When it comes to technology, there are many companies on the “bleeding edge” these days. Sometimes these companies achieve greatness by being visionary, producing products or services that others haven’t thought of, or investing heavily in R&D. But they all have one thing in common: They use the latest high-tech, innovative solutions to power their journeys.
When it comes to the underlying infrastructure powering a technology-oriented company, “cutting edge” means success. Sites and services need to perform, be reliable, be resilient, and have the flexibility to expand and contract based on the ebb and flow of day-to-day business. For me, that means cloud infrastructure is the best solution for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve.
Over the past few months, GoGrid has released a variety of services and features designed to give companies a leg up on the competition. It’s all centered on providing cloud infrastructure that’s flexible, yet forward-thinking. It’s much more than simply needing faster and bigger clouds—it’s about architecting our cloud solutions to provide customers with a highly available and distributed set of infrastructure components. And it’s architected according to software-defined networking (SDN) concepts.
SDN architecture isn’t focused on internetworked commodity hardware or new ways to provide networking services. It’s designed to distribute a variety of formerly hardware-based solutions across nodes, data centers, and clouds. When you think about “old school” infrastructure architecture, you probably think of physical devices. And if you think about one device, you really need to think about two, for redundancy and backup. If your hardware load balancer or firewall fails, you have to be sure you have a warm or hot standby available to immediately take its place. That requires time and money. And if you want to be cutting edge, you don’t want to be spending your precious time and money planning for the inevitable. You want to be innovating and iterating.
That’s where SDN is truly powerful and why many of the leading technology companies are adopting solutions that use it. With SDN, you can build in fault tolerance and redundancy. Take our recently released Dynamic Load Balancers as an example. Instead of relying on a single hardware device for routing traffic between available servers, our Dynamic Load Balancers are distributed and highly available across our Public Cloud. If one of the Dynamic Load Balancers fails, another instance, complete with configurations, is spawned immediately elsewhere thanks to our self-healing design. And these load-balancing services can be controlled programmatically via our API.
This month we announced another service that operates in the same distributed manner, our Firewall Service. Although many companies choose to use Cisco ASAs as a security front end for their cloud and physical infrastructure environments (an offering we also provide), these are physical devices that require management. However, our SDN architecture lets us provide more resilient and creative solutions. Like our Dynamic Load Balancers, our Firewall Service is built around SDN concepts and distributed across nodes and our data centers. When you create a security group (that has policies assigned to it), it’s automatically replicated across all our data centers within seconds. If you have distributed infrastructure, you can simply assign a security group to any similarly configured Cloud Server, regardless of that server’s location. If you subsequently change a policy, it’s automatically synchronized to all servers across all data centers that are part of that security group. In other words, you configure once, assign the security group to the server(s), and then watch the SDN magic happen.