Kunal Thakkar, VP of Product & Solutions Engineering at Apcela
In May of 2017, we published ‘5 Steps to Cloud-Ready WAN’, in which we highlighted the accelerated trends of public cloud adoption and shared a 5-step recommendation on how to build a Cloud-Ready WAN. Since having helped numerous large enterprises through the journey of planning and implementing the architectural blueprint we laid out, and reflecting on our recommendations 5 years later, we take pride in our keen industry insights and our foresight, as the principles proposed 5 years ago still hold true, and our recommended approach has become the de facto standard for agile enterprises.
The intent of this article is a deep-dive on one of those five recommendations – Direct Connections to Cloud platforms:
In their article titled Competitive Landscape: Private Cloud Connectivity Services, Gartner highlights, ‘The more enterprises pivot to cloud-based IT for mission-critical workloads, the more they recognize the need for predictability and high performance in their connections to the cloud that internet-based interconnects cannot always guarantee.
This is reflected in the fact that as of June 1, 2022, AWS highlights 87 DirectConnect partners who provide private fiber extensions from AWS regions to customers’ hybrid/on-prem infrastructure. For Google Cloud, that number is 104 Google Interconnect partners, and Microsoft leads the chart, touting 126 ExpressRoute connectivity providers.
To enable dedicated site-to-cloud connectivity, AWS DirectConnect, Microsoft ExpressRoute, and such are delivered to customer locations as a private WAN (dedicated last mile access) and a cross connect at a colocation. Almost all enterprises start with one primary CSP, and one or two dedicated private cloud connections, and eventually grow more connections to the primary CSP, or add connections to additional CSPs, as they embrace multicloud.
Eventually, more applications and workloads are migrated to cloud, and more cloud regions are added for distributed application delivery platform and high availability. This results in enterprises procuring more and more single-purpose private cloud on-ramps, each of which has its dedicated tail/access circuit.
Apcela recommends converting the access circuits enabling AWS DirectConnect (or Azure ExpressRoute) into a multicloud link instead of a single purpose connection and levering existing SD-WAN or augmenting the connection with new SD-WAN for end-to-end multicloud connectivity orchestration.
5 reasons to convert your AWS DirectConnect to a multicloud on-ramp:
1. Cost efficiency: Achieve private connectivity to multiple regions of multiple clouds with a smaller number of overall connections. The access circuits are often the most expensive piece of private cloud connections, and by making each such link a multi-purpose link, the enterprises can significantly reduce the total number of last mile connections required for multicloud connectivity.
2. Greater visibility and control: The access connectivity augmented with SD-WAN enables QoS and app-aware performance-based routing, which further optimizes the ROI.
3. Better High Availability: With SD-WAN as an overlay technology the multicloud access links can be complemented with available Internet (DIA/Broadband) transport resulting in improved high-availability.
4. Encryption: Most SD-WAN platforms have overlay encryption enabled by default, which provides data confidentiality while in transit.
5. Extended reach: Reach any cloud region globally by leveraging Apcela’s latency-optimized global core network.
Four triggers for decision making:
1. Underutilized DirectConnect circuits
2. Higher costs due to number of DirectConnects
3. Lack of encryption
4. Lack of visibility and analytics across the DirectConnect circuits
If you are an enterprise with existing private cloud connections, and rely on these connections for business-critical, performance-sensitive applications, Apcela offers a consultative approach for design services and customized solutions based on your requirements.
At Apcela, we help with a minimal change, minimal disruption approach to converting a single-purpose cloud connection into a multicloud connection.