Cloud Trends and Adoption
Cloud adoption has been taking the industry by storm. Over the years the reliance on the cloud has grown significantly, starting with music, movies, and storage and moving into Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Today, there are many aspects of businesses such as application development, quality assurance, and production that are running in the cloud. To make things even more complicated, companies are relying on multiple cloud vendors to operate their business. This requires unique sets of polices, storage capacity requirements, and overall operational skills on a per-vendor basis. Companies are also struggling with things such as shadow IT and backdoor applications in their environment. This means that lines of business are going to cloud providers on their own without any knowledge or guidance from IT departments and spinning up applications on demand in the cloud. This causes major concerns from a security and privacy perspective. In addition, the potential loss of confidential information or intellectual property could damage the brand and reputation of the business. The risks are significant. Furthermore, the applications in the cloud, whether legitimate production or development, still require certain levels of priority and treatment to ensure the applications are being delivered properly to the users who consume them. This is where some of the capabilities of Cisco SD-WAN can help to ensure the applications are being treated appropriately and the experience for the users is adequate. Figure 1-16 illustrates the demand on the WAN and how the Internet is becoming critical to the operations of the business.
FIGURE 1.16 Demand on WAN for Internet-Based Applications
Having Direct Internet Access can assist with this, as mentioned earlier. By being able to detect application performance through one or more Direct Internet Access circuits, the edge routers are able to choose the best-performing path based on the application-specific parameters. If one of the links to the cloud application fails or has degradation in performance, the application can automatically fail over to another direct Internet link. This process is fully automated and requires no interaction from the network operations staff. Figure 1-17 shows this scenario with multiple Direct Internet Access links.
FIGURE 1.17 Multiple Direct Internet Access Links to Cloud Applications
This concept also works in environments that have a remote branch site that has a local direct Internet link as well as an Internet link within a centralized data center. The same process takes place in that the application performance is measured and the path that provides the best performance will be the path chosen for the application. Similarly, blackout or link failures will also be protected against because of redundancy built into the solution by having multiple available paths. Figure 1-18 depicts this scenario of having a local directly attached Internet link and an Internet link available in a centralized data center. Again, this leaves the router to make the decision based on the policy and application parameters that were configured. Not only are these decisions fully automated and made on a per-application and per-VPN basis, but ultimately an amazing amount of flexibility and control over the application performance within the environment is provided.
FIGURE 1.18 Direct Internet Access and Centralized Internet Link to Cloud Applications