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Multi-Cloud: 3 Reasons for a Managed Provider

Multi-cloud Provider: Due to the vast choice in public, private and hybrid cloud offerings, launched and launching, organisations don’t need to limit themselves to a single cloud environment. According to a study carried out by 451 Research, commissioned by Microsoft, 50% of organisations believed that independent providers, such as Serviceteam IT, are vital for future digital transformation. 2017 Microsoft Hosting & Cloud Study.

More than ever before, customers are looking to a single trusted advisor to provide transformation-oriented managed services and hybrid implementation. Customers are looking to service providers to not only transform IT but also transform their entire business – to rewire the building and support new requirements, all while keeping the lights on.

 -Melanie Posey, Vice President, 451 Research

While a multi-cloud strategy has the benefit of greater scalability and reduced risk, managing more than one cloud isn’t easy. That’s where a managed multi-cloud provider comes in handy.

Serious About Cloud?

Odds are if you are serious about the cloud, you’re already using at least one of Microsoft Azure, AWS, HPE Helion, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud or somebodies cloud. There are benefits to each of the many cloud providers, however, it’s not only just good practice to have more than one, it’s also probably a necessity as each has its own unique features. Quite simply, not one vendor has the perfect answer to absolutely everything. If that were the case, there would be no competition!

Why use a Multi-Cloud Provider?

Expertise: Simplicity is not always a characteristic of some of the providers. The multitude of platforms, and the depth of the options available, that allow you to support hybrid, multi-cloud environments requires considerable expertise. That’s talent that can not only be hard to find, but enormously expensive to recruit.

Control: There are still many organisations that resist moving resources to the cloud, quite often simply because of the fear of the unknown and that they will lose control. Quite the opposite can be the case with a managed multi-cloud provider. Due to the extensive monitoring and reporting, provided by Serviceteam IT, and pro-active design, delivery and maintenance, rather than less control, you get a lot more.

Security: Even though many of the providers have extensive resources for reliability and security, with some notable exceptions, nothing is perfect. Outages are an inevitability of any IT infrastructure, no matter where it is and who is responsible for it. However, any weakness can be mitigated with a multi-cloud design, especially regarding availability and service interruption. Security can be optimised with sensible pro-active processes and procedures and the implementation of Cloud Connect, restricted access mechanisms and user verification & authentication beyond merely passwords.

Having a managed multi-cloud solution provider can empower your precious IT staff, freeing internal IT teams from “fire-fighting” and tedious IT maintenance, in order for them to focus on more strategic, engaging projects that support organisational growth and delivery of business strategy.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Cloud Connect Explained | An Introductory Guide

Cloud Connect uses the latest in fibre hardware technology to create a physical link between your network, and the cloud. Almost every organisation is now either using the cloud, or somewhere along the process towards adoption of the cloud.

The Cloud refers to Internet based computing. This is a model in which on-demand, low cost, shared computing resources can be used for a variety of tasks. Organisations use cloud computing for a number of reasons such as compute, backups, security or to host shared documents and resources.

If, like many organisations, you are also using the cloud, then it’s important to know about the connectivity infrastructure that supports the cloud. While most data will travel across the public Internet, Cloud Connect is a dedicated connection between your network and your cloud services. A dedicated connection means your data bypasses the public infrastructure, and therefore benefits from consistent performance and improved security.

Cloud Connect allows you to connect to any one of the many cloud service providers, including AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, or Office 365. Additionally you can attain cost savings by using the same connection for multiple services. Efficiencies can also be gained through mitigation of outages through a fault resistant architecture, which allows an uptime of up to 99.999%.


Find out more about Cloud Connectivity Providers



Learn how to connect your private network to your cloud




Cloud Connect Benefits


Security

Secure network access is an essential component of cloud computing. Your data may be at risk if it travels over the public Internet network. However, with Cloud Connect, security is guaranteed as it’s a private dedicated connection, meaning that it’s for your data and your data only.


Resilience

If your organisation is reliant on cloud, then it’s no use if your connectivity infrastructure only allows you to access it only some of the time. Furthermore, incidents such as a contractor cutting through your fibre, could cut off your connectivity for weeks. Thankfully with Cloud Connect these scenarios are mitigated due to resilient failover options. This enables your business to stay online around the clock with up to 99.999% uptime as guaranteed by proactively monitored Service Level Agreements.


