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GigaOm Radar for Cloud Networkingv1.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Architecture Models
  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 the cloud entities communicate at a logical level, and enabling connectivity between different data centers and cloud providers.

Cloud networking providers use the native networking capabilities from each provider, orchestrating their configurations from a central management solution. Additionally, cloud networking vendors can provide specialized functions such as firewalls or routers with more features compared to counterparts offered by the cloud providers. With these capabilities, cloud networking vendors have to address everyday networking: specific challenges such as network design, deployment, management, and security, but with a cloud twist. Network segmentation now needs to span multiple and distributed environments, monitoring and observability will have greater and more complex networks to understand, optimization should span 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 provision networking instances with minimal configuration. This consolidated orchestration 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, application-to-application connectivity is one of the most important use cases that cloud networking solutions need to address. Rather than having a networks team to handle networking constructs at layer 3 and 4, which can then be used by the application team, a cloud networking solution can provision layer 3 and 4 instances automatically, allowing the DevOps teams to work exclusively at layer 7 and focus on content-aware application-to-application connectivity.

With this type of capability at the application teams’ fingertips, applications no longer have to be bound to a single region or provider, expanding use cases to multicloud, hybrid cloud, and edge locations. Cloud networking 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.

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.