Reducing the Chance of Network Outages with Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud

Friday January 21, 2022


Reducing the Chance of Network Outages with Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud

Network Outages and Downtime: A Serious Problem

As we have noted here in the past, network downtime caused by manual network management processes results in considerable losses to enterprises in all sectors each year. In industries like healthcare, these costs even introduce the prospect of physical danger to consumers. In terms of outages and network downtime, 2021 was a terrible year for the world’s cloud incumbents.

During December, for example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) suffered three significant incidents in rapid succession. On December 7, the AWS internal network for monitoring, internal DNS, and authorization services triggered a surge of connection activity that caused traffic delays and even entire site shutdowns internationally for about 7 hours. On December 15, a second AWS outage caused the collapse of Disney+, T-Mobile, Xbox Live, and DoorDash. The third outage on December 22 shut down Fortnite, Hulu, Quora, Slack, and Imgur.

AWS was by no means alone in suffering mishaps during 2021. For example, in the same week that it was rebranding itself as “Meta,” Facebook experienced an outage that rendered sites reliant on its logins inaccessible to their users. WhatsApp’s messaging platform, which helps millions of users worldwide stay in touch with family and friends, was among those affected. Other cloud networks experiencing major outages in 2021 included Google, Fastly (which serves content to Twitter, Reddit, The New York Times, and CNN), and the gaming platform PSN.

These incidents point to a common defect afflicting cloud providers and all other industries. By relying on a single public cloud infrastructure, organizations effectively put all their eggs in one cloud “basket.” This lack of redundancy quickly becomes a single point of business failure.

Luckily it is possible to avoid this situation -- and mitigate the effects of outage incidents -- by deploying alternate infrastructures such as hybrid cloud and multi-cloud.

How Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud Reduce Outages

In a hybrid cloud environment, an organization maintains an on-premises infrastructure that supports a private cloud while at the same time utilizing a public cloud deployment hosted by a service provider. With this combination, an enterprise can, for example, run cloud-native applications locally, provide resources for in-house software development, or use the public platform to provide specialized services or additional resources for their private cloud.

As well as being able to manage data and run workloads on local infrastructure in line with security, compliance, and regulatory demands, organizations using a hybrid cloud avoid the risk of having all their network resources dependent on a single source of infrastructure. So, if an outage affects one part of the blended system (public cloud or private), there can at least be an alternative that remains viable.

A similar situation applies to a multi-cloud environment. However, in this case, the organization employs the services of two or more cloud computing platforms or providers to handle various business tasks. As a practical example, an enterprise might use the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering of one provider to host its workloads and the Software as a Service function of another platform to run specialist applications.

As a hedge against network outages and downtime in the multi-cloud case, an organization could also host the same application and its corresponding data on two cloud platforms. In case one provider experiences an outage, the business may continue as usual with the resources of the other.

Conceptually, it is also possible to create a “hybrid multi-cloud” environment. For example, an organization could integrate a private cloud with the resources of two or more public cloud infrastructures. Though likely to be a highly complex setup, this creates additional avenues of redundancy and greater chances of successfully weathering a network outage event.

Managing Enterprise Networks in the Hybrid Era

As observed, hybrid and multi-cloud deployments of necessity introduce a higher degree of complexity in their infrastructure and management. Ideally, network administrators, therefore, require a single source of truth that enables them to manage all the clouds with one solution.

By consolidating the management of all subnets into a single source of truth, enterprises can:

  • Make sure that enterprise subnets and IP addresses activated in different domains of the hybrid business infrastructure do not overlap, thereby minimizing the chance of expensive network downtime
  • Enhance the level of security as all network changes regardless across the hybrid business infrastructure is stored neatly in a single audit trail and is protected by role-based access control;
  • Enable automation as all network data is neatly available behind a single REST Application Programming Interface (API).

FusionLayer Infinity is the world’s first Software-Defined IP Address Management (SD-IPAM) solution for next-generation business infrastructures. It provides a single source of truth for all network information so that orchestrators gain real-time access to network data and policies. This Network Source of Truth includes logical networks, VLANs, VRFs, NATs, and more.

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