As borders between global enterprises begin to blur, organisations need to ensure they have rapid, secure access to critical data to keep the business running at its best, writes Malcolm Murphy, Technical Director, EMEA at Infoblox. Smart organisations are moving to the cloud to accelerate workflows and better support users and sites wherever they happen to be, leveraging IoT, SD-WAN, SaaS and IPv6 initiatives to do so.
The shift to utilise public, private and hybrid cloud networking across the borderless enterprise is becoming increasingly challenging, however. In a world where cloud is king, the data centre is no longer the central hub for activity; it’s at the network edge. The soaring demand for direct-to-cloud access at the edge has surpassed the hub and spoke way of networking, and is now accepted as the norm.
If your organisation wants to embrace the cloud and all of the benefits that come alongside cloud-based technology, you need a simpler, more reliable way to manage your network, apps, devices and services across all locations. So, how can organisations solve networking challenges at the edge, using fewer enterprise resources, whilst still replicating the quality of on-premise experiences for end users?
Cloud-Managed DDI: The Foundation of Core Network Services
For a unified service or solution, it has to be cloud-managed DDI (DNS, DHCP and IPAM [IP Address Management]). DDI comprises the foundation of core network services that enables all communications over an IP-based network.
By moving the management plane for DDI from the appliance to the cloud, organisations are able to centrally manage their borderless enterprise with far greater reliability, security and automation than traditional on-premise DDI solutions can offer. DDI not only optimises network access and performance across all locations, cloud-managed DDI is also a key enabler for digital transformation
Here are five edge networking scenarios that will demonstrate how cloud-managed DDI can solve a number of key challenges for borderless networks:
1) Increasing Agility
For many borderless enterprises, fully-featured, enterprise-grade DDI services are not required in all of its branches or remote sites. For example, an organisation may already have a DNS service that meets all its needs in every location, but it wants to deploy only DHCP or IP address management services in small regional offices. Similarly, it may wish to expand DDI capabilities in some branches, but not others.
For enterprises that are undergoing digital transformation, it’s important to have the flexibility to roll out DDI capabilities incrementally, so they may wish to upgrade DHCP while retaining their current IP address management solution. Organisations undergoing this level of change need a DDI solution that protects them from over-provisioning services in remote sites that may go unused for some time. Cloud-based DDI enables enterprises to be agile enough to achieve the right size DDI implementation for every location.
2) Keeping Applications Available
The term “mission-critical” takes on a whole new meaning when businesses depend on connecting vital manufacturing facilities to global supply chain partners and remote offices. Adding to that, IoT devices have to communicate 24/7 meaning reliability and longevity become essential.
Application latency is not the only downside to traditional backhauling of DNS and DHCP through a headquarters data centre. If a power outage or natural disaster hits and the link to headquarters goes down, remote locations are not able to reach the central data centre for DNS and DHCP resolution, meaning they will lose access to the Internet and cloud-based apps. To ensure always-on networking for all locations, remote and branch offices need the ability to maintain DDI services locally.
3) Simplifying Application Access
For borderless enterprises with a growing number of remote workers and branch locations, simple, reliable access to mission-critical applications at the network edge is paramount. This requires organisations to move away from traditional MPLS architectures, since backhauling network traffic through the data centre creates severe latency and bottlenecks for end users in branch offices and remote sites, slowing down business.
Moving to more agile cloud access via applications like Microsoft Office 365 requires a different infrastructure, one where DDI services can be delivered and managed centrally via the cloud and where traffic from remote locations can connect directly to the closest local PoPs in the cloud, without the backlog.
4) Scaling at the Edge
Many modern high-growth companies are 100% cloud-based, which means that they have no centralised data centre because all apps and services are managed and delivered in the cloud. When it comes to managing the growth of branch offices and remote locations, however, it can be a challenge to find a solution that is 100% cloud-ready. Core DDI services like DHCP are typically managed by hardware routers or servers located at each site, and a large enterprise may have hundreds of these throughout its borderless operations. These on-premises devices are often resource-intensive, error prone, cumbersome and hard to scale. In addition, they provide no easy way to monitor and manage multiple locations.
For cloud-born businesses, cloud-managed DDI makes it simple to eliminate resource-heavy physical appliances in branch and remote offices. Instead, lightweight devices or virtual appliances can be deployed in all locations, which enables DDI to be centrally managed in the cloud across all sites.
5) Centralising Control
Cloud-managed DDI enables organisations to integrate core network services, bringing DNS, DHCP and IPAM together on a unified platform. By replacing siloed, on-premise DNS and DHCP controllers with cloud-native technology, organisations are able to take a huge step toward digital transformation through integrated DDI services they can centrally manage in the cloud across all locations, ensuring better branch performance, faster access to cloud-based applications and higher availability.
For today’s borderless enterprises, traditional networking architecture is no longer effective for managing the explosion of workflow at the edge. Modern organisations require a modern, flexible solution which enables them to accelerate workflows to meet demand and better support users and sites, wherever they may be.