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How does a WAN-cloud exchange work?

WAN-cloud exchanges provide private and secure connectivity to cloud environments, making them beneficial for software-defined WAN and SaaS platforms.

A WAN-cloud exchange -- or just cloud exchange -- enables enterprises to connect with cloud service providers without sending traffic solely over the internet.

Enterprises usually connect to a WAN-cloud exchange using a dedicated physical connection in a meet-me facility, such as a data center hosting site. The exchange provider connects the exchange's network directly to a variety of cloud providers' networks.

Enterprises spin up virtual circuits with the exchange to connect to cloud providers' networks. They still have to buy the right to do so, however; for example, they may buy the right to set up an Azure ExpressRoute from Microsoft or a Direct Connect gateway from AWS.

WAN-cloud exchanges provide more secure connections and more consistent performance, which reduce business and operational risk. Cloud exchanges work well with software-defined WAN technology, which uses them as another available path to a cloud destination and routes traffic through them according to defined security and performance policies.

WAN-cloud exchange providers

WAN-cloud exchange providers include most telecoms companies, such as AT&T and Comcast; network-as-a-service providers, such as Aryaka; and most large data center hosting providers, such as Equinix. Many enterprises have multiple options available from their current partner list, and they should always include those partners in their evaluations.

This was last published in March 2019

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