Cloud Networking

What is Cloud Networking?

A cloud network is a Wide Area Network (WAN) that hosts users and resources and allows the two to communicate via cloud-based technologies. It consists of virtual routers, firewalls, and network management software.

On a cloud-based network, all resources exist in the cloud, including network management resources and physical hardware

Operating via a cloud network allows you to meet business needs with more bandwidth to handle peak traffic. By moving resources to a cloud network, you can optimize traffic flow coming from any point in your system—whether global or on site. Also, because of cloud networks’ reliable connectivity, you can reduce latency and make applications more highly available, which allows for more efficient high-intensity workloads.

 

Why cloud networking?

More and more companies need a computing solution that can handle rapid processing, fast data transfer without any loss, and a secure environment where traffic can be monitored and managed remotely. A robust cloud network can connect multiple servers located across the globe and provide insight into workloads, traffic speed, and application availability all with secure, consistent, and reliable connectivity. A common reason to transition to cloud networking is to support many virtual desktops that need concurrent access to resource-intense data processing.

What are the types of cloud networks?

Fundamentally, cloud networking provides organizations with lower costs, faster deployment, and easier capacity management. Determining which type of cloud network is appropriate for an enterprise requires a look at the four different options available:

Public

Public cloud networks are administered by a third party, providing public access to a platform made up of servers, databases, applications, and storage. This type of cloud network provides an organization’s IT department with a system that can handle peak capacity loads at a low set-up cost. Because the network is configured for multi-latency coverage, many virtual desktops can access the system simultaneously with little to no downtime.

Private

A Private cloud network is necessary for sensitive data. Private cloud networks offer the highest security possible by keeping the platform on site and limiting access to authenticated users only. In this case, workloads are contained within the system, and IT staff can maintain consistent standards and procedures across all network users. Also, a private cloud allows for resource customization not available on a public cloud network, which makes this option attractive for enterprises with proprietary processes and data.

Hybrid

A hybrid cloud network combines aspects of both public and private cloud networks. It works by connecting both private cloud and public cloud services into one flexible infrastructure. With a hybrid cloud network, organizations can easily shift workloads between both clouds as circumstances change.

Community

Community networks provide a cloud computing solution to a limited number of individuals or organizations who collaborate by sharing infrastructure. The model allows for all controls to be managed and secured commonly by all the participating organizations or by a third-party managed service provider.

What are the advantages of cloud networking?

Several reasons make cloud networking a smart choice for enterprises with growing workloads:

  • Cost: By accessing equipment, storage, and software on a cloud network, there is no need to purchase any of these resources. Enterprises can keep a lid on capital expenditures so that limited budgets do not need to be tapped.
  • Productivity: Because traffic, software updates, and backups are managed on the cloud network, IT staff have more time to focus on higher priority tasks. Because staff don’t have to maintain or configure the network, productivity levels often increase and administration costs remain low.
  • Mobility: As an always-on means of connecting, a cloud network provides users with access to data and applications 24/7, wherever they are and with any device connected to the Internet.
  • Rapid scalability: Because they don’t need to build and configure networking hardware and software, IT can quickly add capacity, loading more data, storage, or applications almost instantly.
  • Quick implementation: Cloud networking providers handle configuring and installing networking equipment, so new resources can be deployed quickly.
  • Reduced downtime: With cloud networking, the entire process of updating cloud networking applications is managed by the providers, meaning IT no longer needs to bring the system down for updates and business processes can run continuously.

Who uses cloud networking?

The use of cloud networks continues to ramp up. Gartner forecasts more adoptions and increased revenue from cloud computing to exceed $330 billion by December 2022. As such, cloud networking has extended into most industries, with a few highlighted below:

  • Banking and finance: Banks use cloud networks to process a high volume of transactions and online loan applications. Traders have shifted trading platforms to a cloud network so clients can execute trades rapidly with the latest, most accurate pricing.
  • Healthcare: As regulations change and patient data volumes increase, cloud networking can handle updating back-office claims management and data security automatically. Delivering end-to-end patient care means tracking data from the doctor’s office, diagnostic information, hospital admissions, treatment, and follow-up—a high volume of information that requires the capacity of a cloud network.
  • Manufacturing: Industrial workers often have repetitive manual tasks, which can be automated and handled by a cloud network system.
  • Retail: Using a cloud network enables retail companies to consolidate systems to manage rapid order delivery and high-volume customer service. Some companies have even deployed AI-powered virtual assistants to answer customers’ most frequent questions.
  • Transportation: Tracking vehicles, loads, operators, schedules, deliveries, and customers is a complex process with huge data requirements that is perfectly suited for a cloud network where multiple users can access the data at any time from anywhere.
  • Government: Cities often monitor traffic flow and incidents using a city-wide network of surveillance cameras. Municipalities also deploy infrastructure maintenance based on analytics of millions of usage data points per day, a high-volume program hosted on a cloud network.

