Laptop Displaying the GigaOm Research Portal

Get your Free GigaOm account today.

Access complimentary GigaOm content by signing up for a FREE GigaOm account today — or upgrade to premium for full access to the GigaOm research catalog. Join now and uncover what you’ve been missing!

GigaOm Radar for Cloud Networkingv2.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Architecture Models and Deployment
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

Cloud networking software enables data transmission within and between clouds by deploying and orchestrating virtual networking functions. Cloud networking is entirely software driven, with each virtual function playing a role in defining how various cloud entities communicate at a logical level, and enabling connectivity between different data centers and cloud providers.

Cloud networking solutions use the native networking capabilities from each cloud provider, orchestrating them from a central management solution. Additionally, cloud networking vendors can provide specialized functions such as gateways, exchange points, or routers with more features compared to the native counterparts offered by the cloud providers.

With these capabilities, cloud networking vendors address everyday networking-specific challenges—such as network design, deployment, management, and security—but with a cloud twist. Network segmentation now must span multiple distributed environments, monitoring and observability tools will have larger and more complex networks to understand, optimization should include cloud-to-cloud intelligence, and even routing brings in new networking functions such as transit gateways.

The best way of addressing all these challenges is to abstract all networking constructs and present them in a single orchestration solution that can handle multiple types of infrastructure and provisioning of networking instances with minimal configuration. This consolidated view changes the cloud networking experience from an overwhelming problem to a much more casual activity. Connecting another public cloud environment should feel like just another instance to connect rather than a whole architecture overhaul.

At this higher level of abstraction, service-to-service connectivity and content-aware traffic processing are two of the most important use cases that cloud networking solutions need to address. Rather than having the networks team handle constructs at Layers 3 and 4, a cloud networking solution can automatically provision Layer 3 and 4 instances, allowing the DevOps teams to work exclusively at Layer 7 and focus on content-aware, service-to-service connectivity.

With this type of capability at the development teams’ fingertips, applications are no longer bound to a single region or provider, and use cases can expand to multicloud, hybrid cloud, and edge locations. Cloud networking also reduces the amount of vendor-specific knowledge required to interconnect environments by offering a unified and consistent management interface. Rather than adopting an unsophisticated “connecting multiple environments” approach, we can reframe cloud networking as one of the core enablers of developing and maintaining cutting-edge applications using all the available types of infrastructure.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key cloud networking vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Cloud Networking Solutions,” we describe in more detail the capabilities and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.