Imagine a world without bridges… Cloud computing is not much different!

Recently I did a webcast with Intel where we focused on two areas:

  1. Cloud On-Boarding
  2. Cloud Bridging

During this webcast, Citrix and Intel covered these key topics around cloud computing:

  • Move applications and application components to a cloud without the need to re-architect any portion of the application stack
  • Dramatically reduce cost and complexity of moving to the cloud
  • Extend and secure access to applications hosted in the cloud

Let’s focus on Cloud Bridge for the moment:

So I was driving to work this morning and got thinking: each morning we get into a car, drive down a street, a highway or in some cases take public transportation.  At some point in your commute there is a river or you need to pass over another road and at this point, imagine the world without bridges.  If there were no bridges, you cannot get from point A to point B reliably.

Bridges on the way to work each day perform two simple functions:

Connects point A to point B so that whatever crosses it can traverse reliably and without interruption.

Does not care what crosses from point A to point B.

Now, let's consider this: What if the Florida Keys were never connected via a bridge or what if the Golden Gate or the Bay Bridges were never built?  These big bridges serve a big purpose.

A network bridge is very similar to the bridges we drive across every day.  Network bridging allows you to connect multiple network segments at the Layer 2 level (network A to network B).  Bridging is very simple where it does not require an IP address and does not care what traffic crosses it.  In most use-cases, bridging is typically leveraged in a LAN scenario.  Think of the datacenter and the cloud this way, a big gap that needs a big bridge.  Let's take this a step further and consider things like security, location and performance and that is where OpenCloud Bridge is more than just a bridge!

Remember, migration to the cloud is not just about the application.  We need to consider three core things:

Network/Security Transparency

Let's simplify network transparency a bit and think about when building a bridge, you need a way to transport traffic (asphalt) but also a way to secure it (guard rails).  Image bridges with a road but no guard rails to keep cars secured.  A network bridge is very similar; you can establish a network bridge with and without security.  A network tunnel is great for transporting traffic but lacks security. Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is great for securing traffic but does not always allow all traffic to flow across the bridge.  Combining these two protocols will ensure the bridge is secured and will allow for adequate traffic flow.  Network bridging makes the entire hybrid cloud appear as one contiguous network.  A Layer 2 tunnel provides a routable connection between datacenters, while an IPSec VPN tunnel is used to ensure the connection is secured.  In summary, by combining a network bridge with the security of IPSec, OpenCloud Bridge enables seamless network connectivity from the datacenter across to the cloud enabling a true hybrid cloud.

Location Transparency

When you cross a bridge, do you worry about how to get to the other side?  Of course you do not!  You just drive and know that you will get to the other side.  When migrating applications to the cloud, should access to those applications be as seamless as possible?  I don't know about you, but I think it should!  When combining Citrix® NetScaler® with OpenCloud Bridge, Netscaler® provides a consistent, seamless end-user access to cloud-based services no matter where within the hybrid cloud they're hosted.  Citrix® NetScaler® ensures that end-users access applications the same way, even as workloads are moved around within hybrid clouds.

What if the bridge is being repair or closed?  Typically there is a detour route in place where you can still get from point A to point B.  Like a detour, in the event of network or datacenter outages, NetScaler ® transparently redirects requests to available datacenters. Global server load balancing improves performance by routing user sessions to the closest or best performing datacenter that is available at any given time.  Site capacity global server load balancing transparently redirects user requests to the cloud or datacenter that is least busy in terms of concurrent connections, datacenter response time, packets handled or bandwidth consumed.

Performance Transparency

Finally imagine a bridge with only one lane or going from four lanes down to two lanes.  Traffic would get pretty snarled up and the bridge would become your primary bottleneck.  The more lanes on the bridge means a better traffic flow which in turn means a much faster commute (hopefully)!  Citrix® Branch Repeater™ addresses the high latency and low bandwidth of WAN links between datacenters WAN Optimization ensures reliable network performance across the hybrid cloud, even over severely congested networks.  Citrix® Branch Repeater™ provides breakthrough adaptive compression technology to reduce WAN bandwidth requirements. In turn, it reduces traffic for bandwidth hungry applications such as file transfers, software distribution, backups and data replication.

So again, imagine a world without bridges.  It would be pretty hard to get from point A to point B reliably and without interruption!  The Citrix OpenCloud Bridge solution increases interoperability between your on-premise datacenters and off-premise clouds.  This interoperability increases your flexibility, enabling more choice around what applications you can move to the cloud.  Since the OpenCloud Bridge solution supports multiple virtualization environments, you also have more choice in cloud providers, enabling you to drive down costs.  In short, OpenCloud Bridge is the big bridge to fill the big gap between your datacenter and the cloud!