For all the talk about cloud services, people tend to overlook the network component. Without a network, there’s no access to cloud services.
Cloud network services are what bring together the infrastructure components to create cloud services. Whether via Internet, Ethernet or another service, the cloud network service provides user access to cloud resources. It is the means for moving applications and data between them. The network connects the various locations where organizations have their facilities and extends out to remote and mobile users to help enhance productivity and keep people and processes operating efficiently.
The network also carries an abundance of information, including user location, device capabilities and topology. When exposed through well-defined APIs, that information can be consumed by cloud applications to fine-tune and customize their delivery.
Performance, Security and Reliability
Not all networks are the same, and cloud services are only as good as the networks supporting them. If a network experiences issues, bottlenecks can occur and cause applications to run much slower than they should. Heavy traffic spikes can result in network crashes.
Weak network security protocols can leave data and applications at risk for cyber-attacks. Network downtime and connectivity issues can have negative effects on everyone from customers (bad customer experiences create customer churn) to employees (productivity drops if employees can’t access the resources needed to do their jobs).
The Benefits of a Single Source Provider
How can a company ensure that it employs the best possible network in order the reap the full benefits of cloud services? One solution is to go with a cloud services provider (CSP) that has its own network.
If the CSP wants to win and keep cloud customers, it’s going to do what it takes to deliver the most reliable cloud solutions — and that requires a network that is always up and available. CSPs that have their own networks are better positioned to control their reliability and are more likely to make the necessary investments to keep their networks running smoothly. Going with a single provider also makes it easier for companies to manage their cloud and network needs — especially if they have a single point of contact for support.
The US Signal Network Advantage
There are several networks spanning the US, but the number owned and operated by CSPs is limited. US Signal is one of them.
US Signal owns and operates its own carrier-grade network, featuring more than 14,000 miles of lit fiber, access to over 225 data centers and POPs, several Tier 1 peering relationships, and metro rings in strategic markets for optimal performance and low latency. Built on leading-edge Cisco technologies and designed with a SONET, redundant architecture, it is specifically engineered for availability, scalability and flexibility and maintains always-there-when-you-need-it, service level agreement-backed uptime and performance — even if traffic spikes or a disaster strikes.
With total control over its network, US Signal can ensure both network security and reliability. Around-the-clock monitoring and trouble-shooting by the US Signal Technical Operations Center (TOC) help stop issues before they ever occur, while cloud-based, managed firewalls and other measures and protocols help keep the network fortified and protected from existing and emerging physical and cyber threats.
The Cloud-to-Data Center Connection
Yet another benefit: US Signal can draw upon its extensive experience to create network services to meet the specific application and security needs of its customers — from basic Internet access to a fully meshed MPLS network. For example, customers that require fast secure, dedicated access between their IT assets and US Signal public cloud resources, can opt for a Cloud-to-Data Center (CDC) connection. CDC connections are available to customers with collocated IT assets housed in the same US Signal data center as their US Signal public cloud service.
The service employs a redundant topology that allows links that are physically connected to two different edge switches to appear as a single connection to your equipment. The customer’s gear can be a switch, server, or any other networking device that accepts 2 x 1Gbps or 2 x 10Gbps optical connections. The CDC connection provides optic and switch redundancy while stretching customers’ Layer 2 network from their collocated gear and virtualized resources with US Signal.