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Efficient Multi Cloud Networking Solutions

December 14, 2023 | 25 min read

​​In the modern cloud era, as businesses and organizations use multiple cloud resources, which entails private and public cloud services and their providers such as Amazon web services, Google cloud platforms, etc, their compute needs expand across private cloud, public cloud, colocation, and software as a service (SaaS) /platform as a service (PaaS). They also have needs for disaster recovery and contingency plans (for small or medium businesses), etc.

Multi cloud networking is the answer to these needs, and it also arises as a way to deal with the connectivity challenges. It creates a secure mesh by manifesting as a multi cloud middleware that simplifies operating across multiple environments and locations. ​​By utilizing multiple cloud services and networking, businesses can enjoy a host of benefits, including increased agility, improved efficiency, and enhanced disaster recovery.

​​This article is a comprehensive study about multi cloud networking and the essential details you need to know.


Prerequisites

An organization or a user who's about to venture into multi cloud networking should have the following abilities:

  • You should have good programming skills
  • You should have an understanding of virtualization.
  • You should be familiar with the basics of security and privacy, etc.

​​​​What is Multi Cloud Networking?

​​Multi cloud networking is essentially about the connectivity between cloud environments, whether different public clouds or private clouds or your managed Kubernetes service, really anywhere you'd run a workload.

​It is the practice of using cloud services from multiple, heterogeneous public cloud providers. These public cloud providers include Google Cloud Platform, AWS, or Microsoft Azure.


​​To enable organizations to utilize these multiple cloud resources comprising both public and private clouds, they need a better way to network connect (connect these resources) using a software-defined approach, hence multi cloud networking. ​​To gain a better understanding of this topic, let's define some terminologies associated with connecting these clouds.

  • ​​Public cloud: In the public cloud, the cloud computing infrastructure is located on the premises of the company that offers the service. In other words, the company that offers the service (third-party service provider) makes computing resources that may range from ready-to-use apps to individual virtual machines to development platforms, etc., available to the user(s) over the public internet. The public cloud provider owns and operates the data centers where customer workloads are hosted.
  • ​​Private cloud: This means using a cloud infrastructure only by one customer or organization, and it is exclusive or has isolated access to only its customers.
  • ​​Multi cloud: Multi cloud is simply the use of cloud services from more than one cloud provider/vendor. Organizations may require services from multiple public clouds, such as AWS or IBM Clouds. They must establish connections between their networking infrastructure and multiple clouds in such cases.​​

5 Key Benefits of Implementing a Multi-Cloud Networking Strategy

​​Multi-cloud networking is one of the most exciting topics in trend because of the magic of its implementation. Here are 5 Key reasons to adopt a multi-cloud networking strategy:

  • ​​Reduced disaster risk, need for disaster recovery, and emergency plan: Multi-cloud networking enables users to spread their data across multiple cloud environments, thereby making it easier to be less prone to experiencing a total shutdown in case one cloud fails. ​​The rise of IT consumption has led to increased data generation. Hence, the need for disaster recovery and emergency plans arises. A disaster recovery plan simply entails storing data with more than one cloud provider. This is done by using cloud disaster recovery, which is a cloud computing service that facilitates the system data to be stored and retrieved in a remote cloud-based platform. ​​Also, businesses need to store significant documents or information as a backup in case of emergencies. It comes into play when users with budget constraints are limited to using expensive hardware for storing data. Thus, it is essential for businesses or individuals with budget restraints to store and access data from any location.

  • ​​Liberty: ​​The dichotomy of cloud adoption is that cloud vendors bind users to their infrastructure, making it complex for you and pricey to migrate. However, MCN provides cloud networking solutions that make it easy to evade vendor lock-in and be in control of one’s infrastructure. ​​Here's how: ​​firstly, multi-cloud networking enables organizations to use multiple vendors or providers for various workloads. By doing this, if one provider increases prices or experiences service disruptions, organizations can simply switch to another vendor without incurring any significant expenses. ​​

Additionally, it provides businesses with more control over their data. Companies can store data in various locations and decide which provider has access to it, ensuring data security and privacy. ​​Finally, it enables businesses to customize their cloud infrastructure to their explicit needs. By using multiple vendors, organizations can choose the tools or services that fit their needs adequately rather than being limited to the offerings of a single vendor.