Cloud Network Architecture

Cloud Network Architecture refers to designing and organizing networking resources and services within a cloud computing environment. It involves various components and functionalities to ensure secure, efficient, and scalable network operations. Here's a brief context for each component:

 

A. Overview of Cloud Network Components: In cloud network architecture, there are several key components that work together to form a robust network infrastructure. These components include virtualization, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), subnets, load balancers, firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). These elements collectively enable organizations to create, manage, and optimize their network resources in the cloud.

 

  • Virtualization: Creating virtual instances of hardware for resource optimization.
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): Private network within public cloud infrastructure.
  • Subnets: Segmented network segments for organization and isolation.
  • Load Balancers: Distribute network traffic for high availability and performance.
  • Firewalls: Control traffic based on security rules.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): Secure communication over public networks.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Delivers web content efficiently.

B. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and its Functionalities: Virtual Private Cloud is a foundational building block provided by cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. It allows organizations to establish private, isolated network environments within the broader public cloud infrastructure. VPCs offer customization, security, connectivity, and scalability, making them essential for creating secure and tailored network setups in the cloud.

 

  • Isolation: Creates private networks within the public cloud.
  • Customization: Allows users to define IP ranges, subnets, and routing.
  • Security: Provides security features like network security groups and ACLs.
  • Connectivity: Links to on-premises data centers or other VPCs for hybrid and multi-cloud setups.
  • Scalability: Easily scales resources to meet demand.

C. Subnets and Network Segmentation in the Cloud: Subnets are subdivisions of VPCs or cloud networks that play a crucial role in organizing resources and implementing network segmentation. They enable resource isolation, availability zone redundancy, customized routing, and efficient IP address management, ensuring that network resources are logically separated and efficiently managed.

 

  • Resource Isolation: Group resources and control traffic for enhanced security.
  • Availability Zones: Ensure redundancy and high availability in multi-zone setups.
  • Routing: Configure different routing for each subnet.
  • IP Address Management: Define IP ranges for resource allocation.

D. Network Security Groups and Access Control: Network Security Groups (NSGs) are vital for controlling inbound and outbound traffic within a VPC or subnet. They define rules for allowing or denying traffic based on source IP, port, and protocol, providing granular control over network security. NSGs also support stateful inspection and logging, enhancing security monitoring and management capabilities within the cloud network architecture.

 

  • Inbound Rules: Specify allowed/denied incoming traffic based on source IP, port, and protocol.
  • Outbound Rules: Control outgoing traffic to external networks.
  • Stateful Inspection: Track connection states for related inbound traffic.
  • Granular Control: Offer precise control over network traffic.
  • Logging and Monitoring: Allow configuration for network visibility and security monitoring.

Networking Services in the Cloud

A. Virtual Network Connectivity:

  • Site-to-Site VPN (Virtual Private Network):

- Description: Site-to-Site VPN secures communication between on-premises networks or data centers and cloud virtual networks.

- Function: It creates encrypted internet tunnels to safeguard data.

- UseCases: Site-to-Site VPN connects geographically dispersed offices, extends on-premises networks into the cloud, and helps with disaster recovery.

 

  • Direct Connect:

- Description: An organization's data center and a cloud provider's data center are connected through Direct Connect.

- Functionality: It provides a private, low-latency connection that bypasses the public internet for greater reliability and security.

- Use Cases: Direct Connect is ideal for data migration, high-traffic workloads, and secure and reliable environments.

 

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) Gateway:

- Description: VPN Gateway is a cloud-managed VPN solution that securely connects remote customers or on-premises networks to VPCs or clouds.

- Functionality: It encrypts cloud resource access for data privacy and integrity.

- Use Cases: VPN Gateways secure cloud access, communication with partners, and cloud connections.

B: Load-balancing:

  • Load balancer types:

- Application Load Balancer (ALB): Routes traffic at the application layer (HTTP/HTTPS) and is used for web applications and microservices.

- Network Load Balancer (NLB): Handles high-throughput, low-latency TCP/UDP traffic.

- Classic load balancer: Basic HTTP/HTTPS and TCP/UDP load balancing.

