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May 6, 2018

What is Cloud Networking?

What is Cloud Networking? Blog

With so many organizations looking to move their infrastructure to the cloud, networking has become a big part of that discussion. However, there seems to be some confusion as to what cloud networking is.

What is cloud networking?

When we talk about cloud networking, there are two types:

  1. Network devices that are managed and configured from the cloud such as Meraki or Aruba.
  2. Creating networking within your cloud environment.

If you are moving all your infrastructure to the cloud, the first thing you need to know is that this does not mean that you are going to get rid of all your switches, routers, WAPs, and firewalls in your facility. You will be able to get rid of some of those devices — the ones primarily in your data center — but you will still need all of the networking you currently have to connect all your workstations, printers, and end-user devices. By moving to the cloud, you are still going to have to manage on-premise hardware.

Managing network devices from the cloud allows you to manage all your network hardware from one interface. This is becoming a very popular way to manage networking hardware. The most common vendors of this hardware are Cisco Meraki and HPE Aruba. This way of managing network devices allows you to configure, manage, and update from one interface, saving you time and money.

Networking in your cloud infrastructure will take the place of the hardware that you once had in your datacenter, but you are confined to the limits of what your cloud provider will allow you to do. All networking in the cloud is SDN (Software Defined Networking). You can configure your networking within the parameters that your cloud provider has allowed and install virtual devices (firewalls, switches, routers) in the cloud. However, they all sit on top of the cloud provider’s networking and will be limited. You will never have the flexibility and control to the whole network stack like you would within your own datacenter.

When evaluating whether the cloud is right for your organization, please make sure to take the time to look at how this will affect your network infrastructure. Many variables are at play when contemplating such an important change for your organization.

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