Building a multi-cloud strategy with layer 3 optimization

By Micah Bartell May 8, 2017

Enterprise uptick of public cloud consumption is rapidly building momentum. The earliest cloud deployments focused on isolated applications with non-critical business impacts. Cloud providers developed their infrastructures using unique architectures and frameworks. This led to many enterprises testing the waters by selecting a single cloud provider for an application as a phased approach to adopting public cloud for their infrastructure.

Now, we see many of these same enterprises taking the necessary steps to diversify their data portfolios with a multi-cloud setup. This enables them to take advantage of unique cloud benefits based on specific workload requirements, avoid vendor lock-in and ensure adequate redundancies are in place. As these deployments continue to mature, organizations are moving larger and more critical systems to public cloud infrastructure, leading to greater complexity in multi-vendor environments.

Layer 2 Can’t Keep Up with Today’s Connectivity Needs

IaaS providers typically provide their own private access gateways, like AWS Direct Connect and Azure ExpressRoute, utilizing a Layer 2 interconnection methodology to provide connectivity to the cloud-based resources. This Layer 2 connectivity is only offered between the enterprise and public cloud providers, a hub and spoke model, because that’s where the early demand was, back when cloud-to-cloud communication was either minimal or not required at all.

Building a Multi-Cloud Strategy with Layer 3 OptimizationBut, cloud architectures and deployments have become more sophisticated, now spanning multiple providers, with new requirements for redundancy and inter-application communication. This architectural shift brings an increase in complexity for automating and provisioning connectivity, with more moving parts and dependencies that need to be reconciled and accounted for.  A legacy hub and spoke design lacks the ability to efficiently and optimally address these challenges.

This new level of complexity is changing the game for connectivity requirements.

Layer 3 is What Enterprises Need to Meet This Challenge

That’s where Layer 3 comes in. Where Layer 2 extends connectivity to resources in the public cloud, Layer 3 brings with it the ability to deliver reachability between those disparate pools of resources and optimize the data path between those resource pools.

Integrating the Layer 3 function closer to the cloud gateways provide the ability to enable direct cloud-to-cloud communications while optimizing the underlying data path. This reduces latency and increases bandwidth efficiency by removing the requirement to hairpin traffic through the customer premise equipment. This shift in the cloud-to-cloud network topology is analogous to the improvements enterprises gained by moving from frame relay to MPLS, to enable more efficient any-to-any direct connectivity, but without the associated price tag.

The integration of Layer 3 as part of Console’s cloud interconnection portfolio is what enables the Console Platform to deliver greater flexibility and performance. Connectivity between clouds is orchestrated with the shortest path between two providers, thereby improving performance by increasing available bandwidth and reducing latency through an optimal data path – something that Layer 2 alone cannot provide, especially as the number of cloud providers included in a multi-cloud architecture increases.

With Layer 3, the Console Platform is making it easier than ever to build automated and flexible connectivity between enterprises and their business-critical cloud partners. For more on how Console is streamlining multi-cloud strategies with Layer 3, book a meeting with us at ITW 2017, May 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Swissotel in Chicago. You can find us at booth #1450.


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About Micah Bartell

Micah Bartell is Sr. Director of Product Management for Console Connect, where his primary focus is on product strategy and platform innovation. He has over 20 years of technology experience, primarily in network architecture, engineering, and operations. He is also the co-author of "BGP Design and Implementation" from Cisco Press. Prior to joining Console, Micah has held leadership roles at both Equinix and Cisco Systems. Read more