Part 1: Seamless Connectivity From Anywhere
Today’s applications are no longer confined behind the walls of data centers. They are migrating to the cloud and being offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). These applications are built on a distributed architecture model and run across different systems. This puts new demands on the network to become more application aware, programmable, and intelligent to deliver the best application experience to any user on any device, anywhere.
To be effective, modern networks must provide:
- Dynamic, Seamless Connectivity from Anywhere
- Programmable Functionality for optimal Quality of Experience
- Adaptive Responsiveness to Application Health & Needs
Part 1 of this blog series will focus on providing seamless connectivity from anywhere. In part 2, we will explore how applications can “program” and cooperatively work with the network to provide a higher quality of experience by leveraging telemetry and other network health insights.
Enterprises are rapidly adopting a multi-cloud network architecture where applications migrate from datacenters to hybrid clouds based on specific organizational needs. To achieve this, they are seeking new solutions that facilitate the implementation and orchestration of a secured and optimized hybrid multi-cloud network that is independent of the physical topology. Ultimately, they want maximum flexibility with minimal disruption for as little effort as possible.
With public cloud adoption moving at an unprecedented pace, cloud service providers (CSP) attract customer workloads and applications onto their clouds through differentiated services and capabilities. The variety of technologies used across clouds makes cloud interconnection quite challenging as cloud networking architects must constantly learn new techniques to leverage each CSP’s specific networking features and functions. To simplify management, network professionals need products and solutions that can abstract these cloud networking differences through a single orchestration layer that bridges the different cloud systems.
SaaS applications by nature are elastic and can serve users from anywhere. The modern network must not only provide connectivity to the sites where SaaS applications are hosted but be capable of dynamically selecting the site that will deliver the optimal SaaS experience to the user as well.
Cisco SD-WAN the Bridge to the Cloud
Cisco enables enterprises to take advantage of SD-WAN “overlay” networks to seamlessly connect users, machines, and applications across clouds and data centers. Moreover, our SD-WAN solution is fully aware of SaaS applications and provides an optimal path to them by programming the network with best path selection and adjusting it based on a combination of application and network telemetry.
In partnership with Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP, we are enabling and delivering a superior application experience to securely connect users and devices to any cloud from anywhere. By leveraging the inherent programmability of our SD-WAN fabric and that of our cloud partners, we have created a simplified yet highly consistent workflow that connects two endpoints while abstracting the differences of each underlying cloud.
In partnership with Megaport and Equinix, we are capable of establishing high-bandwidth connectivity to virtual private clouds.
This is achieved in a matter of minutes via Direct Connect and Express route:
- Automatic discovery of the VPC/VNET and other cloud assets is based on the account credentials of the user.
- The user selects which private network and cloud network need to be connected. The automation engine takes care of all system activities, including:
- Automated deployment of the required gateways in the cloud and partner infrastructure to build the fabric.
- Provisioning of Cloud Gateways (TGW, Virtual Network Gateway) and setup of the route peering relationship between the SDWAN fabric and the cloud network.
- Programming of the desired policies, including security across cloud and customer sites.
- The system automatically starts monitoring the new network setup and its components. It also extends assurance capabilities to the network admin for an optimal user experience and network connectivity.
The figure below shows the high-level network architecture used to achieve seamless connectivity between customer sites and clouds.
Cisco SD-WAN: The Bridge to SaaS
Access to applications is frequently over the public Internet. This can cause significant variation in the user experience based on their location and the specific site serving the SaaS application. Cisco SD-WAN has additional intelligence that enables it to discover all the different sites that serve a SaaS application. This enables the system to identify the optimal path to these sites based on the user location. Path selection is dynamic and takes into account the current status of each site’s connectivity. While direct internet access often provides the best experience, if the closest site is saturated or overloaded, then the system can select an alternate site to more efficiently serve the application to the user over the SD-WAN fabric.
To provide optimal connectivity and the best application experience possible in our Cloud and SaaS era, a flexible, intelligent, and programmable network is required. The network plays a crucial role in providing the bridge to a delightful application experience that business professionals and consumers have been accustomed to and are now demanding 100% of the time.
In this blog we have discussed how a flexible and programmable network provides seamless connectivity to the hybrid cloud and to SaaS. In addition, we have shared how we have solved the challenges of network disparity across clouds by providing key integration, abstraction, and automation of cloud and networks via Cisco SD-WAN. In the next blog in this series, we will explore Quality of Experience and how it can be best served by an intelligent SD-WAN network.
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