Networking for the DevOps era

Date: Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:44 Source: By Galeal Zino, CEO and founder of NetFoundry

The modern enterprise is all about software. Corporate functions that used to be manual and time consuming are now automated, virtualized and consumed by end users, on-demand. We’re talking about nothing less that a digital revolution, and it’s being powered by developers of cloud-native applications
Networking for the DevOps era

Galeal Zino, CEO and founder of NetFoundry

Photo / telecomkh


The source of these transformational applications is often as not the software-as-a-service (SaaS) development community, using DevOps tools and processes to automate the entire creative process. This allows for a level of agility that lets enterprises react to new business opportunities at lightning speed.
Nobody, however, is saying that the road to this digital revolution is without bumps. The DevOps players that are so central to the enterprise’s successful transformation are facing challenges, not least when it comes to network connectivity.
To put it simply, the game-changing way in which software applications are developed for the cloud is not always matched by the networks those applications rely on. Traditional network connectivity in and out of the cloud significantly lags behind the software innovation curve.
Organizations that develop applications as a core of their business need new and better ways of connecting so that they can work more efficiently, increase their responsiveness and deliver the results that customers require, improving time to market.
Cloud-native developers need network solutions that put the application first while seamlessly integrating with their DevOps tools, simplifying and accelerating the process.
They need this because legacy application networking approaches are letting them down in numerous ways. For one thing, today’s applications generally require that an enterprise deploy multiple connections between the public clouds of differing cloud service providers. A multi-cloud strategy reduces an organization’s risk exposure and lets them tap into the unique services and capabilities of many separate providers.
But cloud providers don’t make this easy, naturally preferring to lock their customers in as best as they can. The enterprise needs a way to establish on-demand, secure, application-specific connectivity for their developers to access this multi-cloud environment. They need a software-only, cloud-native approach to address this challenge. Such an approach must address other complications, like security, complexity, access management and operational support.
Secondly, like it or not, we still live in the age of the VPN. Cloud software developers looking for secure remote application connectivity into a multitude of public cloud environments are still relying on VPN gateways and jump servers working with bastion hosts. But VPN connections were never designed to work in a modern, agile cloud environment. As a solution they are archaic, complex and inhibiting to performance and flexibility.
A third issue is backend application stack service connections. Today’s developers favor a microservices model that structures an application as a collection of loosely-coupled services. But providing secure connections to remote microservices can be unwieldy with a standard network architecture. Plus, if a new VPC or VNET is to connect back to an enterprise network using traditional means, a manual configuration change on the corporate network is necessary to establish the connection. This process can delay the roll out of the new application by a matter of weeks. Time is cost. Delay is inhibiting to competitiveness.
What is needed is a cloud-centric, agile, on-demand approach that puts the application front and centre, delivering the speed to market that SaaS application developers need.
Time to wave goodbye to the weeks or months it can take to establish a new MPLS circuit, or to change the performance parameters of an existing MPLS arrangement. Welcome instead to a world where circuits can be created and torn down at will, for temporary use, or where end-points are mobile. All the better if your connectivity solution can use the public Internet for a backbone, based around hardware that is already in place.
Imagine a way for application development teams to create on-demand secure connectivity across cloud environments for seamless access to cloud services and resources, fuelling innovation and time-to-market of products and services, and driving business results.
You also want an alternative that treats network security as paramount. We’re talking granular, zero-trust security that meets and exceeds even the most stringent compliance standards. It shouldn’t matter where information is ?owing - to or from an IoT or edge device or a human endpoint, from an application to the cloud, or from one cloud application to another. Security should be ensured, every step of the way.
A network solution additionally should take away the complexity of multi cloud environments, not enhance it. It should deliver all the benefits of a multi-cloud model to the user as one simple, easy-to-use interface.
You should expect something that integrates quickly and seamlessly with popular providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Bluemix. You need something that cuts support costs and increases productivity, and which is compatible with the DevOps tools that you use to build out your environment.
Stop paying for private circuits, proprietary hardware and carrier solutions. Forget expensive, dedicated links and turn your back on lengthy delays for provisioning services. Plus don’t worry if your end points are in ?xed or mobile locations.
Your business deserves better networking. It’s time to say goodbye to the old way of doing things. No more restrictive legacy solutions with their lack of scalability, absence of agility, poor security and unpredictable overheads.

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