Keeping The Lights On: Ensure Your Users and Critical Applications Are Protected With Redundant Cloud Connectivity

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Umbrellar Connect

As previously published on by  Misha Cetrone, Senior Director, Global Cloud Solutions Architecture

Do you have any single points of failure in your connectivity? Check the design of your network connectivity and protect your critical cloud applications as I run you through some redundancy best practices.

As businesses have continued to shift their workforces to work-from-home and remote operations, our dependence on cloud services continues to grow. Microsoft reported a 775% increase in the use of its cloud services in regions that have recently enforced social distancing.

How we connect to cloud resources plays a critical role in application performance, availability, and usability. It’s now more critical than ever to protect your production and mission-critical applications from disruption through resilient and redundant network architectures. Even the smallest down time can be costly, causing lost productivity, lost revenue, lost data, and in some cases even irreparable impact to brand credibility.

What do the Cloud Service Providers say?

Most Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) expect redundancy and diversity to be handled by the user – for example, AWS say this:

“AWS recommends customers use multiple dynamically routed, rather than statically routed, connections to AWS at multiple AWS Direct Connect locations. This will allow remote connections to fail over automatically. Dynamic routing also enables remote connections to automatically leverage available preferred routes, if applicable, to the on-premises network. Highly resilient connections require redundant hardware, even when connecting from the same physical location. Avoid relying on a single on-premises device connecting to a single AWS Direct Connect device. Avoid relying on AWS Managed VPN as backup for connections that are greater than 1Gbps.”

Google address redundancy and service availability like this:

“For the highest level availability, Google recommends the 99.99% availability configuration. Clients in the on-premises network can reach the IP addresses of VM instances in the selected region through at least one of the redundant paths and vice versa. If one path is unavailable, the other paths can continue to serve traffic.

“99.99% availability requires at least four VLAN attachments across two metros (one in each edge availability domain). You also need four Cloud Routers (two in each GCP region of a VPC network). Associate one Cloud Router with each VLAN attachment. You must also enable global routing for the VPC network.

“For layer 2 connections, four virtual circuits are required, split between two metros.”

So what exactly does protecting connectivity to these applications look like?

Physically redundant network hardware and multiple on-premises data centre locations are the ground floor for protecting your connectivity. Add to that a network provider –or preferably multiple – that can deliver diverse connections into one or more public cloud regions, and then you are protected on both sides of your network connection.

Cost, deployment, or planning limitations sometimes restrict the use of multiple network hardware devices or on-premise infrastructure sites.In these cases it’s still worth considering which components of your overall architecture can be improved upon when designing a solution to minimise single points of failure. This includes whether your backup connections can depend on public internet VPN connections as a means beyond your direct private network connections.

But what if my business was born in the cloud?

The same design principles apply to ‘born in the cloud’ businesses. While on-premises physical connectivity isn’t involved, creating redundant virtual networks and connections between mission critical environments is essential.

As you should expect, redundant best practices are built into the core of the Megaport network: our customer-facing routers have dual uplinks to diverse cores and our transit VXCs Layer 2 access circuits (Virtual Cross-Connect or VXC) are path protected across our backbone.

I think I have redundancy – how can I check?

In my experience, a lot of businesses could be better protected when it comes to their network and cloud applications. To make sure you’re adequately protected, give yourself a quick check up of your redundancy below. I’ve shown some common scenarios and potential pitfalls and run through which components you should consider deploying, based on your existing hardware and device configuration availability.

The scenarios I’ve outlined range from a basic, partially protected network, all the way to end-to-end highly available resilient networks accessing your public cloud environments. So find where your business fits, and make sure your network is redundant, compliant, and highly available.

For further in depth review check our nine common multicloud scenarios and eight common scenarios for connecting to Megaport. Our connectivity specialists can provide design and support to ensure your organisation never goes dark. Got questions? Reach out to us via Twitter or book some time to talk to a Megaport specialist about your network.

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Umbrellar Connect

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Megaport is changing the way people, businesses, and services connect globally. Our Network as a Service (NaaS) solutions enable fast, flexible, and secure connectivity to the world’s top cloud providers, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, data centre operators, systems integrators and managed service providers.

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network service provider (NSP) is a business or organisation that sells bandwidth or network access by providing direct Internet backbone access to internet service providers and usually access to its network access points (NAPs). For such a reason, network service providers are sometimes referred to as backbone providers or internet providers. Network service providers may consist of telecommunications companies, data carriers, wireless communications providers, Internet service providers, and cable television operators offering high-speed Internet access.

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