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Discover 5 key cloud networking basics for your organization

Clear away the fog, and explore these five key cloud networking fundamentals -- such as models, challenges and tools -- you need to know before you adopt a cloud network strategy.

The sky is the limit for organizations looking to embrace cloud networking. But, before taking off, IT teams must ensure their businesses and networks are prepared for the cloudy path ahead.

Cloud networks come in various shapes and sizes. Among those options are public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The difference in the available models is one of several key cloud networking basics that organizations must understand before they invest in cloud applications or services. Other fundamental cloud networking basics include potential challenges, major differences between types of cloud architectures, and the available tools and cloud providers.

This compilation explores five essential cloud networking basics for organizations and IT teams that aim to embrace what cloud networks have to offer.

What are the challenges of cloud performance monitoring?

To enable proper performance monitoring, organizations must understand the differences in types of cloud architecture. This boils down to two main architecture types: public and private cloud environments, according to Andrew Froehlich, president of West Gate Networks. IT teams can build their organization's cloud strategy more easily once they understand this difference and know which architecture would benefit their organization most.

The main difference between public and private cloud architectures is responsibility, Froehlich said. For public cloud networks, a public cloud service provider has control over network infrastructure management, whereas the organization has that management control in a private cloud environment. This also means private cloud networks are more flexible than public cloud networks as the organization has more control. Visibility into performance monitoring also varies per architecture.

Discover more challenges of cloud networking basics and performance.

What network tools are available for public cloud monitoring?

When organizations seek monitoring tools for public cloud networking, basics of the tools start with three supplier options: public cloud providers, third-party monitoring vendors and managed cloud providers. Proper monitoring tools are crucial for cloud deployments, said Amy Larsen DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis, because visibility into network resources, performance and security can protect against potential threats.

Tools from public cloud providers focus on services specific to that provider, while third-party vendor tools aim for more vendor-agnostic monitoring. Managed cloud service providers are similar to third-party providers, but they provide assistance in different areas, including design and migration. Organizations must evaluate their own networks and resources to determine which tools would properly benefit their operations.

Read more about public cloud monitoring tools and vendors.

What are hybrid cloud networking basics?

Hybrid cloud environments fuse together private cloud resources and public cloud infrastructure. Hybrid clouds are interconnections for cloud migrations, according to DeCarlo. Hybrid cloud networks differ from multi-cloud strategies, as multi-cloud involves multiple cloud providers or services. All hybrid cloud networks have multi-cloud capabilities, but the same isn't true vice versa.

Hybrid cloud networking aids in data transfer processes so organizations gain public cloud benefits, such as capacity and scalability. Hybrid cloud providers usually run services on Ethernet or MPLS to transfer data between private users and their providers. As hybrid cloud networking evolves, automation will also play a role in enhancing these services, DeCarlo said.

Learn more about hybrid cloud networking basics.

How can cloud management applications organize data across clouds?

The popularity of cloud applications overtook the IT industry quickly, yet one key networking aspect was left in the dust, DeCarlo said: cloud management. This meant organizations lacked holistic visibility into cloud environments -- especially multi-cloud environments, where applications may run across multiple clouds. Cloud management applications can help organizations monitor data across several clouds.

According to DeCarlo, two main options for cloud management applications are off-the-shelf tools and SaaS resources. IT teams within organizations could also build their own applications or services to assist with cloud management and monitoring as vendor applications may not be as malleable or customizable as an organization requires. Other organizations may find more success with third-party tools or services.

Dive deeper into management for cloud networking basics.

How does a WAN-cloud exchange work?

A WAN-cloud exchange enables organizations to create secure connections with cloud providers without complete reliance on internet connectivity. Organizations need a physical connection for a WAN-cloud exchange connection, said John Burke, CIO and principal analyst at Nemertes Research. This physical connection could live at a data center hosting site.

WAN-cloud exchange benefits include secure connectivity between organizations and cloud providers, as well as more consistent network performance. This technology also works well with software-defined WANs (SD-WANs). Together, WAN-cloud exchanges and SD-WAN can provide another connection path between cloud environments and the data traffic moving between those points.

Explore more about WAN-cloud exchanges.

Next Steps

The difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud networking basics

How cloud data centers can change bandwidth

This was last published in October 2019

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