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Questions You Should Ask Before Connecting to the Cloud

By: Milos Marjanovic, Director, Product Management

In our previous blog on cloud basics, we introduced the importance of cloud connectivity as a critical element of your cloud strategy. Without the right connectivity, data doesn’t get to its destination quickly, safely or consistently.

Although you can certainly connect to large public cloud providers over the public internet, many companies are opting for dedicated, high performance connectivity, especially for mission-critical workloads. As you evaluate your cloud connectivity options, here are the five questions before choosing your provider/solution.

1. Do I really need something besides the internet for cloud connectivity?

Most businesses are moving away from the public internet for their mission-critical cloud connectivity — or using a hybrid solution. The internet doesn’t provide the levels of privacy or security that most businesses require. It’s also subject to unpredictable performance. Fluctuating route paths and volatile traffic congestion on the internet can greatly hamper performance with your cloud service provider. Having to establish security encrypted VPN tunnels can reduce throughput and further degrade performance. Some enterprises have adopted a hybrid approach to cloud connectivity, using the internet for lower priority data and dedicated connectivity for mission-critical data.

2. How can I predict what impact cloud traffic might have on my current network?

We recommend that you monitor and measure how much bandwidth you are using as well as assess usage patterns. Then work with your cloud provider and IT team to estimate what you will need and its impact on your network capacity as you migrate more business to the cloud.

3. What type of connectivity is best to meet my needs?

Carefully assess your needs before evaluating connectivity options. Wavelengths provide dedicated high bandwidth and unrestricted throughput. This solution is also optimal for predictable and very low latency requirements. Wavelengths can require additional circuits to provide high availability. Ethernet is a good solution if you require high bandwidth, unrestricted throughput and security — and want to manage your own Layer-3 IP routing without network service provider intervention. Some providers even offer on-demand usage-based Ethernet to meet seasonal or other changing business needs. IP-VPN provides secure, Layer 3 connectivity using private IP routing over an IP/MPLS network. For low bandwidth and minimal security data, the internet will work — and requires no modification to on-premises networks.

4. Will I have the ability to reach multiple providers?

A growing number of enterprises require access to multiple cloud environments, often in different geographical regions, for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. However, not every cloud exchange provider or network service provider offers access to cloud service providers outside of their data centers. If a cloud exchange environment is important to you, look for providers that can establish independent circuits with the network reach to all the providers you rely on.

5. What costs do I need to be aware of?

Evaluate the costs of your cloud service and connectivity carefully. Ask about egress and port fees, which differ from one provider to another. If you are connecting via a data center cloud exchange, there are additional costs to consider: transport costs to reach the data center, minimum space and power requirements you need at the data center, cross-connect fees and cloud exchange port charges.

When evaluating cloud connectivity providers, consider CloudLink from Zayo. CloudLink provides direct network connectivity to 50 cloud providers and hundreds of cloud on-ramps globally. Whether you need multiple cloud connections or just one, we utilize our industry-leading fiber communications infrastructure across Dark Fiber, Wavelengths, Ethernet and IP Solutions, including on-demand FlexConnect. It’s not one size fits all — we can provide the technology that meets your needs for performance and latency. And unlike other providers, we can bring the Cloud Exchange to you so you can connect to the multiple providers you need to run your business.

Learn more or Request a Cloud Connectivity Consultation

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