Are there no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds?

G.K. Chesterton’s statement from the beginning of the 20th century neatly encapsulates a very 21st century problem. Enterprises are rebuilding their IT infrastructure, with applications straddling both the cloud and private environments. For most businesses, the transition to the cloud is a multi-year journey that is still a work in progress and, even putting the architectural challenges aside, moving to a more consumption-based approach to services simply doesn't happen overnight. Hybrid cloud has therefore emerged as the logical choice for businesses that want the benefit of public cloud combined with the ability (or need) to retain on-premise IT, and organisations are pursuing more deliberate architectures to balance performance and cost while meeting the specific needs of applications and workloads.

Historically, public cloud had been seen by some as too unpredictable or risky for running customer critical apps. Businesses took comfort behind the company firewall, viewing traditional on-premise environments as the best way to retain complete control over application performance and security. As major cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure and AWS have grown in stature and reputation, however, many enterprises now feel more comfortable with the concept of running critical applications in public cloud environments.

Building a true castle in the clouds, then, is slowly becoming a necessity. If it can be made secure and dependable, the cloud becomes the favoured choice to run many of the enterprise’s applications. The challenge for many cloud strategists in designing such a hybrid cloud environment, however, comes down to security and ensuring high application performance – with applications split between private and public environments, this is a complex ask. Connecting on-premise data and cloud workloads via public Internet, for example, can result in latency variations and throughput issues exponentially hampering application performance, leading to a host of issues across the enterprise.

We see these problems manifest themselves in many ways:

  • Frustration with poor performance of applications;
  • Employee productivity suffering from slow access to large files in the cloud due to limited bandwidth;
  • Compliance and audit risks;
  • Jitter and buffering on video and audio conferences; and
  • Difficulty of integrating cloud-based compute and new SaaS applications with legacy databases held in private data centres.

Enterprises that are implementing hybrid clouds will need to evaluate the readiness of their overall application performance across these new cloud environments, and how to deploy an effective security perimeter across a hybrid cloud network.

Keep your clouds close, and your edge even closer

This is where proximity is key. Enterprises need to consider the connectivity between their private infrastructure and the cloud carefully, as no business wants to be left at the mercy of variable network performance, and customers simply won't tolerate slow applications. Identifying the source of the latency variation could result in a hybrid cloud solution that architects around network reliability and performance. This can mean simply ensuring that cloud workloads are located in closest proximity to the cloud providers on which the business relies, and extending existing network virtualisation environments. This way data can be interchanged between locations rapidly and securely, and the enterprise retains a “single pane of glass” view of the entire environment.

This is exactly what using neutral colocation within a hybrid cloud architecture affords. Adopting a central hub such as Interxion into the hybrid cloud environment offers the enterprise greater flexibility, enabling them to move workloads across public and private cloud resources as computing needs and costs change. Most importantly, neutral colocation offers a central location where the enterprise network edge functions and private gateways to cloud providers are next to each other, improving performance and visibility, while reducing traffic tromboning and network design complexity.

Build your castle in the clouds

The right network design combined with a neutral colocation environment can help enterprises realise the enormous benefits of hybrid cloud, while eliminating issues with stability, security, and performance. By colocating at a facility that brings instant access to a multi-cloud environment, Internet service providers and exchanges, network operators and IT service providers, organisations can reduce their infrastructure costs, nimbly select the right cloud for the right workload, increase availability and reduce latency.

Through its Cloud Connect solution, Interxion enables customers to increase business agility and optimise networking strategies by interconnecting networks, cloud platforms and customer communities. It enables businesses to colocate their IT infrastructure alongside the cloud platforms of their choice and colocate critical enterprise edge functions, thereby overcoming networking challenges and optimising their cloud usage.

In the end, the greatest performance benefit of all will be the ability to craft a secure cloud environment that allows the enterprise to provide services that no competitor can duplicate. This is the true mark of a business that will be successful in the digital age.

Ready to realise your cloud vision? Find out how Cloud Connect can enhance your application performance.