Tip Tuesday: Optimizing multi-cloud network management

Multi-cloud strategies are quickly becoming the norm for businesses today. Managed service providers (MSPs) offering cloud-based services can benefit from these architectures more than most, as their scalability and reliability create convenience for end users. However, managing multi-cloud networks can be challenging.

As cloud computing has replaced on-premises in most applications, multi-cloud systems will soon replace single clouds. Capitalizing on that shift is an important step for your business, but to do that, you must manage these networks more effectively. That starts with optimized network paths.

Challenges in multi-cloud management

Multi-cloud architecture is a necessary step forward. Hybrid environments lower costs and improve scalability, and using multiple providers offers more reliability and an escape from vendor lock-in. Those benefits become increasingly valuable as the world relies more heavily on cloud computing, but they also come at a cost.

Managing workloads across multiple clouds from different vendors can be complex. Determining which part of your network is optimal for hosting data and services may take time. You may also have to deal with multiple application programming interfaces (APIs), limiting cross-cloud compatibility.

This segmentation can decrease visibility and result in inconsistent updates and overcomplicated troubleshooting. As a result, your end-users may experience suboptimal performance. MSPs must take advantage of the multi-cloud architecture and overcome these challenges.

How to optimize multi-cloud network paths

Many issues arise from businesses applying outdated network architectures to multi-cloud environments. The traditional hub-and-spoke model doesn’t work with newer technologies. It would be best if you optimized your network paths to make the most of multi-cloud systems.

Policy-based routing

Policy-based routing (PBR) is one of the best strategies to apply to your multi-cloud networking. Conventional destination routing determines what path to transmit data through based on its destination. That works fine in a simple environment but quickly becomes inefficient in a multi-cloud system.

The average organization today uses more than 100 software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps across a vast range of devices managing different data types, and multi-clouds throw even more options into the mix. All that complexity means you need a more dynamic solution to routing. That’s where PBR comes in.

PBR routes data based on policies you set to meet your network needs. You can send information from different devices or apps down certain pathways or set rules for load balancing at peak hours. You can adjust routing policies based on a wide array of parameters, making it easier to maximize your bandwidth in your unique cloud environment.

Software-defined networking

Software-defined networking (SDN) is another critical strategy in updating your cloud network management. You can use SDN to optimize workloads between your separate clouds as PBR optimizes routing between devices and your multi-cloud system.

SDN decouples network controls from your data plane and hardware. This results in centralized visibility and control over your entire cloud network, regardless of how many different devices or systems it covers. This centralization lets you manage your resources and program policies once and immediately apply them across clouds.

Improved security is another important advantage of SDN. There is more visibility which means you can spot and respond to potential breaches faster. This is especially important when dealing with disparate APIs and cloud systems. The response time is crucial because breaches cost $4.35 million on average and take hundreds of days to contain.

Automate as much as possible

You can optimize your network paths through automation. Programming, controlling, and balancing pathways and protocols can take much time. The more time you spend on that, the less you must help your clients.

You can automate network management easily if you’ve successfully implemented PBR and SDN. Today, only 10 percent of enterprises automate more than half of their network activities. Automated workflows enable faster responses to changing conditions, improving performance.

Automated load balancing can direct traffic through different paths depending on shifting factors to maximize throughput. AI security tools can alert you to suspicious activity to improve cybersecurity visibility and responses. Automation makes managing multi-clouds easier in virtually every workflow.

Optimized network paths are the key to multi-cloud success

A successful multi-cloud environment requires an appropriate network architecture underneath it. You’ll encounter significant performance and cost issues if you try to apply an outdated network path model to these systems. By contrast, adapting your network path strategy to fit the multi-cloud model allows you to capitalize on this technology’s potential fully.

When your multi-cloud system works as efficiently and securely as possible, those benefits reflect your customers. That advantage is impossible for MSPs to overlook. Optimizing your network paths is essential to succeed in today’s multi-cloud-centric market and stand out.

Photo: Peshkova / Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on Smarter MSP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *