Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Networking in Federated Clouds - The L2/L3 Debate

It is great to see that a major player like Citrix has embraced the idea of layer-2 bridging

Last week Citrix announced OpenAccess and OpenBridge, two new offerings for cloud computing.  OpenAccess focuses on single sign-on and identity management while OpenBridge is designed to allow connections between local resources and cloud resources.  The OpenBridge announcement highlights an interesting debate occurring around hybrid cloud computing – how should cloud networks be connected?

The debate centers on layer-2 versus layer-3 connectivity.  Traditionally, network topologies for remote data centers, co-location facilities, and managed services have been built with layer-3 (routed) networks.  This made sense since you were creating separate networks for each location and then creating rules for communication between the different locations.  Setting up these networks requires lengthy planning and re-configuration to enable the organization’s core network to communicate with the new external resources.  In addition, the rules and services for servers deployed both in the data center and remote facilities have to be updated. Although deploying layer-3 networks is time-consuming and complex, it’s the way things have always been done by the service providers.

Interestingly, most of the new cloud solutions are also following this layer-3 model because it’s so established and familiar.  Amazon introduced their VPC offering last year that enabled connectivity between the customer’s data center and their cloud over a layer-3 network.  VMware has released vShield Edge services that use layer-3 networks to connect between virtual data center (VDC) networks.

So where is the debate?   Enterprise IT is discovering that the attributes and configuration of layer-3 networking work against some of the most powerful concepts in cloud computing. Most enterprises are looking to the cloud for dynamic applications and deployments.  They want to be able to scale resources on demand, rapidly provision new resources for development and testing, and enable self-service models.  If, for each new environment, they had to get permission to alter the core networking or edge devices and then actually get someone to do it, much of the advantage of the agility of cloud computing would be lost.

The layer-3 approach has two fundamental issues that make it problematic for cloud use cases: (1) layer-3 is location-dependent, and (2) changing configurations in the cloud involves changing core or edge services to match.  If each cloud resource is an independent network with its own addressing scheme, then applications and services deployed to the cloud have to be updated relative to their location.  Further, applications that want to interact with the cloud also have to be updated.  Yes, this can be mitigated with DNS and other techniques, but that just leads back to problem #2.

Because of this realization, we looked for an alternative as we designed our CloudSwitch software that would allow enterprises to access the full power of cloud computing.  With respect to networking, the answer was support for layer-2 connectivity between the cloud and the data center.  Layer-2 networking allows for position independence since the network in the cloud is a direct extension of the network in the data center.   This means that all servers have the same addresses and routing protocols and thus become location independent (from the user and application level, the location of the server cannot be determined).  With this solution, users can select where they want to run their applications locally or in the cloud, and do not have to reconfigure anything.

Of course, creating a layer-2 connection between the data center and a cloud can be challenging.  The actual bridging part is not too hard since the networking technologies have existed for quite some time.  The challenges lie in two factors: cloud provider control and security implications.  In terms of cloud provider control, for a layer-2 bridge to work, the cloud provider must allow the customer to control the networking within the cloud offering.  This means that the cloud provider must allow customers to specify the addressing for each server they deploy in the cloud.  Most public clouds do not have this capability; they assign addresses (either in ranges or per server) and almost universally, these will not align with your internal addressing schemes.  This means that a “standard” layer-2 solution is not compatible with most public clouds.  Because we believe that having a layer-2 option is critical for enterprises looking to embrace cloud computing, we have worked hard to support this in all clouds, even when the native cloud doesn’t.  This is one of the strengths of our Cloud Isolation Technology™ – adding value and capabilities to each cloud we support.

The more major challenge of extending your networks to the cloud is of course security.  By bridging your networks to the cloud, you have to trust the cloud provider and their security measures.  This can be difficult because as a customer, you have no control over what the cloud provider implements or changes over the course of operation.  This is another reason we built our CloudSwitch software around our Cloud Isolation Technology.  If you really want to create a hybrid cloud computing environment, you need the confidence to integrate tightly with the cloud.  CloudSwitch enables this confidence by allowing the customer to separate their environment from the cloud provider’s infrastructure in a highly controlled fashion.  This means that not only do we protect your network and storage traffic from being accessed by the cloud provider, but we prevent any traffic from outside our isolation layer from entering your data center.

In the end, we believe that to achieve true hybrid cloud computing, a solution must support both layer-2 and layer-3 networking, and that is what we have built.  Our customers can choose to interact with their servers in the cloud utilizing an automated layer-2 connection, or create specific rules and routing to access via layer-3, and because of our Cloud Isolation Technology, we can support this even in clouds that don’t natively support full control over network addressing.

It is great to see that a major player like Citrix has embraced the idea of layer-2 bridging with their CloudBridge offering as it helps highlight the importance of this network technology.  Of course, there is a lot more to cloud federation than networking. Full security control, resource allocation and management, application migration, and lifecycle management are other key elements that are essential for a successful deployment, all automated and simplified by CloudSwitch.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ellen Rubin

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, an enterprise storage company that recently raised $27 million in a Series B investment round. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to- market efforts for fast-growing companies. Most recently, she was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud enablement software company, acquired by Verizon in 2011. Prior to founding CloudSwitch, Ellen was the vice president of marketing at Netezza, where as a member of the early management team, she helped grow the company to more than $130 million in revenues and a successful IPO in 2007. Ellen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...