IT modernisation series – Megaport: Why networks should be more like Spotify

Unlike digital-first organisations, traditional businesses have a wealth of enterprise applications built up over decades, many of which continue to run core business processes. 

In this series of articles we investigate how organisations are approaching the modernisation, replatforming and migration of legacy applications and related data services. 

We look at the tools and technologies available encompassing aspects of change management and the use of APIs and containerisation (and more) to make legacy functionality and data available to cloud-native applications.

This post is written by Vincent English in his role as CEO of Megaport — the company is known for its work in Networking-as-a-Service (NaaS) software.

English writes as follows…

We’re in the middle of a global, digital arms race. By the end of this year, 83% of enterprise workloads will run in the cloud. The message has been received loud and clear by organisations: digitise or die.

But what about the network infrastructure underneath?

Network strategies are critical to enabling robust, reliable connectivity between different services and environments. Yet, they’re all too often overlooked in digital transformation plans. You can’t capitalise on the cloud without an efficient way of connecting to it.

The race to the cloud

IT modernisation can mean many things, but most efforts are centred around adopting digital technologies to improve processes, find efficiencies and foster innovation. Many have and are doing this by moving their core processes to the cloud, though in different ways.

By following a hybrid cloud approach, companies can create an infrastructure that fits their exact specifications rather than conforming to a single out-of-the-box solution. Others are going down the multi-cloud route, spreading their key workloads across a range of providers for the best possible performance.

Regardless of the approach that a company takes to digitisation, connectivity is key. All cloud models need consistently performing and flexible connectivity between the environments that comprise them. Crucially, this means having the capabilities to set up, shut down and re-establish connectivity on a whim, rapidly.

However, setting up a network connection has traditionally been a long and laborious process. Connecting to cloud services via traditional point-to-point circuits is protracted and cumbersome, wasting precious time for the business. Moreover, it can tie organisations to long-term contracts that can dictate things like length and minimum capacity spend. Similarly, public Internet connections do not offer the secure, low-latency performance required by many.

Cross connects can resolve these issues, but long lead times and the inflexibility of dedicated connections make integration challenging, especially when you’re trying to integrate data from many different providers. You achieve the cloud model you want, but only after much pain and by forfeiting most of its benefits.

On-demand networking

Hybrid and multi-cloud ecosystems need a private, direct, and flexible solution to support business needs as they change across multiple cloud and on-premises environments. Yet current networking approaches make this an uphill struggle.

It’s clear organisations need a new approach to connectivity. But where should they look for inspiration?

Spotify has transformed the music industry. Once a user has downloaded the app, people can simply point, click and listen to whatever music they desire. The experience is slick and, most importantly, fast. Songs can be chosen, skipped and switched with minimal latency and at the whim of the consumer.

This level of flexibility can be achieved in connectivity, but only with a software-defined approach to networking. Instead of relying on physical connectors or the public Internet to link to the cloud, everything is mediated through a software layer that connects your full infrastructure.

A Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform, such as this, greatly simplifies the process of creating and provisioning hybrid and multicloud networks. Whether you’re transferring one workload to another cloud or want to scale down capacity when traffic is low, you can do this in minutes. Organisations benefit from the stability and speed of cross-connects, alongside the flexibility and rapid provisioning of virtualised networking.

With an unprecedented number of new technologies entering the workplace, businesses have to be more agile than ever. With a software-defined network, accessing a new Cloud Services Provider (CSP) or scaling capacity becomes as easy as streaming your favourite song or podcast. Spotify (and similar streaming and media services) has changed the way we listen to music and consume media forever, now imagine how the IT world will be transformed when connecting to the cloud is just a few clicks away.

Megaport’s English: It’s time to make a new connection on connectivity.


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Data Management