 

  • Strategies and methods for load balancing:

- Common algorithms include round robin, least connections, and weighted algorithms. 

- Strategies involve distributing traffic evenly, considering server health, and optimizing for specific application requirements.

 

  • Benefits and applications of cloud load balancing:

- High Availability: Load balancers distribute traffic across numerous servers to ensure service availability if some fail.

- Scalability: Traffic is sent to additional instances as demand rises, so they auto-scale.

- Improved Performance: Load balancers minimize server latency.

- Security: They can block DDoS assaults between clients and servers.

- Use Cases: Load balancing is employed in web applications, APIs, microservices, and any other situation where it is crucial to distribute traffic among several resources.

C. Content Delivery Network (CDN):

  • Overview of CDN and its role in cloud networking:

- Description: CDNs are dispersed networks of servers that cache and deliver web pages, pictures, and videos to users from nearby locations.

- Role: CDNs reduce latency, accelerate content delivery, and enhance the user experience by serving cached content quickly.

 

  • CDN providers/services:

- Akamai, Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, and others offer CDNs.

- Services offered include content caching, DDoS protection, SSL termination, and optimization.

 

  • Boosting content delivery and user experience:

- Content distribution to edge locations worldwide using CDNs speeds up data retrieval and reduces trip distance.

- Content is optimized for diverse devices and network circumstances for a consistent and speedy user experience.

- Security measures on CDNs can prevent malicious attacks and illegal access.

 

Virtual Network Connectivity, Load Balancing, and CDNs help construct scalable, dependable, and high-performance cloud-based applications and services while assuring security and user experience.

Network Security in the Cloud

A. Security Groups and Access Control Lists (ACLs):

  • Security Groups:

- Description: Security Groups are stateful firewalls that control inbound and outbound traffic for virtual machines (VMs) or resources within a specific network segment, such as a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

- Functionality: They let you set source IP, port, and protocol rules for traffic. Individual resources have security groups.

- Use cases: Security Groups regulate network traffic granularly and protect cloud resources.

 

  • Access Control Lists (ACLs):

- Description: Stateless ACLs regulate VPC subnet traffic. Unlike Security Groups, ACLs are not resource-specific.

- Function: They accept or refuse communication depending on IP addresses and port ranges. All subnet resources are affected by ACLs.

- Use Cases: ACLs supplement Security Groups for network-level control and segmentation.

B. Network Isolation and Segmentation:

- Description: Isolating and segmenting a cloud network improves security, manageability, and compliance.

- Functionality: VLANs, subnets, and firewalls segregate resources in segmentation. Sections might have their own security rules.

- Use cases: Network isolation is essential for separating development, testing, and production environments and implementing resource-type or sensitivity-based security controls.

C. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection:

- Description: DDoS protection is a set of measures and services designed to defend against Distributed Denial of Service attacks, which flood a network or service with overwhelming traffic to disrupt its availability.

- Function: DDoS defense systems filter harmful traffic and provide legal traffic via traffic analysis, rate limitation, and mitigation.

- Use Cases: DDoS protection is essential for online service availability and attack prevention.

D. Network Monitoring and Intrusion Detection Systems:

  • Monitoring Networks:

- Description: Network monitoring continually monitors network traffic and performance for faults, abnormalities, and security concerns.

- Functionality: Network monitoring tools track traffic, bandwidth, and system performance for proactive troubleshooting and optimization.

- Use Cases: Network monitoring is critical for network health, issue diagnosis, and spotting suspicious traffic patterns.

 

  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS): 

- Description: IDSs monitor network traffic for malicious activities and security policy breaches.

- Functionality: IDS warn on suspicious behavior using signature-based or behavioral analysis. They can evaluate previous data or work in real time.

- Use Cases: Real-time IDS detection and response assist enterprises secure their cloud environments from cyberattacks.

Interconnecting Cloud Networks

Modern cloud design requires integrating cloud networks to provide smooth communication between cloud environments and on-premises equipment. Several approaches and technology enable these connections:

 

A. VPN Links

  • Site-to-Site VPN: Encryptly connect an on-premises data center or office to a cloud VPC. It enables secure public internet communication. Site-to-Site VPNs safeguard the local network-cloud connection for hybrid companies.
  • VPC Peering: Two VPCs in the same cloud provider can be directly connected. A private, low-latency link lets resources in separate VPCs communicate as if they were on the same network. VPC peering is suitable for interacting VPCs while maintaining traffic on the same cloud provider's network.

