Cloud Connectivity Overview
PacketFabric cloud connections are private, high-capacity connections between you and a cloud service provider (CSP).
Hybrid cloud environments
A hybrid cloud environment uses a public cloud (e.g. Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform) as an extension of your private cloud (an on-premises server/network).
For example, you might have an on-premises database, but use a cloud-based computing resource to process that data (or vice versa).
The challenge now becomes how to move data between your private and public cloud environments. One solution is to use the public internet (or a VPN over the public internet). Unfortunately, this can magnify weaknesses of the public internet such as unpredictable availability, limited and unpredictable throughput, high latency, and so on.
If you’re moving a lot of data, a better solution is to use a private layer 2 connection between clouds:
The benefits of using these connectivity services are numerous:
- Lower costs
- High, predictable availability
- High, predictable throughput
- Low latency
- Better security without requiring the overhead of a VPN
Cloud service providers (CSPs)
A cloud service provider is a company that provides public cloud services. PacketFabric is partnered with the following CSPs:
- Amazon Web Services: AWS Direct Connect
- Google Cloud: Google Cloud Interconnect
- Microsoft Azure: ExpressRoute
- IBM Cloud: IBM Direct Link
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: FastConnect
- Salesforce: Salesforce Express Connect
A “cloud on-ramp” is a colocation facility (typically a data center) that houses CSP edge devices. These are places in which, if granted permission by the cloud provider, you can set up a direct physical connection to their network.
Basically, this is where you can “plug in” to the cloud.
Generally speaking, there are two ways you can build these types of connections to a public cloud:
You have equipment in the on-ramp facility AND your equipment meets the requirements set by the CSP.
You can connect to a cloud partner (e.g. PacketFabric) that is already set up to reach the CSP edge, who can then extend that private connection to wherever you are.
In order to build these connections, PacketFabric typically has to meet a set of criteria set by the CSP. This can include hardware and diversity requirements.
The service demarcation for both Hosted and Dedicated connections are the same. The service demarcation points are at the virtual interface on the ingress port and termination point of outbound cross connect to the cloud from the egress port.
How it works
Step 1: Provision an access port and connect your on-premises environment to PacketFabric.
This is your fundamental entry into the PacketFabric network, and is the only place in which we require a physical component from you (the cross connect that runs between your equipment and ours).
For more information, see Create a Port.
Step 2: Decide how you want to connect to the cloud.
We can help you reach a public cloud in primarily two ways: Hosted connections (a cross connect is already in place) and Dedicated connections (we install a cross connect to be used specifically by you).
For more information , see Hosted vs. Dedicated Connections.
Step 3: Use our API or portal to provision the connection, and accept/verify that connection from the cloud side.
In the case of Hosted connections, this takes a matter of minutes. Dedicated connections require an LOA from the CSP, which can take several days. Once provided, PacketFabric works with the colocation facility to put the cross connect in place.
All connections require some action from the cloud side. In a very basic sense, this comes in two parts: accept the connection from PacketFabric, and extend the connection your virtual cloud environment. The steps and requirements are different depending on the CSP.
Step 4: Set up BGP over the connection.
PacketFabric provides the connection over which the BGP session communicates, but our routers are not part of the session. This is set up between your on-premises environment and the CSP. Follow their instructions as appropriate.
Other PacketFabric cloud services
You can use PacketFabric services to interact with public clouds in a variety or ways, including:
- Cloud Router: Manage connections between different cloud environments (e.g. route traffic from Google Cloud to AWS).
- Marketplace-to-cloud: You can use marketplace virtual circuits to connect marketplace users directly to the cloud. This is especially useful for SaaS providers and customers.