Surviving the hybrid cloud: a networking perspective

Tudor Toma 19th February 2018
Tudor speaking at AWS Meetup

The cloud today is often an idealistic world where we envision native cloud applications, elasticity, resiliency and other traits which a public cloud service brings.

The reality the corporate, large enterprise landscape have to face is a long history of managing and running their own applications in private or hosted data centers, therefore stepping into adopting cloud technologies and solutions is transformational and a challenge on many levels.

 

Cloud transformation

 

Some of these levels include: Company Vision, Teams, Applications, Providers, Compliance and many more. Since this is not an easy transition, most companies adopt public cloud technologies in steps, and depending on the magnitude of the step there can be many technical challenges waiting for them.

In this blog I will try to set some insights into some of these challenges, however I will focus on the network connectivity challenge as this sits at the foundation of having a healthy, controllable, and reliable hybrid cloud infrastructure for enterprise applications.

 

Surviving the hybrid cloud

 

I did a presentation recently at the AWS Munich Meetup which goes into some detail on “Surviving the Hybrid Cloud” from a network connectivity point of view.

If you are interested in this topic at technical level, then feel free to contact me and I can help you navigate further through the options.

The topics which are covered in the slidedeck include:

  • Why do we have hybrid clouds?
  • Challenges of hybrid cloud solutions
  • Requirements for identifying a network connectivity solution
  • Various options for connecting the datacenter to AWS public cloud
  • Exploring the cost options of these components
  • Enabling availability and resiliency of the links
  • Engineering the traffic and routing to and from the public cloud
  • Fitting internet connections to these hybrid solutions
  • Accessing the resources inside the VPC once connections have been done
  • Recognising the limitations and finding solutions for connectivity at scale  – Exploring transitive routing options

 

The network component

 

Though the complexity of the challenges when creating a hybrid cloud infrastructure is quite high, there are some components which are foundational. These are some of the base components of the hybrid cloud construction:

  • Network Connectivity
  • Access Management
  • Security Policy enforcement
  • Compliance
  • Availability and Resiliency
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery

The network component has quite a strong impact in the above list. This is not only from the connectivity point of view, but also the exposure of applications, security, and public cloud network structure.

This impact can vary based on complexity from the “quick network and connectivity setup” for successfully deploying apps to “highly available and connected data centers in the coud”.

 

Main takeaways

 

The slidedeck intends to create a quick run-through of the main options to achieve connectivity of the public cloud with existing hosted or owned networks. Here are some takeaways and strategic points that you need to take into consideration for this topic:

  1. Understand the situation, the motivation, and the business reasons for which the hybrid cloud connectivity has been chosen
  2. Get the network connectivity requirements and make sure you know what you have to do. The slidedeck will provide a starting point for requirements
  3. Understand the connectivity options and features, as well as the attached cost, limitations, and caveats
  4. Assess how the traffic and demand for this connectivity will evolve in the short and medium term; plan ahead for availability, link resiliency, and disaster recovery
  5. Make sure that you understand the on-premises network details, and align this with the connectivity and traffic engineering.
  6. Once the hybrid connectivity is in place, test for failure and assess performance, load, and usage; plan ahead for improvements and upgrades.
  7. Do your own research and due diligence; understand the requirements from the right people, like product owners, application owners, and other stakeholders

 

Disclaimer

 

If you are viewing the presentation, it is worth mentioning that it was made for the purpose of educating engineers to get to a point where they are confident in approaching a hybrid cloud network connectivity problem and are able to navigate through various options. All the connectivity options need to be studied in detail using the official documentation and blogs as the solutions and technologies evolve over time, making today’s solutions outdated or even obsolete tomorrow.

I hope that you will find this useful, and even if this is not a complete guide it should create a clearer picture of the various options when connecting data centers to the AWS Cloud while motivating you to dig deeper and understand your situation and how the connectivity should look in order to meet the desired requirements.

 

Resources

 

  • View the slidedeck here
  • VPC Connectivity Whitepaper here
  • VPN Connections documentation here
  • Directconnect documentation here