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Cloud-managed DDI: Optimising networking at the Edge

Cloud-managed DDI: Optimising networking at the Edge

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For many organisations, cloud-managed DDI provides a more flexible, agile and cost-effective complement to on-premises, server-based DDI solutions. Ali Sleiman, Technical Director, Middle East and Africa (MEA), Infoblox, explains why cloud-managed DDI matters when optimising networking at the Edge.

In a cloud-first world, the nexus of activity is no longer in your data centre, it’s at the network edge. The hub and spoke way of networking cannot keep up with the soaring demand for direct-to-cloud access at the Edge. Unfortunately, many organisations are still relying on siloed hardware that locally manages DNS, DHCP and IP address management (collectively known as DDI) individually for each site. Why does that matter? Because fast, reliable DDI services are essential to all modern networking, including the cloud. Consequently, the ‘local hardware’ management of core DDI services creates a host of problems, including higher costs, higher latency, manual errors, slower performance, security gaps and no local survivability.

Your organisation wants to embrace the cloud and all its benefits-yet you need a simpler, more reliable way to manage your network, devices, apps and services across all locations.

Enter cloud-managed DDI

By moving the management plane for DDI from the appliance to the cloud, it enables you to centrally manage your borderless enterprise and with far greater elasticity, reliability, security and automation than traditional on-premises DDI solutions provide. Plus, cloud-managed DDI reduces latency by ensuring that traffic from all locations connects directly to the cloud through the closest point of presence (PoP). As a result, critical cloud-based apps like Microsoft Office 365 run faster. With today’s rapidly expanding distributed workforce, getting secure access to cloud apps and data as if working from headquarters is a game changer for your employees-and your network management team.

What does cloud-managed DDI look like?

DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP address management) services play a central role in every network interaction. They are what keep your enterprise network running. They’re involved in all of your digital business workflows, services, applications and data-regardless of location. DDI unifies the management and automation of these services so your network is always on and runs efficiently as it scales to new users and devices.

For many organisations, cloud-managed DDI provides a more flexible, agile and cost-effective complement to on-premises, server-based DDI solutions. By using lighter virtual or physical appliances at each remote location, core services can be centrally managed in the cloud. No more local configuring of appliances or complex on-site service provisioning. With cloud-managed DDI, you get the benefit of full DDI visibility, automation and reliability, but with lower hardware and operating costs, fewer errors and total control. This opens the door to building a faster, more reliable network experience for users at the Edge who want instant access to cloud apps, and a more controlled and efficient management experience for IT pros in the network operations centre.

Centralising Control of the Edge

Cloud-managed DDI offers a bridge that allows organisations to integrate core network services, bringing DNS, DHCP and IPAM together on a unified platform. By replacing siloed on-prem DNS and DHCP controllers with cloud-native technology, organisations can take a huge step toward Digital Transformation through integrated DDI services they can centrally manage in the cloud across all locations, ensuring better branch performance, faster access to cloud-based applications and higher availability.

Increasing agility at the Edge

For some borderless enterprises, fully-featured, enterprise-grade DDI services are not needed in all of its branches or remote sites. For example, an organisation may already have a DNS service that meets all its needs in every location, but it wants to deploy only DHCP or IP address management services in small regional offices. Similarly, it may wish to expand DDI capabilities in some branches but not others.

Just as common, especially for enterprises that are undergoing Digital Transformation, it’s important to have the flexibility to roll out DDI capabilities incrementally. They may wish to upgrade DHCP in the near term while keeping their current IP address management solution. They need a DDI solution that protects them from over-provisioning services in remote sites that may go unused for some time yet.

Cloud-based DDI provides the flexibility and agility for enterprises to achieve the right size DDI implementation for every location.

Simplifying application access at the Edge

For the borderless enterprise, with growing numbers of remote workers and branch locations, simple, reliable access to mission-critical applications at the network edge is paramount. This requires organisations to move away from traditional MPLS architectures. Backhauling network traffic through the data centre creates severe latency and bottlenecks for end-users in branch offices and remote sites, preventing them from moving at the speed of business. Modernising with more agile cloud access to applications like Microsoft Office 365 requires a different infrastructure. One where DDI services can be delivered and managed centrally via the cloud and where traffic from remote locations can connect directly to the closest local PoPs in the cloud without the backhaul bottleneck.

Boosting survivability at the Edge

Application latency is not the only downside to traditional backhauling of DNS and DHCP through a headquarters data centre. Backhauling also puts Business Continuity at risk for branch offices and remote sites because backhauling does not provide local survivability for DNS and DHCP services. If the link to headquarters goes down, because of a power outage or natural disaster, remote locations are not able to reach the central data centre for DNS and DHCP resolution. As a result, they lose access to the Internet and cloud-based apps.

To ensure always-on networking for all locations, remote and branch offices need the ability to maintain DDI services locally.

Scaling at the Edge

Typically, core DDI services like DHCP are managed by hardware routers or servers located at each site. A large enterprise may have hundreds of these throughout its borderless operations. These on-premises devices are often resource-intensive, error prone, cumbersome and hard to scale. In addition, they provide no easy way to monitor and manage multiple locations.

For cloud-born businesses, cloud-managed DDI makes it simple to eliminate resource-heavy physical appliances in branch and remote offices. Instead, lightweight devices or virtual appliances can be deployed in all locations, which enables DDI to be centrally managed in the cloud across all sites.

To sum up, traditional networking architecture is no longer effective for managing the explosion of workflow at the Edge. Cloud-managed DDI is a great modern networking solution for the borderless enterprise.

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