Hybrid cloud computing: Can I network across physical domains?

Many companies are placing some applications in their on-premises data centers and keeping some in the cloud. This creates hybrid clouds. How do you network across these clouds? More specifically, how do you pull a network across physical domains in a hybrid cloud computing scenario?

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You absolutely can network across physical domains in these types of hybrid cloud computing scenarios, and we see many clients do that today. It's important to keep in mind that you don't own your own network in the cloud, and you don't own the hardware. Some cloud vendors will allow you to specify the IP address space so, if you want to extend your 10-dot internal network, for example, on your on-premises side into the cloud, you can do that. We have a lot of other clients that implement either a point-to-point or an IPsec virtual private network tunnel between their on-premises data center and cloud provider. This allows them to extend their network if they're using the same network address space.

Doing so also allows companies to use their existing monitoring tools and plug into the infrastructure they set up in that network into the public cloud space. What's altered about the cloud space is that it's a different network space, so you don't have control over that network and can't necessarily install network sniffing tools or the appliances that you normally would in an on-premises data center. For example, when you utilize Amazon's unicast network as opposed to a multicast network, you have to think differently about what tools and technologies to deploy – that mostly comes down to choosing between agent-based and multicasting appliances.

About the author:
Kris Bliesner is CEO and co-founder of 2nd Watch Inc.

This was first published in September 2013

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