Multi Cloud Network Architecture

Building Networking Skills in the age of the Cloud

Multi Cloud Network Architecture

The Cloud Skills Gap Challenge

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What a challenge the past few years have been. We are going through a sanitary crisis, supply chain crisis, the energy crisis in Europe, and it just seems we can’t get enough of what we need in order to meet our objectives.

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To add to this, I’ve seen first-hand over the past few weeks that we as an industry (IT) are suffering from a Cloud skills crisis also. Specifically, Cloud Networking and Security skills.

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Three weeks ago, I joined the number one Secure Cloud Networking company in the world.

What an amazing few weeks that has been. I’ve had a chance to meet some amazingly clever colleagues and feel first-hand the unspoken challenge:

Cloud Networking is Hard!

Here’s why:

Learning how to do things in one cloud most likely won’t help you in another

Sure, they all have a concept of VPC or VNET. They all have subnets and route tables. And as long as you only have a handful to manage, you’ll do fine.

The complexity comes with the Cloud Native Constructs that tie things together. Don’t get me wrong – they are powerful. But they are all different, and they are all complex. And they all have limitations.

What got you here, won’t get you there

Over 20 years I’ve done a lot of trainings. Learned some cool things. Did some tough certs. But very little of this actually translates into Cloud Networking. Sure, it’s great to understand IP at a deep level. How route tables work. BGP. But in the end:

It’s networking, Jim, but not as we know it.

I’m simply observing that a mindset shift needs to take place in order to leverage CORRECTLY the on-prem networking and security skill sets for the cloud.

Some people manage to do this well and some fight it all the way.

Someone else is doing your job

If you were in charge of on-prem networking, you can be sure that not a single VLAN got assigned without going through you. Not a single IP Address got allocated that you didn’t know about.

But all that’s changed.

Someone else is doing your job in the Cloud. Someone is allocating RFC 1918 addresses like they’re globally unique. Someone is spinning up VPCs like they’re VLANs.

And it all works, until it doesn’t. Or until you need to connect them together. Or until you need to segment them. Or until you need to inspect them. But, that’s a problem for tomorrow. And, most likely will get punted to you.

Finally, so what?

Maybe you’re wondering what this post is all about.

I’m simply saying this stuff is hard. But it doesn’t have to be impossible.

And it sure doesn’t have to be a mesh of bespoke architectures with no common operational approach.

What does success look like:

A common Secure Cloud Network architecture across all clouds, building a repeatable architecture that your team needs to learn once. Aviatrix abstracts the complex cloud native constructs and presents a common infrastructure control and data plane.
Leverage Infrastructure as Code with tools such as Terraform and automate where possible. Eliminate human error where possible. Aviatrix have their own Terraform provider.
Reduce the skills gap. Look for specific training for Secure Cloud Networking: shameless plug here for my own company:
Visibility is your friend. A single solution to manage and operate your Multi-Cloud infrastructure will be key to business success.

So, if you are having issues due to knowledge gaps, skill gaps, resourcing, you are not alone. It’s an industry phenomenon. However, you can make your life easier by adopting coherent architectures, which greatly reduce complexity and give yourself the tools you need to do your job well.

We can help. And remember, if you don’t have the answer, just say Kubernetes.

Thanks for reading.

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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. 

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