B. Direct Link

  • Overview of Direct Connect: Cloud service providers provide dedicated, high-speed, private network connections. It connects an organization's on-premises data center to the cloud provider's infrastructure. Direct Connect has dedicated bandwidth, reduced latency, and better dependability than VPNs.
  • Direct Connect Advantages and Use Cases: Direct Connect has various advantages, including greater security, improved network performance, and lower data transmission costs. Enterprises with massive data flow, real-time applications, or strict compliance demands benefit most. Disaster recovery, backup, hybrid cloud deployments, and low-latency network connectivity are use cases.

C. Gateway Transit

  • Transit Gateway: A Transit Gateway is a cloud network gateway that streamlines network communication across different VPCs, on-premises data centers, and other cloud environments. It routes traffic and facilitates network administration.
  • Benefits of Using a Transit Gateway for Network Connectivity: Transit Gateways simplify network design by lowering complexity and facilitating effective traffic routing. They boost scalability, ease VPC and connection addition, and improve network traffic visibility. Transit Gateways consolidate and cost-effectively manage cloud connectivity for enterprises with many VPCs or complicated network topologies.

Cloud Network Performance and Optimization

Cloud networks must operate well to provide dependable and responsive services. Several crucial factors help achieve this:

 

A. Bandwidth and Scaling

- Cloud networks need capacity provisioning and scalability to handle changing workloads and traffic. Cloud providers allow enterprises to alter bandwidth allocations as needed:

- Scale Resources: Easily adjust broadband capacity to company demands and consumption.

- Auto-Scaling: Adjust network resources to workload changes with auto-scaling rules.

- Cost Efficiency: Avoid over- or under-provisioning bandwidth to save money.

B. Network Optimization and Latency

Data transmission delays, or network latency, can affect application performance and user experience. Consider these methods to minimize latency and improve network performance:

- Content Delivery: Use CDNs to cache and provide content from edge locations to reduce user latency.

- Edge computing: Reduce round-trip latency by placing computational resources closer to the edge where data is being processed.

- Traffic Routing: Route users to the nearest server or data center using intelligent traffic routing.

- Compress data before transmission to decrease network traffic.

- Data compression: To limit the quantity of data transferred over the network, compress data before transmission.

C. Cloud Networking QoS

Quality of Service (QoS) methods grant key applications network resources and prioritize traffic according to regulations. Quality of Service in cloud networking:

- Traffic Prioritization: Allocate higher bandwidth or lower latency to mission-critical applications.

- Traffic Shaping: Control the rate of data transfer to prevent network congestion.

- Priority-based packet queuing: Send time-sensitive data first.

- Monitoring and Adjustment: QoS measurements and policies should be monitored and adjusted to maintain service levels.

D. Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tools

Maintaining and enhancing cloud network performance requires robust monitoring and troubleshooting tools. Important tools and methods:

- Network Monitoring Tools: Monitor network traffic, bandwidth, and latency in real time.

- Logging and Analytics: Discover performance issues by analysing logs and network data.

- Packet Capture and Analysis: Troubleshooting with packet capture tools provides in-depth network traffic analysis.

- Automation and alerts: Set alerts to warn administrators of network concerns and automate typical fixes.

- Past Performance Analysis: Identify patterns and plan capacity modifications using past network performance data.

 

Optimizing cloud network performance requires bandwidth allocation, latency reduction, QoS implementation, and effective monitoring and troubleshooting to provide a dependable and responsive network architecture.

Hybrid Cloud Networking

A. Hybrid Cloud Overview and Benefits:

Hybrid Cloud Overview and Benefits: Hybrid cloud combines on-premises and public cloud for flexibility, scalability, cost optimization, disaster recovery, and compliance.    

B. Extending On-Premises Network to the Cloud:

Extending On-Premises Network: Use VPN, Direct Connect, and interconnections for secure communication and data sharing between on-premises and cloud.

C. Hybrid Cloud Networking Considerations and Best Practices:

  • Considerations and Best Practices:

- Network Security: Ensure consistent security with VPNs, firewalls, and access controls.

- Latency and Performance: Use low-latency connections for sensitive applications.

- Data Integration: Plan data movement and use hybrid data storage.

- Scalability: Design for resource expansion with auto-scaling and load balancing.

- Monitoring and Management: Implement tools for visibility and troubleshooting.

- Cost Management: Monitor data transfer costs and usage.

- Compliance and Governance: Adhere to regulations and implement auditing.

- Backup and Disaster Recovery: Ensure resilience for both on-premises and cloud.