  • ​​Reduced latency: ​​Organizations use cloud-based applications to improve user experience and create revenue streams. However, , which is the duration it takes for data to travel between the user and the app, can be an issue when it comes to the performance of these applications. Multi cloud networking solutions are the answer to this problem as they ensure optimal performance for businesses and offer low latency as well as high throughput.

  • ​​Optimized RoI: Organizations can leverage multi-cloud networking to harness the unique capabilities of multiple platforms while still ensuring a consistent network infrastructure. ​​Multi-cloud networking presents a profitable opportunity for businesses aiming to enhance performance, minimize expenses, and bolster security. By capitalizing on the strengths offered by each platform, businesses can establish a tailored infrastructure that aligns with their unique requirements. Furthermore, it aids in optimizing return on investment (ROI) through the reduction of downtime and the enhancement of flexibility.

  • ​​Outstanding security: ​​Although the cloud has become an integral aspect of contemporary business operations, some businesses have been hesitant to adopt it because they are concerned about security and losing control. Vendors have created private clouds solutions that offer better visibility and control to allay these worries. Nevertheless, managing such solutions can be complicated and expensive. Multi cloud networking offers a more viable alternative, allowing companies to retain a hybrid cloud environment that includes the benefits of both private and public clouds. This strategy benefits from the cost savings associated with a public cloud while providing the security of a private cloud. Businesses may guarantee the ongoing availability and security of their critical applications and data by combining the advantages of these two environments.
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Challenges Facing Multi Cloud Networking

​​Although multi cloud networking poses a lot of benefits, it also has its drawbacks. Here are some of these challenges:

  • ​​Complexity: ​​Implementing multiple cloud deployments can be a challenging task. IT teams often face difficulties configuring services on a single cloud, let alone managing services across two or three clouds. ​​Multi cloud architectures may not be suitable for everyone, especially if developers and administrators are not adequately prepared for the intricate management tasks involved in operating multiple clouds simultaneously.

  • ​​Complicated cost management: ​​Although it is possible for a multi cloud strategy to optimize costs, it is more complicated than what meets the eye. ​​When adopting a multi cloud approach involving multiple cloud service providers, it is common to experience higher initial expenses and encounter challenges in optimizing costs despite potentially improved negotiation. This doesn't imply that optimizing costs is impossible with a multi cloud strategy but rather highlights the learning curve involved in the process.

  • ​​Liability of choice: ​​Making the right decision in selecting the right cloud for your business or organization isn't accessible. ​​There are challenges in investing resources, including money, personnel, and time, to integrate with one cloud provider deeply. The situation becomes even more complex when attempting to choose a second or third cloud provider, as making the wrong selection may have you going through the decision-making process again. ​​Enterprises must be mindful of the potential drawbacks stemming from the ever-evolving nature of . Even if a particular cloud provider suits your current workload, there is no guarantee it will remain the optimal choice in the future. ​​Still, it doesn't mean you should give up. A well-designed multi cloud strategy acknowledges the need for trial and error to identify the most suitable fit for the organization. ​​As a public cloud or private cloud customer, there are several challenges associated with multi cloud networking. They are as follows:

- Running applications across multiple cloud platforms introduces security and compliance concerns due to limited visibility into the activities and performance of your applications on external cloud networks.


​​- Most public cloud providers have their unique networks and methods of constructing them, referred to as "constructs." Their primary objective is not necessarily to facilitate your seamless connections with other clouds but rather to retain your presence within their cloud environment.

​​Multi Cloud Networking Architecture (MCNA)

​​Multi cloud service providers are building these services they have to provide to you, but obviously, they have to cater to thousands of users, so it's not very easy to provide a feature or service that your business may need. Hence, you need MCNA to enable you to deploy or use those features.

​​Multi cloud networking Architecture is a cloud architecture that cuts across multiple cloud platforms and uses a combination of services from multiple disparate cloud providers to meet a business's data processing and computing requirements.

​​MCN architecture enables organizations to attain cost efficiency, agility, and great resilience.

​​MCNA takes advantage of multiple cloud service providers and utilizes platforms like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure to host different components of an application.


​​For example, an organization might choose AWS to host their web applications, Azure for their data storage requirements, and GCP for machine learning and analytics purposes. To ensure smooth operation across these diverse cloud services, the organization must seamlessly integrate them.


