A Network that Networks — Part 4: Expanding Globally with Alibaba Cloud
By Raghav K.
The global expansion of any business requires tremendous amounts of resources, effort, and team coordination. Careful consideration towards planning and deployment needs to be the key consideration for a successful expansion. In my previous post of this blog series, I focused on the strategies and considerations for a country-wide expansion of an organization. In this blog, I will showcase a multi-zone expansion scenario for your organization, and then discuss the move from multi-zone to a global expansion.
Typically, expansion is a result of the growth of a successful business, reflecting significant probability of a high-value profit and demand. For our hypothetical organization, let’s assume that it has laid out a foundation to implement smart and contactless co-working spaces. By using various Alibaba Cloud tools and services, the organization constructed a reliable and available service based on the Alibaba Cloud platform. Now this organization wants to roll out its access system across every coworking space it owns globally. Alibaba Cloud suite of networking products and solution can help with this expansion in multiple ways, with more than 67 areas deployed globally. Alibaba Cloud’s global presence helps organizations such as our hypothetical one to quickly expand to areas including Mainland China, Asia Pacific, Europe, Americas, and Australia.
Now, in order to move from a national expansion to a global one, we should first discuss the idea of a multi-zone expansion. For our organization, it needs to build a unified network to connect multiple coworking spaces across multiple regions. The organization has to provide a range of upgraded network solutions built around a central system, which needs to be constituted at the headquarter office to control and manage the entire system. This practice is highly tedious, especially if we are only considering a traditional on-premises approach.
Alibaba Cloud CEN — A Complete Network Platform Solution
Here we will discuss certain key points that will be the focus of the expansion strategy team. In particular, we will discuss how the Cloud Enterprise Network service can help our organization overcome the aforementioned challenges by simplifying the expansion.
Alibaba Cloud CEN provides the capability to establish private network connection between different Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) networks. These connections could be between VPC networks in different regions, or between on-premises data centers and VPC networks. To put it simply, Alibaba Cloud CEN enables organizations to build an enterprise level interconnected network that bears the capabilities like automatic route distribution, secure interconnection between network resources, and cross-network communication.
Alibaba Cloud CEN helps organizations address key concerns when going global, including security and compliance, network performance and latency, as well as costs and management complexity. In the following sections, we’ll show you how CEN helps our hypothetical organization overcome these challenges.
Security and Compliance
While working to establish a cross-region network, more considerations are needed to ensure the robustness of the organization’s security. Establishing a standalone infrastructure could take a long time and will put added expenses on organization expansion capital. Alibaba Cloud has a wide-variety of security products and solutions that can be deployed to match the kind of security practice required. Alibaba Cloud CEN integrates these security measures to protect the organization’s network from a range of threats, including DDoS attacks, crawlers and Bot attacks. All data is also transferred via an intranet for further protection. Whether it is Anti-DDoS service, Alibaba Cloud Firewall, or any other security solution by Alibaba Cloud, if there is a security solution requirement, Alibaba Cloud has one to offer.
Depending on which region you are deploying your solutions to, you also need to tailor your solution to meet the compliance demands of the particular region. Alibaba Cloud CEN — Cloud Enterprise Network, is the gateway that overcomes all the compliance demands. Especially when you wish to expand in Mainland China, Alibaba Cloud CEN proves to be a vital solution.
Infrastructure and Latency
Alibaba Cloud CEN provides low-latency and high speed network transmissions that enables global network communication. CEN offers far superior latency when compared with the latency of the public network. Alibaba Cloud CEN provides the capability of a global network to any organization as it scales up, covering multiple regions around the world. Users from around the world, will not have to face latency issues that could be the result of vast geographical distances.
Different regions have different infrastructures the organization will have to sync both with on-premise and cloud-based servers. Alibaba Cloud CEN takes away this problem too.
Cost and Deployment
The organization can set up a multi-region networking environment by creating a CEN instance, adding network instances, purchasing a bandwidth package, and configuring a cross-region bandwidth. The solution has to cost-effective as a need to connect two data centers in the network could amount to huge VPN costs. Alibaba Cloud CEN will help reduce the cost by providing free connectivity between different data centers in the same region. Apart from cutting costs, it also makes it an ideal solution for distributed disaster recovery solutions.
Speed and Performance
Alibaba Cloud CEN provides ultra-fast speeds. It has powerful network capabilities that lets the organization perform tasks without delay. This inherent property makes it the prime choice to connect network systems world over. Alibaba Cloud CEN offers four and more redundant links between any two access points. If in case a link is interrupted, Alibaba Cloud CEN can ensure service continuity without network drop or fluctuation.
Alibaba Cloud CEN dynamically detects available links and chooses the shortest path. Multiple access points are deployed in multiple regions around the world to facilitate global access to Alibaba Cloud. This enables the traffic to travel through a responsive network. The shortest-path algorithm of CEN recognizes efficient connections between local data centers and the Alibaba Cloud network resources and makes a choice depending on the least-travel time method.
Scalability and Interconnection
Organization going in for expansion has the option to customize its CEN bandwidth package, and allocate bandwidth resources to multiple regions depending on requirements. CEN can scale the bandwidth to its needs at any time.
All network instances that are attached to Alibaba Cloud CEN can talk to each other making intercommunication between any two network instances as swift as possible. Its global network infrastructure bypasses the internet to improve the quality of service. Alibaba Cloud CEN uses the shortest path to quickly connect local data centers with the Alibaba Cloud network. Alibaba Cloud CEN makes sure to authenticate the IP address ranges of the connected networks to bypass any conflicts between the IP address ranges.
Possibly one of the most frequently overlooked aspect of a global deployment is efficient management of the entire network. With services such as Alibaba Cloud CEN, you can save significant amount of time and resources by having a centralized management, regardless of where you choose to deploy your services. CEN is centrally managed by a global CEN controller, and this global CEN controller functions as the brain of the network. It is used to manage the VPC and other resources added at a regional level.
With systematic network monitoring, Alibaba Cloud CEN can automatically detect any route conflicts caused by any system changes and can make sure to maintain the stability of the network. Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud CEN enables the organization to bypass the need for manual configuration of routing system as CEN automatically realizes the multi-node adaptive routing forwarding and distribution through controllers. This is adaptive routing technique that further improves the network performance.
Business Expansion — Core Values
Business expansion and especially when the expansion is purely technological, or based on a technology-based product that offers an application-based experience or requires user interaction, has to be taken up hands on. There are multiple modules that come to work together for an immersive experience.
When expanding to a national scale, the limitations are lesser then when expanding to a global scale as different regions have different security and compliance requirements. There are also various network and technical requirements that need proper resolution for any organization to start and continue to operate.
It is obvious that as you expand, your requirements also expand. The bigger the user base, the more managed system your organization will require. Business expansion requires meticulous planning and orchestration of resources. Meeting these demands and setting up practices that entice the entire business practice to achieve a chain of processes is the utmost priority. In this particular case, the organization required the resources and management to achieve a global expansion scenario for their contactless co-working access system.
Alibaba Cloud CEN provides the necessary practices to make sure that this expansion co-aligns with the core business value of the organization. Seamless experience and highly-managed backend platform are the two things that can make it possible for any organization to sustain during and after expansion.