Performance

By having a dedicated and direct private connection that is not shared by anyone else, consistent high level performance is enabled. This results in a quality end-user experience on-top of a fast, efficient, and reliable service. Additionally, unlike shared connections, your route to cloud is unaffected by contention and demand at peak times.

Cloud Connect Features


Dedicated Bandwidth

The connection is not shared and dedicated end-to-end.

Predictable Latency

The latency is low and predictable, far better than an Internet VPN.

Range of Bandwidth

A range of bandwidth capacities, from 10Mbps to 10Gbps.

Totally scalable

Scale up or down in bandwidth to suit capacity needs.

Fully redundant

Redundant connections throughout by design.

Reduced Costs

Reduced or no cost of data transfer on Ingress or Egress.


How do you get one?

Serviceteam IT have enterprise solutions for organisations of any size. We offer scalability and flexibility that would otherwise be unavailable from legacy services, and deliver dedicated, secure, uncontended fibre connections for all your voice and data traffic. What Serviceteam IT offer is:

  • Extensibility – Our infrastructure can grow, adapt and scale to your business
  • Continuity – Network designed with contingency options for business continuity
  • Cost Savings – Do away with expensive hardware, switching, and set-up costs
  • Fully managed – Eliminate admin and billing headaches
  • Proactively monitored SLA – with up to 99.999% uptime
  • Maintainence – Hardware maintenance included in standard service
  • 24/7 Support – From a dedicated fault management team


With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Cloud Network Providers | Connect Your Private Network to the Cloud

Organisations are not limited to only a single cloud network providers solution option. Furthermore, they’re not merely able to access valuable cloud resources via the Internet. We advocate a combination of the solutions below to form a resilient, high-speed, high-availability, hybrid cloud network.

We’ve covered Cloud Connect and Cloud Connectivity Providers previously. Subsequently, a customer asked us to provide an overview of the options that they had available to them. The brief was “How do I connect my private network to my cloud network providers”.

In order to implement a connection from their private network space to their cloud network providers, there were questions we needed to ask:

Will the connection be temporary or permanent?


Temporary connections limit available options because of the potential contractual commitments. These can often be mitigated by utilising existing arrangements if your current suppliers are flexible and technically capable.

What is the capacity required?


If you are moving a large volume of data utilising already hard pressed capacity via the Internet is going to struggle and will impact on existing usage. Bursting capacity for a short period of time may be an option, dependent upon your existing supplier delivery. Serviceteam IT have previously moved very large data volumes (tens of Terabytes) via 10Gbps internet access within our colocation provider.

How resilient does it need to be?


This is of course dependent upon how important access to the data you’ll have with the private cloud network provider. You should already have resilient access to the Internet. Meaning it will be simpler to ensure access to the cloud network provider is equally resilient.

Where will the connection be coming from?


Is the private network located at a fixed office site?

  1. Are there multiple office locations?
  2. How are the multiple office locations connected, physically and logically?
  3. What is the primary leased line from the site? Is it fibre Ethernet?
  4. Does the primary leased line provider support 802.1Q VLANs?
  5. What major data centres, such as Telehouse or Telecity, is the primary leased line provider present in?
  6. What resiliency exists for the leased line?
  7. Who provides the physical connectivity resiliency?
  8. Who manages the physical and logical resiliency?
  9. Is the logical private network resilient, such as failover routes via alternate leased line providers to another site?
  10. What firewall devices are present at the site?
  11. How are they configured, such as High Availability Active/Active?
  12. Are site-to-site licenses available on the devices?
  13. Are there VPN failover policies enabled?
  14. Who manages these devices?
  15. Do the office locations have sufficient internet access capacity?
  16. Is there sufficient fibre Ethernet capacity to upgrade internet access?

Is the private network in a colocation facility?

  1. Are there multiple colocation facilities?
  2. Who provides the network connectivity between the facilities?
  3. Do the colocation providers supply backhaul via 802.1Q VLANs?
  4. What physical and logical connectivity resiliency is in place?
  5. Are the colocation providers supplying Managed Internet Access (MIA)?
  6. How are they connecting you to the internet, such as their own feed or a third party transit provider?
  7. How are the public peering arrangements organised? What are the private peering arrangements?
  8. In which major data centres, such as Telehouse or Telecity, are the colocation providers present in.
  9. What firewall devices are present at the colocation sites?
  10. Who manages the firewall devices?
  11. What edge routers do they operate?