​​Organizations can achieve this by employing various technologies such as load balancers, virtual private networks (VPN), and software-defined networking (SDN) to designate connections between the different cloud services. ​​Additionally, they can employ cloud orchestration tools like Kubernetes to manage and optimize the various cloud environments effectively.

​​Organizations will likely deploy a range of protective measures, such as network firewalls, anti-DDoS solutions, and web application firewalls. There are four key operational layers in MCN architecture, namely the cloud core and the security, access, and operations layers.

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  • ​​Cloud core layer: ​​The cloud core layer forms the foundation of the MCN architecture, which consists of a range of cloud services provided by disparate cloud service providers. These services encompass various functionalities, like computing, storage, and databases. The integration, coordination, and management of multiple cloud environments are made easier by the availability of tools and services that are frequently shared inside the cloud core layer. These tools and services are essential for automating and abstracting activities, ensuring seamless communication between the various cloud services. ​​There are some services and tools that are part of the cloud layer. They are as follows:
  • ​​Cloud orchestration provides a uniform platform like Kubernetes or OpenShift for managing various cloud environments.
  • ​​Multiple cloud service providers can construct virtual networks thanks to network virtualization technologies like VPNs and SDNs.
  • ​​Tools for service administration and monitoring make it easier to keep track of and monitor the operation of various cloud services.

​​Additionally, the cloud core supports cloud-native constructs and APIs, enabling visibility and control to optimize the network across various cloud environments, thereby promoting smooth integration.

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​​There are two sub-layers in the cloud core, namely the application layer and the global transit layer.

  • ​​Application layer: The business apps and services necessary for the efficient operation of the company are located at the application layer of the cloud core. To enable the successful deployment and operation of applications and services across various cloud environments, it works simultaneously with both the cloud core layer and other levels within the multi cloud architecture. ​​The primary function of the application layer is to abstract the underlying infrastructure, hide all the complexities and limitations of cloud service providers, and also provide a consistent interface that users and components can interact with. The application layer contains services and business logic that facilitate important functions such as authentication, authorization, and interactivity. Additionally, it can make a set of APIs available to customers so they can access and request data.

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  • ​​Global transit layer: ​​The connectivity and data transfer between various cloud regions, cloud service providers, and on-premises data centers are made possible via the global transit layer. ​​Serving as a centralized hub, the global transit layer plays a critical role in overseeing traffic management throughout the multi cloud environment. It serves as a focal point for managing network regulations, routing guidelines, and security regulations across various cloud providers. ​​A notable feature of the global transit layer is its ability to provide a unified and uniform interface for traffic control throughout the multi cloud environment, which simplifies the management and setup of network traffic. This simplification significantly reduces the complexity associated with managing numerous network connections and configurations across different cloud providers.

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  • Cloud ​​security layer: The multi cloud infrastructure and applications are protected against potential threats and attacks by a variety of methods and policies that constitute the cloud security layer. It comprises various security measures such as web application firewalls, services for encryption and decryption, defenses against DDoS attacks, tools for managing identity and access, and established security protocols. These precautions are taken to guarantee the security of cloud resources and the data stored within them. ​​The security layer also integrates compliance management that enables organizations to follow industry norms and legal obligations for data security and privacy. ​​Security is built into the network architecture through segmentation, encryption ingress and egress filtering, and security service insertion.

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  • ​​Cloud access layer: ​​The access layer plays a fundamental role in establishing connections between diverse users and devices, including staff members, business partners, clients, branch offices, and legacy data centers, with secure access to applications and services in a multi cloud environment. Managing user authentication and permission, as well as preserving the integrity of data sent between users and cloud services, are its primary responsibilities. Network switches, routers, and wireless access points typically make up the access layer, which makes it possible for end users to connect to the network and access cloud resources. To provide optimal performance and high availability in a multi cloud environment, the access layer may additionally include components that enable traffic routing and load balancing among various cloud providers.

