Hybrid Cloud Connectivity: Top Trends and Challenges

Have you considered hybrid cloud connectivity?

With 80% of organizations now adopting hybrid cloud solutions, it’s become necessary for businesses to not only look at the solution itself but also at the connectivity supporting their hybrid cloud architecture.

Connectivity (which includes bandwidth, latency, and resilience of a connection) is a critical part of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud infrastructures. Keeping a reliable and fast connection between cloud providers can help your organization meet demand, as well as rise to the challenge that comes with increased needs for connectivity.

We sat down with Brian Bowman, Senior Solutions Architect at Megaport, to discuss the challenges and trends that improved connectivity can address. 

3 Hybrid Cloud Environment Challenges

After speaking with hundreds of customers, Brian has been able to categorize common challenges into the following areas:

  • Performance
  • Agility
  • Cost

1. Performance

When a business invests in a hybrid cloud environment, they don’t always consider the network elements needed for a successful hybrid cloud solution. To meet performance objectives, these customers need the ability to scale their connectivity to meet performance objectives, both for their applications and end users. The connectivity that comes standard with a hybrid cloud solution doesn’t always meet these needs.

2. Agility

One of the main reasons businesses opt for a hybrid cloud environment is for agility.

Hybrid cloud offers the benefit of private cloud, paired with the agility of public cloud services in one solution. However, the network can’t always keep up with that. Perhaps a hybrid cloud solution, which a business has chosen for its agility, is sold this way, but the network isn’t always ready to go as promised.

3. Cost

Organizations can take advantage of affordable solutions by being able to shop around for the best offer. However, they may not be ready for unexpected expenses that may accompany network components. It’s possible for these associated costs to increase over time. So, it’s important to consider these potential expenses down the road in addition to hybrid cloud cost benefits.

As these challenges have appeared, a few trends have emerged alongside that attempt to solve them.

SaaS-type solutions

Historically, providers looked at hairpinning traffic via a security stack housed at a central location. Now, organizations are looking at SaaS-like solutions to centralize their policy while decentralizing the traffic pattern.

The goal of these solutions? Improve performance

SD-WAN options

Software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) have been implemented to address issues with agility. With SD-WAN, businesses can take advantage of some of the benefits of the internet, including cost and scale, while also addressing performance.

Brian has noticed more organizations make the switch from Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to SD-WAN.

Private connectivity model

Brian has observed that most organizations start with the internet for connectivity. However, when they’re looking to fully deploy a hybrid solution in a production environment, they need something more.

Many businesses move away from the internet to a private connectivity model. This switch addresses their performance and IT security needs. Plus, it can be more cost-effective to avoid high egress fees associated with the internet (charging fees when data is retrieved from the cloud). 

Network as a Service

Network providers have had solutions that address performance for years. For instance, they can build networks between points throughout the globe or country where the applications and solutions live, build connections between data centers, put intelligence on top of the network, plus implement security. However, the problem has come from the:

  • The amount of time it takes to get there
  • The sum of money companies must spend to achieve it

That’s where Network as a Service (NaaS) providers can help. From an agility standpoint, what used to take months can now happen in minutes. 

A cloud computing provider will set the foundation in advance, build out the data center, and provide physical security, cooling, and any other components needed for a compute environment. They can place servers, build web portals for customers, productize them, and virtually spin up services on demand.

Network providers, like Megaport, are now able to provide the same type of services, but for networks. They build the network, connect critical services and resources using API integration with partners, and ensure the network reaches the right places, such as TierPoint data centers

With software automation built over a global network foundation, NaaS gives the customer the capability through API or a web portal to interface with the network and spin up services on demand. This process addresses the agility aspect of hybrid cloud in a way that makes it hugely beneficial. 

Most businesses also don’t know there’s a cost-benefit to implementing a private connectivity model. Public clouds, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google charge fees for data egress over connectivity through the public internet. These rates decrease significantly when businesses switch to a private connectivity model. So, when switching to a NaaS solution, there are:

  • Performance benefits
  • Agility benefits
  • Cost-savings benefits

Hybrid cloud connectivity success story

With the right network connectivity solution, a process that once took months could take only a week.

One of Megaport’s clients, a global semiconductor manufacturing company, was looking for a network service provider but didn’t realize the level of agility they could get. This client budgeted six months for the project to be completed. 

When the client came to Megaport, they had global private cloud and private data center solutions that they needed to integrate with two hyperscalers: AWS and Azure.

Megaport was able to perform a cloud interconnect, placing a cloud router between the two public cloud providers, as well as implementing private connectivity to their private cloud, all in under one week. 

Imagine what your business could do if you could zoom in front of your competition with a solution implemented in only one week. The semiconductor client can now scale up and down their bandwidth as needs change. When they add Google Cloud in the future, they’ll be able to turn the connection on in minutes. It’s this unparalleled optimization of network processes that will keep organizations competitive for years to come. 

What will happen with hybrid cloud connectivity in the next 12 months?

Hybrid cloud connectivity can superpower the infrastructure you already have, making it more agile and high-performing while saving you money. But what’s on the horizon?

Edge computing

Businesses are looking to host their applications closer to customers, primarily due to latency requirements or for data sovereignty purposes. Sometimes, there are governmental requirements for hosting in a local area. These needs are growing, and edge computing can help.

Megaport is committed to staying ahead of the market, supporting customer edge compute initiatives by expanding up and out to ensure they are in the right places at the right time, meeting bandwidth needs, and building a backbone that can grow beyond the currently anticipated capabilities. As capacity continues to grow, and the edge moves closer to users, Megaport is expanding with it. 

Autonomous vehicles

The data autonomous vehicles collect and report back, including telemetry and other data, will put a huge demand on infrastructure. As companies take advantage of more internet of things (IoT) capabilities, the requirements for the network will grow. 

Forecasting

Network connectivity services are in a unique position, sitting between the next-generation services and the customer.

What is Megaport looking at now? How to apply forecasting algorithms for organizations that are adopting new applications and technology at an accelerating rate or experiencing seasonal fluctuations. They want to be able to tell customers what to expect a certain number of weeks from now. For example, telling them that a connection will be overused, and what actions to take to adjust connections on the fly, instead of being reactive after a change occurs. 

Want to learn more about hybrid cloud connectivity?

If you’re ready to power up your network and are interested in learning how hybrid cloud connectivity can meet your unique needs, reach out to us today! Our team of hybrid cloud solutions experts at TierPoint are ready to help.



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