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Networking Unplugged

Perspectives on cloud networking and software-defined WANs

Posted February 03, 2014
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What is Cloud Networking?

In the past decade we’ve seen the concept of ‘cloud’ sweep across the business landscape, transforming what used to be prohibitive IT costs of hardware, configuration and maintenance, and democratizing enterprise functionality for the average business and consumer.

In the past few years, we’ve started to see the same phenomenon transform the IT business network landscape. Today’s increase in worker mobility and mobile devices has spurred a need for a new way to network – hence the birth of ‘cloud networking.’ In this article, I’ll explain what cloud networking is, and how it’s shaping the future of IT. 

Cloud Networking Defined

Cloud networking is a paradigm shift away from traditional networking with hardware VPN boxes, required configuration, hefty forklift upgrades and long-term contracts, and towards a new way to network in the cloud. Let me explain.

Cloud networking shares many of the same benefits as other cloud-based IT services, things like fast deployment, easy administration, and of course no new hardware, software updates or annual maintenance. And because it’s a service, cloud networking is often handled as a pay-as-you-grow subscription pricing and anywhere access via an Internet connection. By bringing enterprise-level functionality to any size business, cloud networking is positioned to democratize enterprise-class networks. 

Two Main Types of Cloud Networking

There are two main types of cloud networking today: Cloud-Enabled Networking (CEN) and Cloud-Based Networking (CBN). The first puts management and certain control features like policy definition in the cloud, but the connectivity and packet-mode functions like addressing, routing, switching and security services are still handled with local hardware. Meraki and Aerohive, for example, both offer wireless LAN hardware that uses this approach to simplify the management aspect of networking.

CBN on the other hand puts management, network data handling, and network service functions into the cloud and eliminates any local hardware other than what you need for an Internet connection. The network, and network functions, are all virtual. This category includes Pertino and Aryaka and is often referred to as Networking-as-a-Service (NaaS). 

Benefits of Cloud Networking

For small to medium sized businesses, cloud networking promises many benefits. Just think about it -- small businesses are strapped for time and money, and cloud networking makes each a non-issue. Networks used to take weeks, or even months, to plan, configure and deploy-- and setting up a Pertino cloud network takes minutes. Without hardware, upgrades, maintenance and long-term service contracts, cloud networking is incredibly affordable and agile. Cloud networking removes to complexity from networking, freeing up time and budget to handle other IT challenges.

(Check out this Slideshare on the benefits of cloud networking)

Want to see cloud networking in action for yourself? Create a Pertino network for yourself in minutes, and see what all the fuss is about. 



Larry Stein

Larry Stein

Director, Marketing

This is Larry’s fifth startup over the past 15 years, during which he navigated two IPOs and two acquisitions. Before Pertino, Larry served tours of service with Ameritech and data communications training.

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