The cloud is changing the WAN
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you are likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the idea of public cloud computing offerings. AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and a large number of bespoke cloud service providers have been hosting larger portions of public and private compute workloads in off-premises datacenters. While this exodus to externally hosted compute infrastructure has simplified the life of technology practitioners in many ways, it is completely changing where we house our applications and, consequently, how we connect to them.
One might assume that cloud environments, which are built upon the tenets of multi-tenancy and elastic infrastructures, would natively offer dynamic and flexible methods of connecting to them. Unfortunately, the truth can be pretty far from that. Each cloud offering has a unique set of connectivity options but typically available choices are some variation of IPSec tunnels across the internet or private circuits purchased and terminated in a connection point offered by the cloud provider. Both options tend to limit how dynamic the routing into and out of the environment can be. These options are fairly standard fare when it comes to the way we’ve done networks for the past couple decades but start to show their age when you start looking at these options in contrast to the features being offered by next-generation SD-WAN providers.
So how do we get the best of both worlds?
Is it possible to have applications hosted in public cloud infrastructure and still take advantage of the advancements being made in SD-WAN?
This is where Riverbed comes in with their recent acquisition of SD-WAN vendor Ocedo. Riverbed has had their eye on the SD-WAN market for a little while now but the acquisition of Ocedo not only accelerated their progress into delivering an SD-WAN product, but also gave them some very interesting new features as it relates to connectivity into and out of public cloud environments.
What if you could seamlessly and easily drop an SD-WAN appliance in to each of your Amazon AWS VPCs?
It sounds ideal doesn’t it? Each segment of your cloud environment would simply be added as a different site on your network and you would be able to be manage the policies, routing and fault correction from the same centralized management point as the rest of your WAN. Amazon VPCs in different regions could talk to each other directly, something that is lacking in Amazon’s native networking options when your VPCs don’t reside in the same datacenter. Not to mention that the same detailed level of visibility that you can obtain in a SD-WAN deployment now extends all the way in to your slice of the cloud infrastructure, giving you an accurate picture of exactly how well packets are being transmitted from your office locations to your hosted infrastructure.
This is exactly what Riverbed and Ocedo are looking to deliver as part of their SD-WAN solution. But rather than reading a few hundred words about how easy the whole process is, why don’t you take a few minutes and watch the embedded video below that shows the solution in action. You can watch for yourself as an engineer goes from discussing what is going to be done to a fully deployed solution in less than 6 minutes of actual work.
As organizations continue down the path of mixing cloud infrastructure with self-managed datacenters, the need for robust connectivity solutions between those entities is going to become more and more important. Additionally, network operators (and the network controllers they manage) are going to need deeper levels of performance visibility in order to make important decisions with how to route traffic between users and their critical infrastructure. This solution speaks to all of these needs and is a great first step in that direction. My hope is that Riverbed continues to develop the product in such a way that we can see virtual SD-WAN appliances seamlessly integrate into popular cloud infrastructure environment in addition to Amazon, removing the barriers of connectivity between cloud providers for migration purposes or even distributing workloads across providers for even greater resiliency.
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