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  • ​​Operation layer: ​​In a multi cloud infrastructure, the operation layer manages and maintains the various cloud services and resources in the system. The performance, availability, and security of the multi cloud architecture are monitored and managed by IT teams and improved with the help of a variety of tools, technologies, and procedures that are part of this layer. ​​Within the operations layer, there are various management and orchestration solutions, such as cloud management platforms. The deployment and maintenance of applications and workloads across several cloud providers can be automated by IT teams using these solutions. ​​It also includes analytics and monitoring tools that give users immediate access to information about the performance and availability of the multi cloud system. This visibility enables IT personnel to detect and resolve any potential problems quickly. ​​The essential cloud features consist of global visibility, control, automation, dev1/2/3 ops, move-add changes, and troubleshooting, which are included in this layer.

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​​Organizations Adopting MCN

​​Who’s using Multi cloud networking? ​​Based on the Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud report, which gathered insights from 750 participants consisting of influential cloud decision makers and users worldwide, it was found that 87% of respondents stated they had adopted a multi cloud approach. This indicates that the utilization of multiple cloud platforms has become the prevailing norm in enterprise cloud usage, with a significant majority of organizations employing two or more cloud services.

​​As the usage of multi cloud solutions has declined from 89% last year to 87% this year, there has been a minor trend towards using a single public cloud, according to the study respondents. On the other hand, compared to the prior year, there has been an increase in the usage of a single public cloud, going from 9% to 11%.

​​​Companies such as VM ware, HPE, Oracle, F5, Cisco, Nutanix, Cloudflare, Juniper, Citrix, Versa networks, etc, are dominating the Multi cloud network market.

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​​How To Connect To Multi Cloud Networking

​​In the MCN survey conducted among enterprise end users, an in-depth analysis of the main factors that motivate the adoption of MCN technology was carried out. The key drivers identified were as follows: expanding multi cloud and hybrid cloud options (69%), integrating data centers with public cloud infrastructure (69%), enhancing the performance of distributed applications (65%), and effectively managing security policies and visibility (61%).


​​​What measures will be taken to achieve these goals? ​​The MCN strategy for establishing connections across different clouds includes an extensive range of network virtualization, integration, and application-layer technologies that are tailored to particular use cases. These use cases will be supported by distinct technology components that enable MCN technologies. These enabling technologies must effectively operate throughout the entire networking stack, starting from the physical infrastructure (Layer 0–1), networking layers 2–3, and higher application layers (Layer 4–7 or above)


​​How Do You Manage And Secure Multi Cloud Networking?

Managing multi cloud connections provides you with some options. You can;

  • Use Access Control Lists (ACLs) to efficiently control access permissions for particular IP addresses within each Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
  • Create unique VPN gateways for each VPC and provide users with the required login information.
  • Utilize platform-specific solutions provided by various cloud providers, such as VPC peering in AWS, to connect two VPCs.
  • Consolidate user traffic and route it back to the corporate headquarters by establishing connectivity between all VPCs and a central location, such as the corporate headquarters.

These methods will only be applied to a small number of cloud entities as it can be a problem for large-scale deployments.


  • You can get rid of intricacy by using a single point of management: Meta Network as a Service (NaaS) provides an alternate method of building a wide connection between various clouds. It enables speedy connection deployment and effective connection management to a range of clouds and data centers. A secure tunnel is created between each VPC, the users, and the Meta Networks overlay to do this. To link cloud entities in this configuration, a simple and dependable MetaPort gateway is used. Users can choose to connect through a VPN client to gain full network access, supporting native applications. Alternatively, they can choose a browser-based connection, which does not require any additional agents. For each cloud, you can create particular access policies based on identities for its applications, services, or subnetworks. When trying to synchronize policies across many products and locations, the Admin console acts as a centralized management platform for all policy definitions, simplifying the process and lowering the possibility of configuration errors.

  • API-based automation of workflows and cross-cloud connection: By utilizing the Meta API, your DevOps team can facilitate and automate various network workflows associated with cloud environments. This includes tasks such as defining policies, dynamically assigning access, configuring routing rules, and more, etc.

Multi Cloud is the Way to Go

Multi cloud networking aims to address the difficulty of managing multiple clouds by providing cloud networking solutions. Businesses can attain a host of benefits by leveraging multiple clouds, including increased flexibility and avoiding vendor lock, higher performance, enhanced disaster recovery, and contingency plans.


As the significance and practicality of the multi cloud approach increase, it is essential to create a reference design for multi cloud networking to guarantee consistent and scalable cloud infrastructures. With multi cloud networking architecture, you can attain the consistency, security, and scalability required to expand your multi cloud approach.