- Documentation and Training: Document architecture and train staff.

- Testing and Optimization: Regularly test, optimize, and adapt to evolving needs.

 

In summary, hybrid cloud networking combines on-premises and public cloud benefits. To succeed, address security, latency, data integration, scalability, monitoring, cost, compliance, disaster recovery, documentation, and testing in your plan.

Disaster Recovery Planning for Cloud Networks

  • Risk Assessment and Recovery Objectives:

- Identify threats and prioritize applications based on criticality.

- Define Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).

  • Backup and Data Protection:

- Implement automated, frequent backups for critical data.

- Use cloud-native or third-party backup solutions.

  • Multi-Region Redundancy and Disaster Recovery Site:

- Replicate critical resources across regions or Availability Zones.

- Establish a secondary disaster recovery site.

  • Failover and Automation:

- Develop and automate clear failover and failback procedures.

- Use orchestration tools and Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

  • Testing and Monitoring:

- Regularly test disaster recovery procedures.

- Implement real-time monitoring and alerting.

  • Documentation, Training, and Compliance:

- Document plans and train teams.

- Ensure compliance with industry regulations.

  • Third-Party Services:

- Consider third-party Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) providers.

  • Regular Updates and Communication:

- Keep the plan up to date.

- Develop a communication plan for stakeholders.

  • Post-Disaster Analysis:

- Analyze the event, identify lessons, and improve the plan.

 

Effective disaster recovery planning ensures cloud network resilience and business continuity in the face of disruptions.

Emerging Trends and Future of Cloud Networking

A. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in the Cloud:

  • Description: SDN separates the control plane from the data plane for centralized network administration and dynamic resource allocation.
  • SDN in the cloud makes network provisioning agile, flexible, and automated, making it simpler to respond to changing workloads and application needs.
  • Future trends: Expect more SDN usage in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud scenarios to improve network programmability and micro-segmentation security.

B. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV):

  • Definition: NFV virtualizes network operations like firewalls, load balancers, and routers as software instances on common hardware, replacing specialized equipment.
  • Impact on Cloud Networking: Cloud networking benefits from NFV's resource efficiency, hardware cost reduction, and network service scalability.
  • Future Trends: As NFV evolves, more network functions will be virtualized, increasing cloud networking flexibility and cost savings.

C. IBN: An intent-based network

  • Description: IBN employs automation and AI to match network operations to user or application intent.
  • Impact on Cloud Networking: IBN automates configuration and policy enforcement based on high-level intent, simplifying network administration, improving security, and optimizing performance in cloud networking.
  • Future Trends: IBN will help manage complex, dispersed cloud networks, reduce human setup mistakes, and increase network agility.

D. Networking and Edge Computing:

  • Description: Edge computing reduces latency and enables real-time processing at the network edge by bringing computational resources closer to data sources and end-users.
  • Effect on Cloud Networking: Edge computing demands dispersed network infrastructure for low-latency connectivity, making edge networking essential to cloud designs.
  • Future Trends: IoT, driverless cars, and augmented reality will require strong and scalable edge networking systems.

 

In conclusion, SDN, NFV, IBN, and edge computing will transform cloud infrastructure and services. They will increase corporate flexibility, efficiency, and response to developing technology and business needs.

How can HPE help with cloud networking?

HPE offers networking, data storage, software, and compute as a service so you can optimize your workloads, unify your data, manage your cloud network, and drive innovation across your entire enterprise.

HPE Cloud Network Manager is designed as a software-as-a-service subscription in the cloud that gives you streamlined management for multiple HPE cloud-managed networks. It includes HPE cloud-managed access points that self-organize into wireless LANs (WLANs) clusters with all user control and data traffic staying local within the WLAN. The network management information itself goes to HPE Cloud Network Manager in the cloud. This design means you have no management appliances to install and maintain, locally or in the data center, which keeps costs low. Plus, your network stays available, since you have all the functionality you need locally, with no dependence on WAN links.

HPE GreenLake for Networking is a comprehensive network-as-a-service solution combining HPE Aruba Networking products and essential services into a single monthly payment. Our service helps you accelerate your network operation at every step in the lifecycle with as-a-service outcomes and financial flexibility. HPE GreenLake for Networking gives you the agility you need to adopt and maximize your network capabilities with automated workflows and other key capabilities. And because our service is scalable and flexible you’re able to speed time to value. By using our managed and optimized network as a monthly payment, you gain efficiency and reduce exposure from initial capital expenditure outlay.