As an aside, we’ve worked with customers who have infrastructure in colocation facilities, where not only has the colocation facility been unable to supply backhaul via 802.1Q VLANs, but also had no internet peering arrangements. They at least had two colocation facilities for resilience!



Virtual Private Network (VPN)

In almost all cases, public cloud services begin via publicly accessible services, such as websites. As organisations become ever increasingly comfortable with public cloud, the practicalities of hosting more business critical information increases. And yet, the security of the information and access to the information remains paramount. An Internet VPN is the first, and arguably the simplest, option. It provides the shortest lead time of all of the options.

Public cloud providers offer VPN appliances, or an option for native VPN through the cloud providers control panel. Device support includes many options from hardware VPN concentrators to OS-based VPN solutions, such as OpenVPN. Cloud network providers will charge for the compute instances hosting the VPN appliance. Bear in mind cloud network providers charge for the bandwidth. Data transferred via a VPN counts against data transfer cost. There are no minimum commitments associated with VPN options. VPN connections to the cloud network provider are most suited to temporary or network failover.

Direct Connectivity

The VPN option limits the ability to offer a consistent experience over a common internet connection. It’s bandwidth you share with user and service access, which can become saturated with high capacity users, or reduce service effectiveness for voice and video. For a far more predictable connection, cloud network providers offer direct private connections via major data centre facilities.

Cloud providers ordinarily partner with large data centre operators. These operators terminate multiple cloud provider networks into their facilities, often via a meet-me room. Other providers rent facilities from these data centre providers, and the data centre provider offers a cross-connect, known as an Xconnect, from the cloud provider’s facilities to customer facilities. This can sometimes involve many parties. For example, if your private network is located in a colocation data centre, you will need to:

Creating your own connection to Cloud Network Providers

  • create a VLAN to the local edge router, lets call it A, of the colocation provider;
  • backhaul via a VLAN to an edge router, lets call it B, of your third party colocation provider in the major data centre provider facility;
  • set-up a cross-connect from edge router B, to the edge router, lets call it C, of the major data centre provider;
  • install a cross-connect from edge router C, to the edge router, lets call it D, of the probable additional cabling provider within the facility;
  • organise a cross-connect from edge router D, to the edge router, lets call it E, of the cloud network provider;
  • enable a Cloud Connect service from edge router E, to the LAN, lets call it F, of the VPC;
  • in each of the steps you will have options for either a port based VLAN or an ID based VLAN, sometimes both, sometimes only one;
  • once all the physical connections have been enabled and tested, then the real fun begins as you have to logically address and apply a routing schema, ordinarily BGP, between your private network and the cloud network provider.


Direct connections generally come in two Ethernet speeds of 1Gbps or 10Gbps. With AWS you then have a CDR, which is carried over the Ethernet capacity, and is a minimum of 10Mbps. The data centre provider charges for the cross connect, while the cloud provider charges for the port, and everyone else charges for backhauls and cabling.

Most cloud providers allow unlimited transfer over direct connect, which brings down the per gigabyte transfer cost. Often the major data centre providers offer shorter terms, such as 1-month commitments. Cross-connects usually carry a 12 month term. Customers can leverage the shorter commitments for short-term projects to transfer lots of data, or to test a new service from a cloud provider.

Connect to Cloud Network Providers with Serviceteam IT

Telco providers are increasingly offering services based on a Cloud Connect model. Capacity (speeds) between 1Gbps and 10Gps are more desirable. Telco providers bundle connectivity to a cloud network provider. More often, these connections are Cloud Connect to the major data centre providers without the complications of cross connects or VLAN type mismatch, robust physical failover and resilience of the route with a cohesive routing schema between the private network to the cloud network provider.

Organisations have a far wider variety of connectivity options. Telco providers can offer Ethernet connection options with MPLS and VPLS to your preferred cloud network provider. This can be delivered as one-to-many, many-to-one or many-to-many. Telco terms don’t always mimic existing WAN commitment lengths, ordinarily 24 or 36 months, as we have contracts with 36 month resilient fibre Ethernet connections and only 12 month Cloud Connect services carried over the resilient fibre Ethernet.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Cloud Connectivity Providers Explained

Cloud Connectivity: It’s probably safe to say that enterprise, private and hybrid cloud are here to stay. These services have vastly improved the way in which we deliver resources, support new types of users, and create new types of business strategies. Continuing growth in adoption of public services means that even the most risk averse organisations are looking at the many ways to leverage cloud computing environments to help their businesses become much more agile. Spending on cloud network, infrastructure and platform could rise to around $203 billion by 2020, according to the IDC Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide. Admittedly, the same report suggests that only around 5% of total worldwide technology expenditure in 2017, $122 billion, will be cloud related. Some of the rest of the $2.4 trillion will be from traditional in-house delivery, consumers (20%) and tellingly from software (20%). It stands to reason a proportion of the expenditure will be on Cloud Connectivity.

