Corporations are moving to public cloud in growing numbers, and the increasing use of these services is having an impact on enterprise networks. Potential bottlenecks are shifting away from the company data center to network entry and exit points. Corporations must understand why the changes are occurring and their impact, and then take steps to ensure their networks deliver acceptable response times.

Organizations are embracing cloud computing. Worldwide spending on public cloud services was forecasted to increase from $227.8 billion in 2019 to $266.4 billion in 2020, a 17% annual jump, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc. As workloads move from the company data center to the public cloud, enterprise network traffic patterns shift.

The first change is corporations are deploying more applications: mobile, social media, data analytics, and artificial intelligence and machine learning. The result is they work with more information and need to carry it over their corporate networks. The volume of data generated annually is expected to grow from 33 zettabytes (1 trillion gigabytes) in 2018 to 175ZB in 2025, a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61%.

Changing Traffic Patterns

Faster networking techniques are required as more information flows over enterprise networks. Recently, vendors started to roll out Wi-Fi 6, which increases wireless networks’ top speed from 1G bps to 2G bps to 10G bps.

In addition, traffic flows shift. In the past, processing was monolithic: almost all was done in central data centers. Cloud distributes computing infrastructure: keeping some work on site but moving some off to public cloud providers’ facilities.

New pressure points emerge as businesses alter their configurations. In legacy systems, information moved among servers, storage systems, and network devices. The network architectures assumed that Internet access was sporadic, light and non-critical, so they relied on low speed Wide Area Network (WAN) services.

With cloud, traffic migrates to the WAN, a complex area with a lot of choices.  Here, a company needs a link to the cloud provider’s site. Corporations often rely on their existing Internet lines, but they may require an upgrade. In making a change, businesses balance a number of trade-offs.

Choices Abound

Internet bandwidth is often inexpensive, but it has limitation. This bandwidth is given on a first come, first serve basis, so network availability is not guaranteed. Delays in freeing up bandwidth can cause transmission troubles; in some cases, files may not reach their destination and have to be resent. If workers exchange large complex files, for example, engineering documents or videos, Internet connections may not be a good choice.

Enterprises have a few other options. Rather than an Internet link, businesses can deploy a private network line, a direct connection from their network to their supplier’s network. Cloud providers offer such links to their customers for add-on fees.

Security is another consideration, one where tension arises among security, performance, and cost demands. Businesses must be sure that their information is protected as it travels from their site to their provider’s location. Yet, not all cloud computing vendors support encrypted tunnels, so a business’ information may be open to intrusion.

To add encryption, a company may deploy Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). They come in two varieties. Some are based on layer three protocols, such as MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), which operate at the router level. Others rely on Layer 2 services, such as Ethernet-over-MPLS and Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), which function at the switch level.

Vendors are in a constant game of leap frog with hackers in developing security solutions. Current encryption techniques have become more sophisticated to ward off the bad guys. One downside is they require more bandwidth and processing power, which may lower system performance. If a company has an application that demands rapid response times, then they must be sure that they have high enough bandwidth to deliver adequate performance.

Gain a Clear Picture of the Costs

As businesses adopt new WAN services, they need to ensure that they know what the costs will be. Carriers offer various pricing models, often based on variable pricing models: bandwidth is charged per megabyte, network appliances are charged for CPU consumption, and data logging requires varying amounts of storage. Here, total monthly charges can vary significantly from month to month.

Fixed pricing is easier to budget because a corporation pays a set fee each month. However, with this option, a business may pay for network bandwidth that is not used during the month.

Businesses are moving to public cloud service. The change shifts network traffic patterns, so organizations need to adapt. Making the change requires understanding its impact and then balancing their bandwidth, security, performance and cost requirements.

Is your organization considering moving to the public cloud? We can help you choose and implement the right solutions! Contact Imagit to learn more.

View Our Network Engineering Case Studies