Cloud Networking or Networking for the Cloud?

Upon a first glance you may not realize the difference between cloud networking and networking for the cloud. After all, are these not the same thing, you may ask? As you will learn here, even though they carry a degree of similarity, there are still distinct differences between these two concepts. 

We all know that for many organizations the cloud is not a question of “if”, but rather “when” and “how” (and of course “how much” ). The cloud-fist or even cloud-only strategies have become an inherent part of the digital transformation that occurs within the companies of all sizes. Some look at the cloud as an extension of their existing data centers effectively driving hybrid cloud strategy, others look at the cloud as a complete transition. Whatever the case may be, the adoption of a public cloud has introduced many variables into the IT equation. Traditional network and network services architectures have not fully adapted for the cloud. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that as high as 80% (or even higher) of organizations are looking at the multi-cloud strategy. In this complex environment where “we need it yesterday” describes the business appetite for agility, IT teams are seriously struggling to keep up.

The network is a foundational element for cloud adoption. As the increasing number of applications are leaving the confines of an on-premise data centers bound for single or multiple clouds, networking plays an ever-important role. Cloud networking is the ability to provide network connectivity to, from and between the cloud workloads. These workloads can reside in a single cloud region, multiple cloud regions or even across multiple public clouds. Communication can happen through the physical colocation facilities, over a set of static virtual tunnels (IPSec) or across a network fabric. In cases where provisioning becomes a challenge, automation tools can help alleviate the burden of pulling the cloud-native levers by abstracting them with configuration workflows. It sounds like cloud networking checkmarks most of the requirements or does it… 

Enter networking for the cloud. While cloud networking puts the network in a position to service the needs of the cloud connectivity, networking for the cloud offers an entire architectural approach of building the network with cloud in mind. Do you see the difference?

Enterprise cloud deployments require comprehensive support for a rich set of network capabilities around strong security, high performance, high availability, full visibility and day-2 operations. Cloud application migrations happen over time, sometimes over months, in which case network’s ability to accommodate brownfield and hybrid on-premise and cloud deployments becomes an absolute necessity. Let’s not forget the network services, such as firewalls, load balancers, remote VPN servers, DNS and DHCP servers, IP address management (IPAM) systems. These and other network services must be effectively incorporated into the cloud environment and to even larger degree into the multi-cloud environment. Lastly, the demand for the enterprise-grade network is likely to run into limitations and shortcomings imposed by the cloud providers’ native infrastructure. Now consider multiple clouds and your challenges have just multiplied.

We at Alkira have risen to the challenge and have fully realized the need to reinvent the networking for the cloud. What does it mean?


By building a strong network foundation, leveraging infinitely scalable, highly available, highly preforming cloud infrastructure and combining it with the needs and care-abouts of the customer cloud deployments, we have created a solution that allows our customers to experience networking that operates in a full concert and synergy with a cloud. The solution fully embraces cloud application transitions by integrating a rich set of network services to allow IT team to enforce stateful security policies with firewalls, achieve application high availability and scale with load-balancers, support teleworking with remote access VPN and so on. But wait, there is one more thing. Just like the cloud itself, networking for the cloud must inherit the attributes of as-a-service consumption to allow flexibility of pay-as-you-go and subscription licensing models without the hardware capital investments and an operational human “tax”.

The time has come to start seeing the networking for the cloud as an accelerator to cloud adoption.

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Author's Bio

David Klebanov

David Klebanov is a 20+ years networking industry veteran. Throughout his career David has engaged in architecting and building a multitude of multi-dimensional network solutions for a variety of Enterprise and Service Provider customers. His expertise extends across the wide area network, data center and the cloud. David currently leads product marketing for Alkira, the company reinventing networking for cloud. Prior to Alkira, David led technical marketing at Viptela, an SD-WAN company acquired by Cisco in 2017. @DavidKlebanov