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A focus on network connectivity use cases in the cloud

Enterprises today have a very broad mix of networks — from SD-WANs, dedicated WANs such as MPLS, cloud interconnects, to VPNs. At the same time, they’re moving those WANs to the cloud to take advantage of faster turn-up, lower cost, and increased feature velocity. As workloads migrate to the cloud and multi-cloud environments, we believe that it’s critical to simplify enterprises’ networking model.

Each major cloud provider uses distinct abstraction models to configure networks or connections between your resources. Some use gateways, some use connections or links. Network Connectivity Center, launched last year, provides a simple management solution for your network connection, and is now Generally Available. 

In this post, we outline the typical connectivity use cases for customers to help you select and set up the best connectivity option for your environment.

Understanding cloud network connectivity

Cloud networking refers to the ability to connect two resources together inside a cloud, across clouds and with on-premises data centers. A cloud provider needs to provide three main types of connectivity:

Site-to-cloud – Between on-premises equipment and cloud resourcesSite-to-site – To connect on-premises resources togetherVPC-to-VPC – Connectivity between cloud resources

Let’s take a look at each one. 

Site-to-cloud connectivity

Site-to-cloud connectivity traditionally is done via a cloud interconnect or a cloud VPN. The automatic exchange of routes between on-premises and multiple VPCs can be done using a transit VPC

A newer approach is to add cloud providers into an SD-WAN mesh using a router virtual appliance in Google Cloud. Network Connectivity Center brings the capacity to synchronize the appliance routes dynamically via BGP to Cloud Router and hence their VPCs. It enables connectivity between on-premises data centers and branch offices and their cloud workloads via SD-WAN-enabled connectivity. This capability is available globally across all 29+ Google Cloud regions. Several of our partners also support this capability in their router appliances.

Site-to-site connectivity

Site-to-site connectivity enables network connectivity directly between two or more hybrid connection points (VPN, Interconnect or SD-WAN). Network Connectivity Center simplifies this model by automating the routing announcements in this environment, such that all sites connected to a single global Network Connectivity Center hub are able to communicate freely in any-any fashion. You can see an example of this for a specific market vertical use case in a recent blog, Voice trading in the cloud — digital transformation of private wires.

VPC-to-VPC connectivity 

You can create a full or partial mesh of VPC connections using multiple technologies, with VPC peering being the most common. VPC peering provides highly performant, low latency, private connectivity for customer networks connected via hybrid connectivity and Network Connectivity Center to multiple VPCs containing workloads, which can be segmented via granular firewall policies as needed. Alternatively, you can use a transit VPC model to connect multiple VPCs together in a hub and spoke topology.

With tight integration with third-party router appliances as mentioned earlier, you can also leverage their third-party supported solutions such as next-generation firewalls to connect your VPCs together to meet specific compliance and segmentation requirements. Network Connectivity Center allows you to synchronize the routing tables of these appliances with your VPC’s routing table, simplifying the process of setting up redundant configurations.

What’s next for cloud networking connectivity in Google Cloud? 

As enterprises continue to migrate different types of workloads to public cloud providers, networking topologies are becoming more complex. In summary, we have solutions for all connectivity needs. We aim to keep our models and solutions understandable and simple. Over time, look for Network Connectivity Center to become Google Cloud’s single point of configuration for all your connectivity needs, with capabilities to handle the most complex network.

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