One of the main barriers regarding adoption is security, along with reliability, access and compliance related to data location. These issues raise the perfectly legitimate concern of “How do I create a cloud connectivity strategy that will allow me to leverage my on-premise investment and public architecture?”

What is Cloud Connectivity?

Cloud connectivity enables the interoperability between on-premise resources and public environments. The on-premise environment can be a branch office, the IT services division, a third party data centre with colocated equipment, or a major enterprise data centre. The obvious goal is to create an optimal cloud network strategy, where the business can adjust or scale according to demand whilst increasing security and availability coupled with decreasing expenditure.

Cloud connectivity uses a variety of secure, and high capacity (fast) connections, to enable organisations to integrate with cloud network, storage, compute, and end user environments. The greatest step forward has been the ease of creating these connections and how they can help transform a business. In the past, these connections were made manually and required a lot of know-how and administration. Today, major providers are offering far easier ways to integrate with your resources. Even further back, access to those resources was made available only via the Internet, which is inherently problematic from the perspective of security, availability and capacity. Think of cloud connectivity as the VIP entrance, avoiding traversing the Internet with everyone else.

Cloud Connectivity providers understand that you’ve made significant investment in your on-premise and data centre operations. They know that you’re probably not all that ready to rip everything out and move everything. This is why there have been some major initiatives regarding optimising the way businesses connect into the public cloud. These new solutions enable a far easier way to integrate on-premise resources with powerful cloud services. Ultimately, this helps businesses create faster, more reliable, and far more secure cloud network connections into their services using Cloud Connectivity.



Examples of Cloud Connectivity:


AWS Direct Connect

Amazon Web Services is easily the most popular. They support compliance-based workloads, integrate with complex storage environments, and even provide new types of workload delivery methodologies. More recently, Amazon has made it even easier to connect into its ecosystem without having to attempt to arrange a peering agreement between the customer network and the AWS public cloud network.

AWS Direct Connect enables a dedicated network connection between the customer network and an AWS Direct Connect location. It uses industry standard 802.1q VLANs, so that the dedicated connection can be partitioned into multiple virtual interfaces.. This allows you to use the same connection to access public resources, objects stored in Amazon S3 using public IP address space for example. Along with private resources, such as Amazon EC2 instances running within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud using private IP address space. All whilst maintaining total network separation between public and private environments. Virtual interfaces can be reconfigured at any time and on the fly in order to meet your changing needs.

This kind of enterprise cloud connectivity comes with very real business benefits:

  • Bandwidth controls regarding cost and delivery
  • Higher Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for consistent cloud network performance
  • Fully integrated with all AWS services
  • Greater levels of business and data centre elasticity

If you’re integrating with an AWS environment, make sure to look at AWS Direct Connect. It allows your organisation to directly align with a specific strategy, which can be an all-encompassing extension into the AWS, or you can use a specific AWS service, such as integrating with Amazon S3 storage. The best part is that Direct Connect helps ease the adoption of your specific use case securely and privately.


Cloud Connectivity: AWS Direct Connect

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute allows you to create private connections between Azure data centres and on-premise infrastructure inside your network, be it your data centre or a colocation. Microsoft ExpressRoute connections do not go over the public Internet. The connection architecture allows for far greater reliability, higher capacity (speed), much lower latency, and significantly more security than typical internet connections. Each Microsoft ExpressRoute circuit consists of two connections to two Microsoft Enterprise cloud network edge routers from the cloud connectivity provider and your network edge which requires optional dual BGP connections from the connectivity provider and your network side.

Using ExpressRoute connections to transfer data between on-premise systems and Azure can yield significant cost benefits. For example, you can establish connections to Azure at an ExpressRoute location, such as an exchange provider facility, or directly connect to Azure from your existing WAN network, such as a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) VPN provided by a network service provider.

