Optimizing the network to support cloud-based applications

Cloud can bring immense business value to enterprises, opening up innovative applications and services. But to fulfill its potential, cloud needs optimized and secure connectivity, which makes cloud networking as vital as the cloud itself.

Cloud-first policies and cloud migration are now top of mind for CIOs. As a result, enterprises are increasing public cloud spending and workload volumes – an estimated 89% of enterprises now have a multicloud strategy.

Cloud-native applications make it faster, easier and more agile for distributed teams to collaborate and use data more efficiently. These workloads can be hosted across cloud regions and service providers, making monitoring the performance and security of cloud connectivity more challenging.

Multicloud networking is a critical part of any overarching multicloud strategy. In deploying a multicloud, enterprises will inevitably come up against networking limitations and inconsistencies across the cloud estate. Cloud service providers offer basic cloud networking capabilities but do not provide consistency across multicloud environments or the features to enhance enterprise networking and security demands.

Yes, each of the distributed microservices in cloud applications requires secure connectivity, making applications available, resilient and scalable, and providing optimized performance.

Single network service for all your cloud applications

The reality is that the more enterprises rely on the cloud and adopt multicloud to take advantage of best-in-breed capabilities, the more complex the landscape becomes. This is where cloud networking comes in, providing a common, on-demand, resilient, secure, centralized platform for all clouds alongside consistent security and governance policies, regardless of the cloud providers.

Cloud networking is software that allows for a network’s creation, deployment and operations within multiple cloud environments: from on-premises data centers to remote cloud users and across multiple public clouds. Most importantly, it provides consistent networking and management capabilities within a multicloud estate that may otherwise have discordant features.

Cloud networking is far more than simply connecting clouds. It provides consistent networking, security policies and visibility via a single management portal to, within and between clouds. All the network resources are hosted in the cloud, including routers, firewalls, bandwidth and network management. Connectivity is provided between applications and workloads wherever they sit across the globe. All are managed via in-house teams or through a third party.

Unlike traditional networking architectures, cloud networking is designed to be cloud native. It has been created to deliver scalability and simplicity via infrastructure as a code (IaC) automation and multicloud visibility, which maximizes both uptime and the user’s experience quality. IaC is the process of provisioning and managing infrastructure through code as opposed to manual processes. As well as automating mundane tasks, enterprises can be more agile and respond faster to change, for example. Its ability to track and audit infrastructure changes can also help to improve security posture.

IaC is also vital for DevOps teams looking for greater flexibility and acceleration. Unlike traditional networking and security, cloud networking provides seamless integration into DevOps continuous integration. These continuous deployment (CI/DC) pipelines rapidly improve software delivery through the development cycle.

Getting cloud networking right

Network service providers provide an array of options when it comes to cloud connectivity. But a lack of industry standards and differing approaches to offerings can be bewildering.

As enterprises add new applications into the public cloud and scale existing ones, “the shortcomings of cloud-native providers become more apparent,” according to Gartner. Thus, they are deploying multicloud networking software to address feature limitations and consistent management at scale.

This is why Gartner predicts that by 2025, 35% of enterprises that use multiple public cloud providers will use a single network stack, an increase of over 10 times from 2021.

A multicloud networking platform overcomes the limitations of cloud-native providers, simplifying the architecture and enhancing both consistency and security.

As Gartner notes, it is essential to point out that although it is referred to as multicloud networking, enterprises deploy the solution in single cloud environments, too. Enterprises that prepare and architect for multicloud, even when only in a single cloud, are building networks, security and connectivity for a multicloud future, which is the core concept of our modular Evolution Platform.

Getting rid of complexity

Interdependencies between clouds, the network and cybersecurity create complexity. Putting together infrastructure components from multiple vendors further increases complexity and integration costs.

Evolution Platform is a methodology that goes beyond technical building blocks, creating a composable, high-performance, open platform that delivers agility, performance, security and personalized orchestration. Evolution Platform provides simplified connectivity and automation to the cloud, in the cloud, from a cloud networking perspective.

As a telco native company and systems integrator, we provide the interface and manage the services, so we are best placed to advise on cloud networking. Our team of experts can help you create a custom multicloud networking solution, whether you are looking for private connectivity, utilizing the Internet or managing workloads across multicloud environments.

As Orange operates one of the world’s largest networks and has end-to-end control over it, we can provide a transport solution utilizing the Internet that guarantees resilience, security and performance.

We work with a partner ecosystem that includes public cloud-native services such as Azure Virtual WAN, multicloud networking software manufacturers such as Aviatrix and SDWAN and security vendors such as Cisco and Palo Alto.

Our experts can help you create networking and security that seamlessly connects your cloud estate and open up dynamic infrastructure optimization that can automatically provision and adjust as your workloads change. This supports many use cases, including better optimizing energy efficiencies and managing spikes in demand.

Service Manage-Watch is now part of this commitment. This cutting-edge global supervision tool for network services and applications leverages AIOPs to ensure connectivity and security are all performing at their optimal levels. It covers the complete Orange portfolio and can additionally integrate any customer-owned monitoring tool.

Comparing private connectivity

As enterprises look for new ways of boosting their cloud performance and lowering costs, many are looking to private connectivity.

Private connectivity offered by the hyperscalers bypasses the public Internet, increasing bandwidth and providing a more consistent user experience with lower latencies. The simplicity of direct connections also allows enterprises to maintain their security policies across networks.

In addition, this approach also enables enterprises to be save significantly on egress charges. Egress is when data leaves the network and is sent to an external location or data center regions. Most cloud providers don’t charge for data coming into the cloud but do charge for it leaving.

It is not, however, as simple as it sounds. Each cloud provider has a different private connectivity model, and again this is what our experts can help with to ensure you benefit from the full depth and breadth of the cloud.

Greater efficiency, more robust security

Optimizing networking to support cloud-based applications is fundamental in achieving digital transformation. A unified managed cloud or self-managed cloud network makes it easier to manage workflows, automatically configure changes, or carry out zero-touch provisioning for access points, gateways and switches.

Every cloud is different, and every cloud provider has a diverse portfolio of offerings. Building a single connected multicloud architecture is critical for any enterprise looking to get a return on its cloud investment and hit business goals.

Learn more about Evolution Platform and cloud networking and how it can simplify and automate functions while enhancing security and reducing costs.

Umberto Mattei
Umberto Mattei

Product Manager, Orange Business Services
After some years spent architecting data center and public cloud services mainly on Cisco and Google technologies, I am currently focusing on designing products to simplify the end-to-end cloud networking user experience.