Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>

Gary Audin | June 09, 2017 |


How Do You Connect to the Cloud?

How Do You Connect to the Cloud? An exploration of the cloud service connection options available today

An exploration of the cloud service connection options available today

You are going to be, or are already, connected to some cloud service, as this is now almost unavoidable. Most people think that the Internet is the only connection solution for these services, but the Internet is not secure unless you use a VPN connection. The Internet is just a best effort delivery service without QoS, so when you're looking for performance, the Internet doesn't always deliver it.

I met Ted Mallires, PMP of The BAZ Group, a firm providing communications technology consulting and management offerings, at a recent NEC Advantage conference. Our conversation wandered over many subjects, but we eventually focused on the cloud service connection options available today. This blog summarizes our discussion. The providers mentioned are not in any order of preference or recommendation.

Cloud Connections
There is a long list of cloud service companies that are candidates for connections. Many cloud services options to assess include AWS, Azure, HP Helion, Salesforce, Cisco, IBM, NTT, Office 365, Oracle, Google, Rackspace, CSC, and VMware. This is an incomplete and expanding list.

What you may not realize is that some of the cloud services to which you subscribe are residing on AWS, Azure, or another cloud. This is very common for software as a service. Not all of the connection services to the cloud are equal. Some offer only domestic connections, while others offer international connections. The connections that are available will also vary from connection provider to connection provider. With the growth of cloud connection services, there are more options other than the Internet. You can connect directly, or you can connect through one of the emerging direct end-to-end services that bypass the Internet.

IP Sec VPN over Internet
This is the most common and traditional approach, and how most organizations initially implement their cloud connection. All traffic should be encrypted over a VPN connection when using the public Internet. Note that the customer pays for their Internet access separately from their cloud service.

Dedicated Connections to Cloud Provider
The approach of operating over a private connection and avoiding the Internet is driven by scale, performance, and concern for security. A dedicated circuit (private line) is installed between the client/customer organization and the selected cloud provider. Customers pay for a port connection to the cloud provider's location as well as the dedicated carrier connection (wave, EPL, MPLS circuit). This is a P2P connection between the customer and their cloud provider. This connection type can deliver the security and performance desired, but it can also be expensive.

Carrier to Cloud Provider
A carrier provides the connection to multiple cloud providers (and diverse connections to those providers) in this scenario. Instead of the customer implementing private line connectivity to the cloud provider, the customer uses their carrier to access the cloud providers. The customer does not pay for dedicated circuits and ports, but does pay for the service and usage. In some cases, the carrier's cloud service is directly connected to all of the cloud providers they serve. In other cases, the carrier uses the Equinix Cloud Exchange to get to some/all of the cloud providers.

Direct End-to-End
These are cloud connections implemented by a carrier that can offer private connectivity. Connectivity is from the customer's LAN to the cloud services the carrier can reach. These connections are implemented so that there is direct connection to the data centers of the cloud service provider. This means there is no third-party network utilized like that encountered with Internet access.

Most of these connection services offer connections to the larger cloud service providers. You need to check with each of them to see what services they connect to as they may not connect to the ones that you want. The following is a list of some of the carriers that offer the fastest, most secure, and probably easiest to manage, connection to cloud services:

Hybrid Direct Connections

These cloud connection services are a mixture of direct connections to some of the cloud providers and a link to the Equinix Cloud Exchange to others. Customers need to implement a connection over one of the carriers listed below. The connection will either utilize the carrier's direct connection or be routed through the Equinix Cloud Exchange by the carrier. These options include:

Equinix Cloud Exchange

This form of cloud connection service uses a carrier's network, connecting the customer's LAN to the Equinix Cloud Exchange through the Equinix data centers. Connections are made to both domestic and international cloud services. This type of connection requires a cross connect be implemented from the carrier to the Cloud Exchange within the Equinix data center. This introduces a separate network to reach the desired cloud service provider. The value of this service is that it reaches a large number of cloud service providers, which means it may be the only connection service you will need.


June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

May 23, 2018

If Cisco is a critical strategic supplier for you, then its vital for you to understand the most recent announcements around Webex Teams, and how to build your migration path for the next generatio

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.