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John Keller

Director, Product Management at Comcast Business

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Direct Connectivity Addresses Cloud Issues of Security, Speed

April 26, 2017

To make the shift to a more cloud-centric infrastructure, organizations need certain assurances.

Public cloud spending is increasing at a 20 percent annual clip, far outpacing the overall IT growth rate of 3 percent, and will exceed $195 billion in 2020, according to research firm IDC. This fast-paced expansion indicates organizations are trusting cloud environments more and more to handle critical workloads.

You could say we are in the midst of shifting from the “toe in water” to the “dive in” phase of cloud adoption. While midmarket companies and enterprises in the past have limited their cloud investments to a handful of tasks, such as running webmail or developing the odd application, now they are moving business-critical applications to the cloud and keeping them there when they reach production.

IDC estimates software as a service (SaaS) now accounts for two-thirds of public cloud spending. But that may change as organizations increase their investments on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), which IDC says will grow at 27 percent and 31 percent, respectively, until 2019. PaaS and IaaS investments indicate organizations are serious about the cloud.

Enterprise cloud use isn’t just about small mobile apps anymore. Rather, we’re talking about critical systems such as data storage, large databases, inventory systems and monitoring tools. Many of these digital assets, especially in industries such as healthcare and finance, are subject to strict regulations and require some of the highest levels of security.

As those systems move to the cloud, users across today’s distributed enterprise need to access them from wherever they work, be it corporate headquarters, a branch, hotel or home office. This creates new challenges that organizations haven’t had to contend with when cloud users were limited to small development teams or business units with a SaaS (software as a service) application. Point-to-point connectivity was sufficient in those scenarios, but now enterprises will need multipoint, broad-range connections.

Assurances Needed

The shift to a more cloud-centric infrastructure isn’t something organizations can take lightly. Companies will need bandwidth, availability and assurances – lots of assurances – that their data is safe. Keep in mind that concerns over security, compliance and privacy remain among the main inhibitors to cloud adoption.

So how can enterprise decision makers get those assurances? One path to peace of mind is to bypass the public Internet through business-grade dedicated connections to cloud services providers such as Amazon or Microsoft. Connectivity and communications carriers are making this possible through a direct-connect model that minimizes the potential security risks that can be associated with the public internet.

Besides addressing security, direct connectivity also can provide desired levels of speed and availability. So the internet latency issues that can slow down workloads and frustrate users can be minimized.

In addition to scalability and flexibility, direct connectivity allows organizations to leverage the economies of scale delivered by cloud providers.

Enterprise Appeal

The direct-connect approach, therefore, has serious appeal to enterprises that want the benefits of cloud computing. Comcast Business is working with cloud providers Amazon and Microsoft to extend direct private connections to midmarket and enterprise customers.

Here’s how it works: Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have locations dispersed through the country where co-located customers can link directly to cloud services, bypassing the internet. For companies that are not co-located in a facility that also hosts infrastructure for the cloud of their choice, Comcast Business now makes it possible to connect directly to these leading providers through its extensive fiber network to over 500 data centers and many more customer facilities around the country.

Customers can take advantage of carrier-class Ethernet pipes scalable to 10 Gbps to connect to the cloud with the speed, reliability, built-in redundancy and security they need to handle their critical workloads. Direct connections are ideal for accessing cloud-based computing resources (IaaS), development environments (PaaS), applications (SaaS) and storage.

Direct connectivity creates a seamless network-to-cloud environment, allowing users to go about their business without having to dread long load times whenever they need to access a cloud-based asset. Thanks to the use of carrier-grade Ethernet pipes, employees need not worry about service degradation, even when their application requests have to travel long distances. 

This is a major benefit as enterprises rely more and more on cloud infrastructures and prepare to take advantage of automation tools and next-generation technologies that will transform how they operate and meet business goals.

The shift to cloud services, says Eileen Smith, IDC Program Director of Customer Insights and Analysis, are creating a foundation for innovation and growth. “With the huge increase in the number and diversity of services available in the market, organizations across industries will shift steadily toward cloud-first strategies to enable digital transformation."

To get there, organizations need reliable, direct connectivity to cloud infrastructures.

Photo credit: Damien Pollet via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

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