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The importance of optimized cloud network infrastructure by NTTBy Gary Middleton
Vice President: Networking GTM
To keep up with the pace of business change and digital transformation, operational models are evolving rapidly and cloud-first strategies are rising. The number of cloud environments has grown – yet, many organizations underestimate the requirement for network transformation when deploying cloud solutions. A sound IT strategy that includes hybrid cloud, underpinned by the network, is essential to achieving business agility and providing a stronger footing for future growth.
Agility a key driver to transform cloud
Hybrid cloud is seen as a critical enabler of agility and an accelerator of business objectives – 84.8% of organizations agree that cloud is more important to their organization today that it was last year, while just over two-thirds (66.9%) say improving their business agility and ability to respond to change will be important over the next 12 months. (NTT Hybrid Cloud Report February 2021).
One of the biggest considerations in the design of hybrid environments is making data and applications available to a distributed workforce so they can make informed, real-time decisions. Connecting multiple users in different locations to voice, video and collaboration tools requires network infrastructure services that do not compromise the performance of these tools, thereby impacting the immersive experiences they intend to create.
Managing security risks
At the same time, organizations must continuously enhance security posture and respond rapidly to mitigate threats, or risk jeopardizing their corporate reputation and full protection of employees. As they become more cloud-native and hybrid, the requirement to modernize existing applications to greater support digital transformation objectives intensifies, thereby expanding the attack surface.
Security threats and the number of vulnerabilities continue to grow, and are unlikely to decline. Enterprises therefore need a DevOps strategy that includes security to ensure applications are both innovative and secure. Cloud security should also be an enabler for agility – which means the automation of security policies is key.
High-performing network solutions: the foundation for optimized cloud
The performance and availability of the underlying network is one of the biggest barriers to hybrid cloud adoption NTT Hybrid Cloud Report February 2021).Until recently, most enterprises depended on the Internet to access cloud services, and Internet quality was tolerated as a trade-off. However, concerns about latency, security and governance are driving enterprises to consider a more architected approach to crafting a set of enterprise-grade network services that provide the best possible experience across their application portfolio.
By 2023, more than 50% of large organisations will connect to cloud providers using direct cloud connectivity from their WANs, up from 10% in 2019 (Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center and Cloud Networking, June 2020).
The network underpins every connection in the business – to branches, clouds, users, business transactions, voice minutes, applications and so on. And it’s the network fabric which brings on-premises, third party colocation facilities, private cloud and public cloud connectivity together, within, on and across all clouds in your environment.
High-performing network infrastructure services should enable, support and scale with your hybrid cloud ambitions in three key areas:
1. Application performance and user experience
Applications are vital for modern business operations and the network plays a fundamentally important connectivity role to - and across - application portfolios housed in hybrid environments. An agile, programmable intelligent infrastructure – including platforms and networks – enables the rapid deployment of applications and the performance needed for frictionless digital experiences. This helps you maximize price, speed and productivity performance criteria across multiple clouds.
2. Automation and efficient operations
Cloud could be considered more an operating model than just a destination for applications, and its critical the network to plays its part and is an integrated part of the infrastructure. In order for this to be possible, the network needs to be software-defined, automated and deeply integrated into organizational operational models. In addition, enterprise grade network services should be provisioned on-demand and as-needed to deliver the most efficient network possible.
3. SecurityWith security embedded in the network, you can respond quickly to threats and continually improve defenses. Securing multivendor cloud environments with this secure by design approach shifts the emphasis from securing the network perimeter to securing the applications and data. This becomes more important across hybrid infrastructures where controls should be applied uniformly and managed consistently in order to mitigate risks and gain improvements in security posture.
How are you connecting to the cloud?
The more clouds you manage, the more complex your network requirements become – and the more critical it is to architect a network that delivers the advantages of hybrid cloud to your organization.
Some factors to consider are:
- Fast, secure connectivity from the data center to the cloud, using cross connects, VPN and virtual connections.
- Modernizing infrastructure and leveraging artificial intelligence and automation though software-defined and virtual network services.
- Running virtual and container applications requires the network to be carefully considered so that user experience isn’t impacted (load balancing, security and acceleration of traffic on software-defined infrastructure).
- Secure networking, ensuring embedded and consistent security across hybrid infrastructure.
Our cloud consulting and network expertise
From creating private clouds to enabling public cloud transformation, or a hybrid approach covering both, you need high-performing cloud networking solutions and services to bring cloud to life.
We offer a full suite of network solutions and services that form the foundation for cloud and enable workloads and applications to perform at their peak. We can bring your hybrid infrastructure together into a cohesive whole, ensuring operational consistency and supporting your goals for greater agility, innovation and competitiveness.
Our multicloud network infrastructure services include platform-delivered support and managed services. We’ve invested in operations tools (with AIOps capabilities built in), DevOps and API capabilities, and our managed platform could also be a co-innovation platform, as it’s open for our clients.
By partnering with us, you’ll have access to the very best technologies and superior technical skills to help you innovate and differentiate.
Optimize networking in, to and across hybrid cloud environments.