Level 3 Communications

Paul Savill

Making the Cloud Come to You

Everything’s coming up cloud these days – enterprises around the globe recognize the cloud offers a level of scalability, agility and speed to market that’s shaping the new digital economy. Cloud computing has given us pay-as-you-go options and the anything-as-a-service delivery model, speeding innovation and enriching the communications industry.

Despite what some may think, the spike in cloud adoption isn’t limited to public clouds. IDC, the analyst group, predicts the cloud infrastructure spend will reach $38.2 billion this year, with growth in public and private cloud spending of 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Interestingly, traditional data centers – data centers that are privately owned and operated on a customer’s premise – are still expected to account for about 64 percent of cloud expenditures.

What this means is while the future for cloud is bright, enterprises are not only harboring their own private data centers, they are continuing to invest in them even as they further capitalize on cloud solutions. In fact, in a recent study 452 Research found 83 percent of enterprises continued to rely on their private data centers. Nearly half employed a hybrid cloud strategy comprised of third parties and their data centers/IT sites.

There’s good reason for that approach. As more business-critical data and applications are hosted in the cloud instead of on the premise, more data gets pushed over the WAN, making security and performance of WAN connections a top priority. Public and private network connections have different strengths and are suited to different applications and data. Some workloads aren’t conducive to the cloud environment, either for issues of data sovereignty, compliance, security or individual application performance.

So, how can businesses determine the best way to connect to the cloud? Understand that multiple options with varying trade-offs in cost and performance are available.

From the broad view, there are two routes to access the public cloud – via the data center cloud exchange model or through a direct connection via the WAN. The exchange model requires a customer to connect their enterprise network to an exchange data center, purchase rack space and power in the third-party data center and then access the cloud provider through cross-connect. If connecting to the cloud via that route sounds cumbersome, it’s because – unless you’re already located in a data center that offers a cloud on-ramp – it is.

Another option for enterprises managing their own data centers is to connect directly to CSPs with their own private cloud connection from their WAN. This approach avoids the need to deploy more physical assets that have to be managed remotely, and can be more cost effective. Adding a private connection from an existing corporate WAN can also make it easier for cloud resources to be securely accessible by the whole corporation.

In the new on-demand economy, cloud is becoming the definition of speed. According to RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud Report, 62 percent of respondents cited faster access to infrastructure as the top benefit of cloud adoption. In the meantime, security is no longer the top concern in making the move to the cloud – it’s lack of resources. There is a clear way to leverage the cloud without having to camp your data infrastructure next to it: work with a provider who can bring the cloud to you. 

Find out how Level 3 can help you connect to the cloud.