Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Advantage of Dedicated Cloud Connections

The capital investment and staff cost savings offered by cloud services are encouraging small, medium and large companies alike to move their telephone and IT resources to the cloud. It’s been assumed that a simple broadband Internet connection will suffice for access. That’s turning out to be a disappointment in some cases.

Improve cloud performance with a dedicated connection...The notion that bandwidth is bandwidth is how we get in trouble specifying metro and wide area network connections. What makes the Internet attractive as a WAN service is that it is almost universally available and the cost is spread over millions, even billions of users. Savvy companies discovered long ago that you could get around the security issues by encrypting your data to create a VPN or Virtual Private Network. The VPN gives you a private tunnel through a public network.

VPNs work great to support remote workers and traveling employees who’s only way to connect with corporate headquarters is through a wired or wireless Internet service. They’re also good for linking multiple business locations, such as branch offices or franchises. With a VPN you can transfer sensitive financial and inventory files among dozens, hundreds or thousands of locations.

Note that we are talking about file transfers. The TCP/IP network protocol was made for this application. All you do is launch the transfer and TCP will ensure that all the packets that make up the file will get from point A to point B intact. If something goes awry and a packet is corrupted, it is automatically resent.

Remember that the Internet was designed for universal access and to be self-healing in the face of equipment failure or line breaks. While TCP/IP is making sure that files are being accurately transfered, the Internet itself is making sure that there is a path available from point A to point B no matter what. While you can expect to transfer data, voice or video files over the Internet, you can’t really expect that this is going to happen without hiccups or in any minimal amount of time. Packets may or may not be lost and require a resend. The path may change from packet to packet. The latency or time delay from source to destination can vary all over the place, or jitter.

The result of this is that real time performance of Internet connections is highly variable. This is no big deal for data file transfers. The time to transfer may vary by milliseconds or seconds for each file. Time sensitive data streams like audio and video need some extra help in the form of buffering. You compensate for unknowable transmission rate variations by filling up a buffer with packets and then clocking them out at a constant rate.

Buffering works great for one-way downloads, but creates havoc for real-time video or audio streams. That includes telephone calls and video conferencing. You can’t have much of a buffer or the latency increases to the point where you can’t talk and listen at the same time. There is a noticeable delay, fractions of a second or longer, that make two-way communication painful at best. Lost packets from iffy Internet connections add distortion that blurs your video and garbles your audio.

The same Internet that seems fast and responsive when searching for information on Google can be maddening when trying to calm down an angry customer on a VoIP phone call that is breaking up. Automated business processes that worked fine over the LAN when the data center was in-house all of a sudden become sluggish in the cloud. It’s not that the cloud isn’t just as good or better than local resources, it’s that you need a better connection.

What you want is a dedicated connection between you and your cloud provider. Level 3 Communications is now offering dedicated connections to Amazon Web Services (AWS) running in Equinix data centers to meet the demand from larger corporations. Dedicated connections include Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet MPLS and Wavelength services. T1 lines are also suitable for smaller companies, although Ethernet over Copper may be a lower cost option and offer more bandwidth for the money.

A dedicated connection ensures that you have steady guaranteed bandwidth plus low latency, jitter and packet loss. Security is also improved because access is limited, not publicly available. A well engineered dedicated connection is just like a very long LAN that includes your locations and your service provider.

Are you disappointed with the performance of your cloud services or concerned that quality will suffer if you move from a local data center to the cloud? All you may need to get things working to your satisfaction is a high quality dedicated cloud connection. Why put up with all that aggravation when dedicated connection prices are lower than they’ve ever been? Check prices and availability of dedicated cloud connection bandwidth you need to support your critical applications.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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