When hybrid work models gained traction during the pandemic, increasing numbers of companies embraced cloud-based IT and communications platforms to support workers wherever they are – in the office, at home or on the go.
Now that the emergency has passed and the novelty has worn off, hybrid work is the new norm and many enterprises want to recreate the “on the desktop” experience for their cloud-connected workers. That means minimizing latency and maximizing security for cloud-based infrastructure and applications. In other words, they need a better connection to the cloud.
Businesses typically connect to the cloud through the public Internet, but the Internet’s inherent insecurity and unreliable speed and performance push many organizations today to look for alternatives. Enter cloud direct connections (aka direct connects) for secure, high-performance access to the cloud.
Direct connects are not new; they were introduced in the 2010s as enterprises began moving more workloads to the cloud and needed more reliable, secure and faster connectivity than the public Internet could provide. However, today, they’re becoming a critical part of nearly every conversation UPSTACK has with cloud-dependent businesses.
What are direct connections to the cloud?
Cloud direct connects are dedicated private network connections from an enterprise data center, office or colocation environment to public cloud providers.
Enterprises commonly use direct connects to link to:
- Hyperscale public cloud service providers (CSPs), like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, IBM Cloud, among others
- Application service providers (ASPs) like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Adobe or other software as a service (SaaS) providers
What are the benefits of direct connects?
As mentioned earlier, direct connects overcome the weaknesses inherent in traversing the public Internet. The primary benefits include:
- Improved security — Direct connects are private, so data doesn’t traverse the public Internet, reducing enterprises’ exposure to potential threats. Improved security can support compliance with industry-specific data security standards.
- Enhanced performance — Direct connects provide dedicated bandwidth with lower latency, higher throughput and greater reliability. They also enable traffic prioritization to ensure quality of service (QoS) for critical applications.
- Simplified networking — Direct connects can reduce the complexity of routing data to and from the cloud. Plus, many providers manage the physical network connection on behalf of the enterprise.
- Reduced costs — Direct connects swap high IP transit costs for modest port or cross-connect fees. Additionally, direct connects reduce or eliminate data egress charges for transferring data over the Internet from a CSP environment to another location, such as an on-premises data center.
Why should enterprises consider direct connects?
Direct connections to the cloud are suited for some businesses more than others. Companies with low traffic to CSPs/ASPs or located in remote areas may realize too few benefits for the costs.
However, organizations generally should consider direct connects to support the following scenarios:
- Hybrid cloud — Direct connects ensure secure and quick communications for applications that need to span on-premises and cloud environments, such as a database on-prem and a web server in the cloud.
- Multi-cloud — For enterprises using multiple cloud providers, colocation providers can offer direct connects to multiple cloud platforms through a single interface, simplifying network architecture and management.
- High traffic — Businesses with significant traffic to CSPs can benefit from direct connects for security and cost reductions.
- Cloud dependence — Any businesses, regardless of size, that rely on cloud-based applications to drive revenue should consider direct connects to ensure reliability and accessibility.
- Business continuity — For business continuity and disaster recovery, direct connects offer fewer points of failure for greater reliability and fewer disruptions. Additionally, they can facilitate speedy data transfer to a cloud disaster recovery site and back again. Furthermore, direct connects can link to multiple data centers in multiple regions for geo-redundancy.
Are direct connects right for your business?
If your business consumes cloud services today, UPSTACK can evaluate your network to determine if it could benefit from a direct connection.
At UPSTACK, we have completed thousands of data center, hybrid cloud, and complex networking projects. Our experience with a wide range of solutions enables us to drive positive business outcomes when designing solutions for our clients.Learn more about our network connectivity expertise.