Secure Multi-Cloud Networking: The Key to Hybrid, Multi-Cloud, and Edge Success

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Mike Rau
Published March 21, 2023
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In today's modern cloud era, businesses are increasingly relying on hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge architectures, making connectivity and security more important than ever. F5’s latest State of Application Strategy Report revealed that 85% of organizations operate multiple application architectures and locations. Many of our customers have accelerated their transformation journeys, and their application portfolios consist of both traditional and cloud-forward modern applications—which create multiple challenges to ensure that their entire application real estate is always available, secure, and performant.

While network connectivity between clouds is essential, it does not address the growing need for secure connectivity between workloads and microservices that span multiple clouds and remote edge sites. Although network firewall services can be integrated with cloud networks using service chaining, they are complex to operate and only secure the underlying network, disregarding security for the actual workloads and applications that reside in these distributed environments.

F5 is uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive solution for secure multi-cloud networking that connects both cloud locations and the actual applications that reside in them. Today we’re excited to announce the availability of two new offerings in the F5 Distributed Cloud Services portfolio: Distributed Cloud Network Connect and Distributed Cloud App Connect.

Distributed Cloud Network Connect provides layer 3/4 services that enable secure network connectivity between multiple cloud locations, across different cloud providers, and to edge sites. It achieves this with automated provisioning and orchestration of cloud-native tooling, eliminating the need for multi-cloud domain expertise and streamlining operations. With rich observability capabilities, Distributed Cloud Network Connect helps administrators quickly identify and resolve potentially disruptive network issues. It also enhances network security by supporting Palo Alto Networks network firewall service insertion and intent-based micro-segmentation. This allows customers to define granular policies based on specific intent instead of relying on IP address identifiers.

Distributed Cloud App Connect offers layer 7 services that allow for secure app-to-app connectivity between VM-based apps and Kubernetes (K8s) clustered microservices across different clouds and edge locations. It provides fine-grained control over advertised apps and API endpoints and distributes cloud security services to the location where apps reside, without exposing the underlying network, thus reducing security risks. Furthermore, it includes advanced networking services like load balancing, ingress/egress control, and end-to-end visibility, minimizing the need for additional tooling to support distributed deployments. Distributed Cloud App Connect can be deployed directly into the K8s cluster, enabling ingress and egress controls, and extending the security and services of the platform to any K8s cluster in any cloud.

Distributed Cloud App Connect’s observability feature offers operational benefits as it enables app owners to visualize their applications with an integrated service mesh. This provides a comprehensive view of all traffic from the user to the application, including communication between microservices. Additionally, statistics and dashboards provide a detailed view of traffic at the individual session level, which helps in assessing overall application health.

F5’s approach to multi-cloud networking enhances security by providing end-to-end private connectivity across its global private backbone, which reduces the risks of sending sensitive information over the public internet. F5’s web app and API protection (WAAP) services offer advanced workload protection for apps deployed across multiple cloud and edge sites with a click of a button. The advantage of this over cloud-native security tools is that it delivers a common security policy that can be applied across all clouds, ensuring consistent security policies and the ability to respond quickly to security vulnerabilities across the entire application estate. Customers trust F5 to deliver enterprise-grade security and industry-leading support, helping them safeguard their digital assets and infrastructure.

We’re excited about the road ahead as we help our customers solve real-world problems in multi-cloud networking, where multi-layer security is transparently integrated and delivered across every connected site.

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