Over the past year, cloud connectivity has emerged as a key focus area for many cloud providers. Cloud connectivity refers to strengthening network-access technologies that lend increased flexibility, predictability, and security to enterprise cloud platforms. The public cloud concept is based on the delivery of shared, scalable computer and storage resources that are easily accessible via an equally scalable and flexible network, the Internet. In the case of the public cloud, enterprises can add a layer of security to the platform by adding a level of encryption over the network using a secure socket layer (SSL) or an Internet Protocol-based secure virtual private network (IPsec VPN). However, with the evolution of the cloud market, enterprises increasingly want more than scalability.
They want operational stability and predictability as well, which only private networks can deliver. The network connecting the cloud plays a key role in delivering operational predictability to a cloud platform. Enterprises' choice of cloud providers is no longer solely based on the architecture of the cloud platform, but is also dependent on the way network access is built into the cloud. A key reason for this evolution of customer preference is that the enterprise cloud is only as secure as the network accessing the platform.
Furthermore, the enterprise IT environment is increasingly hybrid, consisting of on-premise deployments and off-site data centre services and cloud services. A distributed enterprise set-up requires a robust and reliable network that provides seamless connectivity across different environments. Cloud providers are therefore forging partnerships with network providers to offer secure connectivity and simplify access to the enterprise cloud.
Some key announcements related to cloud connectivity over the past 2 years include the following:
Verizon's Secure Cloud Interconnect was expanded to offer customers private and secure access to its own and partner cloud solutions.
- Orange Business Services continued to build partnerships with cloud providers to provide secure access solutions to the cloud with Business VPN Galerie.
- A growing partnership ecosystem for the Equinix Cloud Exchange provides customers with easy and direct access to preferred cloud solutions.
- The launch of Google's Cloud Interconnect Solutions is poised to offer increased network access options for enterprise customers.
Recognising the importance of the network, cloud providers are focusing on improving the network architecture connecting to their cloud platform. In this analysis, the growing importance of cloud connectivity is explored with examples of the existing models in the market. It draws a particular focus on Interoute, which is growing rapidly with its "networked cloud" offering.