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What is hybrid cloud networking and how is it evolving?

With help from telecom providers and connectivity, hybrid cloud networking enables organizations to add network capacity by tapping into public cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud networking is the interconnection between private cloud resources and public cloud infrastructure that supports the movement of workloads in those environments. Linked by telecom services and the infrastructure that underpins that connection, hybrid cloud networking facilitates the transfer of data, enabling enterprises to use the additional capacity, scale and lower costs of the public cloud when needed.

For many organizations, their first major forays into the cloud began as private cloud deployments.  Seeing an opportunity to support clients that wanted to tap into public cloud capacity, many global telecom providers and large regional providers introduced hybrid networking services that provided a direct link between private cloud resources -- often running on the customer's premises -- with public cloud infrastructure. Telcos partnered with major-tier providers of IaaS, SaaS and PaaS to provide a tighter integration between private and public clouds.

Enterprises have used various methods to facilitate hybrid cloud connectivity, including basic public internet services, a VPN or a direct interconnection. In some cases, organizations transfer data not via the network, but to an appliance which is then shipped to the public cloud provider for direct transfer to assets within the cloud provider's environment. The use case for this is data that requires exceptional security. These appliances are hardened, encrypted and wiped once the transfer occurs.

Providers that offer hybrid cloud networking services typically rely on direct MPLS or Ethernet connections to transfer data between the client's private cloud and the service provider's public cloud. Some providers claim their specialized hybrid cloud networking services are designed to handle the dynamic nature of cloud traffic. Automation plays an important role in helping accelerate provisioning and meet fluctuating network bandwidth requirements.

Providers are incorporating enhanced functionality in areas such as security and performance optimization. Advances in areas such as network functions virtualization are making it possible to deliver more features virtually, like firewall controls.

This was last published in May 2019

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What drawbacks or caveats do you see with hybrid cloud architectures?
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