Take Me to the Clouds – The Importance of Connectivity in the Era of the Cloud

According to a report by IDC, 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending by 2020 will be on cloud. Businesses are becoming more and more dependent on cloud infrastructure and it is now no longer a niche, early-adopter paradigm, but is mainstream.
From SMEs using Office365 or GSuite, to massive banking and professional services workloads running in the cloud, right through to entire businesses and apps being built on AWS, cloud infrastructure is underpinning technology use today and into the future.
Mainstream adoption of clound platforms is set to increase further

A few short years ago, a CIO or IT manager would have scoffed at the idea of shutting down the trusty ProLiants in the cramped comms room, in favour of using “someone else’s computer” as the joke went. Now, entire businesses exist on these unseen and mysterious server farms, owned by strangers.


Mainstream adoption of cloud infrastructure means that workloads now run on sites that are far away from the end users. Even the corporate HQ can now be seen as a “remote office”. Connectivity is the vein through which the lifeblood of the business – data – flows, from office to data centre (whether using private colo’d servers or a public cloud like AWS, Google or Azure).

Businesses are spending large proportions of their technology budgets on cloud platforms. This brings savings around capex and depreciation (guards against obsolescence too) but moves a lot of the spend into opex, in terms of per-user licencing or volume licencing. Huge amounts are being spent on the core service, by paying subscriptions to the cloud providers.

Novatelecom Point to point link
Novatelecom Point to point link

There are two huge risks to business continuity that are often ignored when designing and procuring a cloud solution (or just slipping into one by default when moving to Office365, then maybe some other cloud versions of established software – there isn’t always a “grand plan”). These risks are:

  1. Poor performance caused by insufficient bandwidth As businesses move more and more to cloud-based applications, IT managers or CIOs must ensure that they are able to scale the capacity of their WAN or internet links to handle this increased traffic. It is better of course to plan ahead than to suffer a period of intense user complaints after the fact, while waiting for a circuit upgrade. Cloud applications typically use TCP-based connection protocols, which absolutely need sufficient bandwidth to run in an uncongested manner. Congestion on internet or WAN links leads to increased latency, jitter and packet-loss, which absolutely kill TCP performance. This translates into incomplete transactions, timeouts, lag and overall user frustration. Users will complain that the rollout of the cloud application has been a disaster and will blame the application itself, where often the issue lies with congested links and poor TCP performance. Look for high quality DIA (Dedicated Internet Access) circuits with bearers that are capable of being scaled. If you can allocate the budget, fibre optic links (as opposed to copper/VDSL) or high quality point-to-point microwave links will provide the best solution, with an option to scale bandwidth as your cloud adoption grows. Employ good QOS and traffic management practices to ensure that “cat videos” don’t congest your line-of-business apps.
  2. Lack of a diversity link, leading to huge business impact in an outage situation What would happen in your business if the connectivity to the outside world went dark all of a sudden? Online banking, cloud apps, email, database access, communications with suppliers, customers, your phones, all dark? For a day, two days, five days? The impact on the business would be unthinkable and all eyes would be on the CIO/IT manager. With such critical infrastructure dependent completely on outside connectivity, it is absolutely essential to have at least one diversity link, which MUST be over a different physical platform to the primary link. Most business firewalls will allow automatic failover in the event of an outage on the main link and if not, then a manual changeover should at least be possible. If your primary link is fibre optic (FTTB) based, go for microwave or VDSL as a backup. If it is VDSL, go for fixed wireless or 4G. There is no point in getting a VDSL line from Eir as your primary and from Vodafone as your diversity, as they both use the same Openeir platform/cables/cabinets/exchanges. We will cover diversity (and how to identify truly diverse services) in another article

Your business spends money running workload on “someone else’s computer” – the cloud. You must ensure that you have sufficient bandwidth and redundancy to maintain the uptime that your users demand. Nova Telecom is happy to have a no-obligation chat to advise you about the best ways to proceed.

According to a report by IDC, 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending by 2020 will be on cloud. Businesses are becoming more and more dependent on cloud infrastructure and it is now no longer a niche, early-adopter paradigm, but is mainstream.

A few short years ago, a CIO or IT manager would have scoffed at the idea of shutting down the trusty ProLiants in the cramped comms room, in favour of using “someone else’s computer” as the joke went. Now, entire businesses exist on these unseen and mysterious server farms, owned by strangers.

Businesses are taking two huge risks when moving critical workloads to the cloud: (1) Insufficient WAN bandwidth will cause congestion and kill TCP app performance, leading to user complaints around the cloud deployment. (2) Not having a diversity link will cause the entire business to grind to a halt in a comms outage.

What would happen in your business if the connectivity to the outside world went dark all of a sudden? Online banking, cloud apps, email, database access, communications with suppliers, customers, your phones, all dark? For a day, two days, five days? The impact on the business would be unthinkable and all eyes would be on the CIO/IT manager. Having at least one diversity link to the outside world is essential.