How cloud networking can be an application network highway to the cloud

Cloud computing offers significant opportunities to enterprises, but with most companies having multiple clouds, complexity, security risks and operational challenges increase. Tackling these obstacles requires an approach that improves visibility, guarantees performance and strengthens security.

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Cloud environments are here to stay as a cornerstone of the infrastructure required to deliver the applications that are critical to digital experiences. IDC highlighted that cloud now makes up, on average, 32% of IT budgets, driven by the pandemic-accelerated need for transformation and more recent inflationary pressures.

For most enterprises, their use of cloud will include deploying private and public environments using several providers. This multi-cloud approach means companies can create infrastructures that meet their specific needs and business objectives, at least theoretically.

Expanding cloud footprint results in increased complexity

That all assumes, however, that they have the network or connectivity capabilities to move applications, data and workloads as required. This isn’t always the case; as Alessandro Legnani, Cloud Networking Consulting Delivery Manager at Orange Business, noted during a recent Hello! World workshop, “When you start moving your applications to the cloud, you soon realize that you’re adding another layer of complexity in terms of network, routing and also security, on top of your traditional networks.”

Legnani was talking during a discussion that highlighted the three main challenges businesses face when deploying multiple clouds.

The three challenges of having multiple clouds

First, there is being able to master both connectivity and cloud. Network and cloud teams are rarely integrated or even aligned. The two areas are not natural bedfellows; as one Orange Business customer put it, “It is hard to master cloud and networking at the same time.” This also means a lack of visibility; “For many customers lacking expertise in multiple cloud service providers, the cloud can seem like a black box,” said Legnani during the session. “What’s happening behind the scenes? There is clearly a lack of visibility on cost when applications run on multiple hyperscalers.”

Second, there is a need to master operations. A lack of network orchestration functionality can delay application migrations. In the words of another Orange Business customer, this leads to “delaying our projects and making us incur additional hosting charges.” For instance, interconnecting multiple SD-WAN overlay networks spread across different regions and involving more than one cloud service provider can often take much longer than first expected.

Third is the challenge of mastering reliability. Problems around networks and application performance can be exacerbated when time must be spent troubleshooting across multiple cloud environments. This results in downtime that directly impacts business effectiveness.

Don’t forget security

Underpinning all of these are ongoing security concerns. Multiple cloud and network providers mean multiple cyberdefense approaches must be incorporated and integrated into an enterprise’s own. This often leads to a lack of oversight, making it difficult to ensure everything is secured and increasing the likelihood of a data breach or other security incident.

What’s the answer? In an article on TechTarget, Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at TechTarget’s Enterprise Strategy Group, said, “There’s a greater need to simplify the connectivity to multiple clouds.”

Solving the cloud and networking mismatch

More specifically, it’s about helping networks and cloud to be “bridged together to achieve things like visibility, performance, making sure operations go right, [tackling] the specific challenges,” that having multiple clouds can create, said Umberto Mattei, Product Manager for Cloud Networking Services at Orange Business, otherwise known as cloud networking.

When delivered correctly, cloud networking offers enterprises a framework of services that can provide end-to-end design, deployment and unified operations of running a network in multiple cloud environments.

Creating the network highway for moving applications across cloud

This approach was at the heart of how a multinational industrial manufacturer overcame insecure, inefficient and uncontrolled communications between its existing hyperscaler provider using virtual networks and its data centers. To tackle this, the company turned to Orange Business, which created a common transit network layer to deliver seamless and secure connectivity and implemented an automated and auditable infrastructure. This was all supported by ongoing network performance monitoring and managed services.

The manufacturer benefited from Orange Business Cloud Networking, which “has been designed, developed and tested to meet and also anticipate specific customer needs, in most cases companies that have already started their cloudification journeys,” said Legnani. The solution optimizes network performance across multiple clouds and integrates with various partner offerings, from the major hyperscalers to cloud networking providers. Or, in the words of Mattei, building “the best network highway for connecting your applications across cloud.”

Want to know more about cloud networking or how the Orange Business service is secure, composable and automation driven? Get in touch today or download our fact sheet to learn more.

Josh Turner
Josh Turner

I am a technology writer with a decade of experience in business, technology and logistics. From starting off my career writing questions for a TV quiz show, I’m now spending my time looking at how the world of business is going digital and transforming a variety of sectors and industries.