connectivity solution is needed to continue the exponential increase of Cloud adoption.
Carrier Ethernet for Cloud Connectivity
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Ethernet Private Line (EPL) has become the connectivity technology of choice for enterprises to directly connect to a Private or Public Cloud service provider at a data center. With its unique service attributes, Carrier Ethernet also supports virtual connectivity to multiple Cloud services. Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) services enable an enterprise to leverage existing connectivity for multiple services.
Overall, Carrier Ethernet is well-suited to make Cloud connectivity simple with:
- Secure Connections – Connecting to the Cloud via a dedicated, private Ethernet connection ensures increased security, performance and scalability over the shared resources and unpredictability of the public Internet, whether choosing an EPL with a dedicated port or an EVPL service with assigned Quality of Service (QoS) by service type.
- Predictable QoS – Designed for both business traffic traversing corporate networks as well as data being sent over supplier networks, Carrier Ethernet delivers end-to-end QoS, flexible bandwidth and desired levels of performance due to its ability to prioritize applications, users, or data / traffic flows. The technology supports multiple classes of traffic, including VoIP, videoconferencing, client / server, streaming video, email, FTTP and HTTP, and minimizes latency, jitter, delays and packet loss to ensure more predictable performance.
- Normalized Last-Mile Delivery – Last-mile connections account for 82 percent of all downtime-related activity, 68 percent of overall network cost and 99 percent of complexity found in the network market today. Carrier Ethernet provides scalable bandwidth and flexibility in the number of technologies that can be leveraged to deliver standardized EPL and EVPL services. A network marketplace aggregates the broadest range of these Ethernet Services to enable the right connectivity to each location.
- Consistent Implementation Across the Globe – The standardization of Carrier Ethernet led by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) ensures that users can expect the same attributes, management support and service levels globally. This consistency enables simpler, more efficient Cloud connectivity for enterprises with locations all over the world.
- Ability to Add New Services – Today, large enterprises rarely use just one Cloud service. In fact, different organizations within global enterprise can use multiple different Cloud software, platforms or infrastructure. Enterprises can leverage EVPL to spin up dedicated, secure and QoS-based connectivity to multiple Cloud services over one reliable shared Ethernet circuit. This saves them the cost of additional Ethernet connections on their equipment.
- End-to-End Performance – Carrier Ethernet also enables enterprises to gain end-to-end visibility into the performance of these services. The traditional best-effort delivery model is not adequate for Cloud service connectivity. As network traffic increases, congestion and inappropriate data prioritization become issues that can seriously affect traffic flows and delivery. Service providers must guarantee, monitor and manage predetermined quality of service, regardless of traffic levels. Carrier Ethernet services that ensure service level agreements are met under normal and congested conditions require end-to-end visibility across technologies and networks. Network Interface Devices (NIDS) offer visibility into service performance along with improved test and turn-up.
- Simple Network Design, Pricing, Ordering and Management – By leveraging a marketplace of networks, an efficient and cost-effective platform highlighted in the article: “A Marketplace of Networks: Simplifying Enterprise Cloud Connectivity”, enterprises can connect their entire Cloud ecosystem – from network design to pricing, ordering, service delivery and ongoing management – with one platform, simplifying the service lifecycle.
- Connectivity to High-Demand Destinations – Network marketplaces have pre-established External Network-to-Network Interfaces (ENNIs) and peering points to Cloud service providers, the Internet and other application service providers leveraging virtual cross-connects over Ethernet to quickly provision and turn-up new services. By creating aggregated connectivity to the Cloud, enterprise customers can directly connect their Cloud services into their Wide Area Network (WAN) environments.
With this in mind, it is clear that Carrier Ethernet is critical to meet the requirements for delivering external Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud services. In subsequent installments of our monthly Cloud connectivity CloudTweaks articles, we’ll further explore the challenges of connecting to Private, Public and multiple Clouds. We will also examine how EVPL provides secure, reliable connectivity to business applications found in multiple Clouds, enabled through the same secure, direct Ethernet connection being leveraged for other enterprise services.
By Mary Stanhope