Multi Cloud Network Architecture

Building Networking Skills in the age of the Cloud

Multi Cloud Network Architecture

4 SD-WAN Business Requirements driving Multi-Cloud Networking

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

I’ve been thinking about this connection quite a bit recently.

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) became a huge buzzword in enterprise networking a few years ago, fixing a problem that not every enterprise knew they had.

I would argue that the key drivers that SD-WAN addressed are inherently driving the need for a solution to the challenges of deploying business services across multiple clouds, i.e., the need for Multi-Cloud Networking.

Once again, a problem not every enterprise knows they have.

Think about it

Pre-SD-WAN euphoria (2015), Service Providers offered standardized, cookie-cutter global managed MPLS services that offered route management, segmentation, a certain level of QoS if you paid for it, and a relative level of operational responsibility.

This appealed to large enterprises as they had more flexibility and performance compared to their old Frame Relay and X.25 networks (and, yes, I’m old enough to have configured DLCI’s and wrestled with getting OSPF to run on top).

Refer to the exhibit. The command “show frame-relay pvc 101” has been  issued on Frame Relay Switch “FRSW”, what is true about its result?  <div><img  src=""  /></div ...

It was enough until it wasn’t

Suddenly, enterprises realized they needed more:

  • 1. Service Flexibility
    • They wanted to choose the best service in the best region for the business requirements at hand.
  • 2. Security and Compliance
    • They needed to control the compliance and security aspects of using a shared infrastructure
  • 3. Flexibility in operator interoperability
    • They wanted to mix and match connectivity providers without penalizing service availability and performance
  • 4. More granular traffic policies
    • They wanted to be in control of how traffic moves in the network and align it to business policies and gain visibility
  • 5. Lower operational overhead
    • They needed standardized skillets and standardized toolsets

Until SD-WAN came along, all this was managed with duct tape and scissors.

Or, more precisely, a complex DMVPN overlay, doubling up on physical devices, over-complicated designs, complex route redistribution policies, and nightmare change windows.

Configuring Dynamic Multipoint VPN and Zone Based Firewall

SD-WAN greatly simplified these challenges.

I see the same challenges today in the Cloud.

CSPs offer all the tools you need to build an enterprise-grade network and security infrastructure.

But you have to build and architect it.

You also have to build it specific to the CSP you’re dealing with. Moving to a new CSP implies new skills, a new design, and new test and validation prerequisites, not to mention the new operational overhead.

Once again, infrastructure engineers are stocking up on duct tape.

Premium Photo | Piece of green paper sticky tape isolated on white  background

What we need is amazingly close to what we identified above for SD-WAN:

  • Service Flexibility
    • We want to choose the best CSP for the business challenge we are facing
  • Security and Compliance
    • We want to deploy consistent enterprise standard security and compliance solutions
  • Flexibility in operator interoperability
    • We want to interconnect CSPs seamlessly and securely
  • More granular traffic policies
    • We want centralized traffic policies and complete visibility
  • Lower operational overhead
    • Standardized skill sets and standardized toolsets

CSP native constructs are enough until they aren’t. However, by the time you realize it, it may be too late.

Share if you liked it
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

20 year veteran of the networking industry currently specialising in Cloud Networking and Security.

CCIE #16661 (R&S, SP)


I am currently an employee of Aviatrix. All opinions, views and statements are my own and do not reflect that of my employer. Any errors are mine and mine alone. Any ignorance is mine, though I do believe my parents and the public school system should shoulder some of that blame. 

Recent Posts