When used in tandem, SD-WAN and the cloud can provide a wealth of valuable features…
3 Ways SD-WAN Improves The Private Cloud
Public clouds – built on top of vast ecosystems such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform – may receive the lion’s share of media attention when it comes to this technology, but they are far from the only game in town. Established enterprises as well as startups and SMBs are increasingly finding a spot for private clouds, too.
The private cloud and the software defined WAN
These alternatives to public clouds adhere to the fundamental principles of cloud computing, namely self-service portal-driven access over the Web, IT resource elasticity and precise usage-based accountability. At the same time, they offer higher degrees of control and security, in addition to dedicated performance.
Let’s consider a few of the advantages of the private cloud for a moment. Why would an IT decision-maker opt for a private cloud instead of a public cloud option like AWS? Some common reasons include:
- Control: A private cloud is assembled from equipment hand-picked by the IT department and then implemented to meet the organization’s specific business requirements. Accordingly, infrastructure and operations teams have a lot of leeway in what types of servers, storage appliances and networking gear they will end up using. A top-notch Dell server could be paired with open source software like OpenStack for maximum cost-effectiveness and flexibility, for example.
- Performance: Piggybacking on the “control” aspect, private clouds can also provide more consistent availability, thanks to their top-of-the-line infrastructure and fault-tolerant networks that are dedicated to a single client. In contrast, public cloud performance may be dragged down by generic IT assets shared by many tenants, as well as the stipulations of their complex service-level agreements.
- Security and compliance: Private clouds are usually protected by the corporate firewall and housed close by on-premises or in a colocation facility. As such, it is relatively easy to keep an eye on sensitive data and know where it is going and who is accessing it.
To get the most out of their private clouds, however, companies need rock-solid WAN connectivity that provides similar advantages to the three listed above. That is, they require visibility into, and power over, the quality of the growing number of MPLS and broadband Internet connections between their data centers, physical offices and private cloud instances.
Just as the private cloud provides IT with finely tuned control over compute performance and data residency, a software defined WAN solution such as Talari THINKING WAN gives network admins a means to constantly assess path quality and ensure acceptable application performance. Let’s look at three big ways in which the SD-WAN can improve private cloud return on investment.
1) Comprehensive link monitoring
Applications supported by private and/or public clouds have much more complex delivery chains than their traditional predecessors. For example, Internet traffic may originate from a remote office and then be backhauled through the corporate data center via an MPLS line before being sent to the cloud. Meeting security requirements in this way while also dealing with the variability of cable and DSL connections can seriously complicate application delivery.
“An SD-WAN automatically and constantly monitors path quality.”
An SD-WAN can help simplify matters. It automatically and constantly monitors path quality and measures each link based on real traffic rather than pings or probes. All applications also receive Mean Opinion Scores as they leave the network for the cloud, making it possible to know what level of connectivity these programs received.
“Full network visibility and understanding of the innards of an application require more than simply keeping an eye on bandwidth consumption per protocol,” explained a guide from Enterprise Networking Planet. “HTTP traffic has very diverse levels of business priority. Without sufficient application-level visibility, it’s difficult for enterprises to make sure their available network resources are, for example, bolstering ROI sufficiently.”
2) Airtight security
In the abstract, the cloud is a basic risk to data security because it involves the increased sharing of information across networks and disparate locations. Hence the preference of many enterprises to keep data close to the vest, either in a private cloud or even a traditional IT architecture.
SD-WAN can further improve security. Any data sent across public links is protected with 128- or 256-bit AES encryption. Plus, a data session may be split up over at least two links so that its transmissions cannot be reassembled by someone watching the network. In this way, organizations can get peace of mind in how they use their software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service tools.
An SD-WAN can help ensure tight security across Internet links to the cloud.
3) Scalability and flexibility
The cloud is all about the ability to get services on-demand. Such convenience is possible in the private cloud because of how provisioning and deprovisioning are automated, the use of reservation systems and the availability of convenient Web portals that anyone can access. Ideally, the private cloud keeps pace with resource demand through this distinctive combination of smart automation and self-service.
There are times, though, when this demand can push up against the limits of supply. The SD-WAN can help alleviate some of the pressure, however, once bandwidth thresholds are exceeded. For instance, it can dynamically create encrypted Internet connections to the cloud as the occasion requires, without the need to perform time-consuming manual configurations in each case.
Moreover, the SD-WAN also prevents a single point of failure from compromising cloud applications. Traffic can be automatically shifted to superior links, with instant failover and without having to rely on routing protocols.