Is the public internet robust enough to support cloud services?
Businesses have been using public internet as a cost-saving measure for decades, but as operations have started moving to cloud-based strategies, the money saved is being negated by lower productivity and reliability.
According to Nemertes 2019 Cybersecurity Research Study the average enterprise now has more workloads (56%) sourced in external clouds than in their own data centres.
In making that shift to the cloud, businesses may experience performance issues, especially when utilising public connectivity solutions. Here, Emily Nerland, channel director EMEA at Masergy, explores those issues and offers insight into when public connections should be leveraged for optimal performance.
Understanding the limits of public connectivity
While public internet connections have become the default option for cloud service access, it’s certainly not the most reliable option. Broadband is typically called a “best-effort” service because it comes without any Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or performance-based guarantees. Public connections also have significantly higher packet loss and latency than private network solutions and greater variability in loss and latency.
If enterprises have business-critical applications running in the cloud, public internet connections may be too risky to support secure cloud access. With the requirements for more reliability, availability, and responsiveness and higher security, IT leaders are often searching for alternate connectivity options.
Direct Cloud Connections (DCCs) offer direct physical links for low-latency, fast and reliable connectivity. Users are able to send traffic directly to the service provider’s cloud at either a Layer 2 (ethernet) or Layer 3 (IP) level, though the service comes with a high cost of ownership.
WAN Cloud Exchanges (WAN-CXs) act as a go-between, removing the requirement for direct connections to the service provider’s cloud. Instead, the exchange is connected to multiple CSPs that allows for virtual links to hundreds of popular applications, usually through an online portal, for efficient data transfer without the infrastructure of a DCC.
Benefits of leveraging a public connection
Whilst running an entire enterprise from a public internet connection is certainly not recommended, Masergy believes these alternative connections do not necessarily eliminate the requirement for public internet access. Businesses should still leverage low-cost connectivity for non-critical services like failover, back-up and applications that are not dependant on time or packet loss.
In order to facilitate the easy routing of traffic over multiple connection types, businesses should implement an SD-WAN model, like those available from Masergy, where all available connection types are combined with the speed and automation of Artificial Intelligence to optimise a network’s performance.
SD-WAN implementations are able to leverage all connected networks to direct traffic over the most efficient path, whilst only requiring the most basic set-up. This network model is ideal for reliable access to the cloud services that have become essential in modern working practices, like video calling and collaboration software. Bandwidth-hungry services can be routed over DCC or WAN-CX connections, (depending on the individual business’ infrastructure) whilst cost-efficient public networks can be leveraged for non-critical services and back-up at a reasonable cost .
Depending on the specific requirements of the enterprise, most will opt for a WAN-CX strategy, whilst those operations that require the best possible connectivity requirements may choose DCC for the added guarantees and reliability. Though, leveraging public internet is still within many businesses best-interests when combined with SD-WAN.
The author is Emily Nerland, channel director EMEA at Masergy