There are several benefits to using this type of cloud connectivity:

  • Data centre and services extension
  • Building an ecosystem for hybrid applications
  • Creating an architecture build on auto-scaling and provisioning
  • Integrating Active Directory services across multiple locations

With Microsoft ExpressRoute, you can establish connections to additional Microsoft services, not only Azure. These include services such as Office 365, Skype for Business and CRM Online. Connectivity can be from an any-to-any (IP VPN) network, a point-to-point Ethernet network, a VLAN via Smart Network or a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a colocation facility.


Cloud Connectivity: Microsoft Azure-ExpressRoute

Google Cloud Interconnect

Google Cloud Interconnect enables you to connect your infrastructure to Google, via enterprise-grade connections to Google’s cloud network edge. The connections are offered by Google Interconnect service providers in order to connect. Google Interconnect will enable your infrastructure to connect to Google Platform Services with higher availability and lower latency connections.

Google Interconnect allows Google Platform Services customers to connect to Google via enterprise-grade connections with higher availability and lower latency than existing Internet connections. Connections are offered by Google Interconnect service provider partners, and offer higher SLAs than standard Internet connections. Google also supports direct connections to its cloud network through direct peering. Customers who cannot meet Google at its peering locations, or do not meet peering requirements, may benefit from Google Interconnect.

The flexibility of the Google Platform with cloud connectivity enables many business benefits:

  • Great for data intensive applications
  • Lower latency access to platform services
  • Reduced cost with up to 50% reduction on Egress pricing
  • Direct peering at over 75 locations in 33 countriles

Google Interconnect links can be used to access any of the Google Platform resources: Google Compute Engine, Google Storage, Google BigQuery, etc. You can even extend your private network into your private Compute Engine network over Google Interconnect links by using a VPN tunnel between the networks.

Oracle FastConnect

FastConnect addresses one of the most important issues that affect migration to a cloud service: the unpredictable nature of the Internet. With FastConnect, you can create a high-speed, dedicated, and low-latency extension that allows you to reap the benefits of a true hybrid setup. It also offers better security than exchanging your data over the Internet.

Oracle Network Service also offers Site-to-Site VPN for Dedicated Compute customers. FastConnect is for all Oracle Cloud customers. Site-to-Site VPN securely extends your on-premises network to your dedicated Oracle Compute zone. FastConnect provides a high bandwidth connection between your data centre and Oracle services.

There are many benefits to FastConnect for cloud connectivity:

  • Get a faster and more secure connection to Oracle
  • Pay less for predictable performance
  • Get a redundant connection, so your traffic can quickly fail over in case of network failures
  • Connect your data centre to Oracle in a few simple clicks

If you are colocated in the same datacenter as Oracle, you can establish connectivity by provisioning direct single mode fibre cross-connects from your datacenter provider. It also offers better security than exchanging your data over the Internet. With FastConnect-Standard Edition, you are connecting your edge routers directly to the Oracle cloud network edge routers in the specific location and establish a BGP peering session directly with Oracle.

HP Enterprise Rapid Connect

HPE Rapid Connect enables you to bypass the public internet when it connects to HPE Helion Managed  Services. The new direct connectivity gives customers access to HPE’s portfolio of services when they need to build and consume computing workloads. It gives businesses more reliable and secure access, better performance and lower latency.

The flexibility of HPE Helion in tandem with Hyoer Converged Appliances is not to be ignored:

  • Great for extension of existing assets
  • Significantly improved latency between cloud network and on-premise
  • On-demand access to compute as an extension
  • Increasing availability at Ingress locations

HPE Helion is a portfolio of software, integrated systems, and services for computing, including distributions of OpenStack® and Cloud Foundry®. HPE Helion makes it easier for you to build, manage, and consume workloads in a hybrid IT environment that includes private and public clouds working in tandem with your on-premises systems.


And Finally . . .

There are many more Cloud Connectivity options, including BlueJeans, Box, Cisco, CSC, IBM, Salesforce, Sungard and VMware. Many of the Tier 1 network providers, whether they be Telecoms or Data Centre, can implement interconnects, known as XConnects, between their cloud network edge routers and your network edge. Additionally backhaul via VLAN through your existing Ethernet Fibre, depending upon provider, will be available.

Serviceteam IT can supply interconnects and backhaul from almost all of the providers, at wholesale rates, and link connections between different carriers and service providers together. Our Smart Network service is the most effective option for connecting.


With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!