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The Last Mile – Reliable Cloud Connectivity

By Dan Kernohan and Ash Brar

Montreal and Toronto have become data centre hot spots for the biggest cloud providers in the world (think AWS, Google, Oracle). Several of the largest cloud providers are housing their computing infrastructure in data centres in these two cities, making them prominent cloud regions. Case in point – Toronto data facilities are home to IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Tencent Cloud, Google Cloud Platform, and Oracle Cloud. Montreal facilities house infrastructure for Amazon Web Services, as well as Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud. 

What’s more, local data centres also house several of these providers’ cloud on-ramps, which allow customers to connect directly to those cloud regions on a dedicated port.  

Server rooms used to be a common sight in connected companies. But more and more of these on-site installations are being phased out in favour of cloud computing. And with good reason: evolving from a costly, physical infrastructure to a streamlined, cloud-based digital infrastructure will make any business more efficient. Truly accessible, it lays the tech foundation to scale with what businesses need right now and for an increased remote world of work. 

What’s in the cloud?

It seems the cloud has a lot to offer! And indeed, it does. There are several IT elements with aaS (as a service) alternatives delivered through the cloud:

•       Infrastructure (IaaS) -> Replaces hardware (compute, storage, network)

•       Platforms (PaaS) -> Replaces web servers, databases, etc.

•       Software (SaaS) -> Replaces applications

The benefits of aaS products are clear: little capital expenditure, little to no maintenance, and complete scalability.

Connecting to the cloud

Connecting to the cloud is simple: all you need is Internet. But cloud providers allow you to connect directly to their network, so you also could opt for a dedicated direct connection to the cloud environment of your choice.

Connecting to the cloud via your Internet connection is easy, ubiquitous, and there’s no upfront cost. But, there are some pretty significant pitfalls that you can avoid by opting for a direct connection.

Security

Data transmissions over the Internet are vulnerable to intercept. If the data that is being sent to and pulled from the cloud is sensitive or confidential, this could make cloud computing via a general Internet connection a risky choice. Delivering sensitive data over a direct private line is more likely to satisfy compliance concerns.

Application performance

Cloud-based services have a best-effort performance, which means the user experience depends a great deal on the quality of the Internet connection. Although a well-peered network would certainly help to ensure that the end-user experiences a fast connection to all Internet locations including cloud, there’s still some unpredictability in terms of bandwidth, latency and jitter. A dedicated cloud connection ensures consistent and predictable performance.

Egress cost

Egress fees are charged by the cloud provider for any data that is retrieved from the cloud. Since most apps “pull” data from the cloud, the Gigs can certainly add up. A direct connection cuts those costs significantly – for example, AWS charges US$0.09/G egress fees over Internet, versus US$0.02/G over a direct connection.

Dedicated Cloud Connectivity

As workloads move into the cloud, opting for a dedicated cloud connection can keep everything seamlessly linked together – your offices, branch sites, data centres, and the cloud. With a last mile connection, multiple physical locations can be bridged with one dedicated connection and then shared across your sites. Any type of private connectivity (Dark Fibre, Wavelength, LAN-X, IP-VPN) can be taken as the last mile and paired with the cloud on the back end to deliver full cloud connectivity. 

 

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