How to Mitigate Multi-Cloud Networking Complexity

Feb 22, 2023 1:08:03 PM

This is a sponsored blog post.

With most companies now operating in multiple cloud providers, network and security complexity are increasing. For instance, 96% of multi-cloud enterprises are using more than one networking vendor across their cloud estates, according to new research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

An end-to-end multi-cloud networking solution can mitigate this complexity, but many IT organizations are reluctant to rip and replace the network technologies they already deployed. Instead, they will try to minimize disruption by using an end-to-end networking solution that can integrate with and manage the incumbent technologies in their multi-cloud networks.

Multi-Cloud Networks are Multi-Vendor

Cloud networks evolved organically. Most enterprises began with one strategic cloud provider that served as a bit of a walled garden. IT organizations often relied on the proprietary networking and security solutions that cloud provider offered natively (e.g., VPNs, load balancers, firewalls, transit routing) to build out their solutions.

As enterprises moved toward multi-cloud, this organic approach persisted. They would build out architecture in a second cloud by using that provider’s native networking solutions. Now, with most of today’s enterprises fully embracing multi-cloud, each cloud is based on a foundation of proprietary networking and security solutions unique to that provider’s environment.

In fact, 56% of multi-cloud enterprises believe that the networking solutions their cloud providers natively offer are important parts of their multi-cloud networks, according EMA’s new research, which Nefeli Networks cosponsored.

Multi-Vendor Networks Drive Complexity

In our research, EMA asked multi-cloud networking stakeholders to identify their biggest sources of pain in their multi-cloud networks. The number-one response was “complexity from using multiple cloud networking solutions” (37%).

This complexity is threatening the reliability and security of cloud infrastructure. For instance, only 13% of organizations can easily impose consistent ingress and egress controls across multiple cloud providers in their networks. Only 12% can easily implement consistent network security policies across clouds, and only 8% can easily implement consistent traffic routing across clouds.

Enterprises need to reduce this complexity by imposing a consistent approach to networking and security across cloud providers. In fact, our research found that 93% of multi-cloud organizations want an end-to-end, multi-cloud networking solution.

At the same time, they don’t want to rip and replace their existing solutions, whether those solutions are features their cloud providers offer natively or standalone incumbent solutions, like a firewall or load balancer. In fact, 52% of organizations told EMA that their multi-cloud networking solution must be able to program and manage the network functions that their cloud providers offer natively. EMA believes this is a best practice approach. Organizations that set this requirement were more likely to report to us that their overall multi-cloud networking strategy is successful.

An end-to-end networking solution that can integrate with existing cloud networking technology allows enterprises to impose consistent control and visibility across their multi-cloud estate without disrupting existing architecture. Such a solution will also allow organizations to work with best-of-breed vendors as needed. If a security team insists on using a leading next-generation firewall vendor in the cloud, the network team should be positioned to integrate its end-to-end multi-cloud networking solution with that firewall.

Nefeli Networks is an example of a multi-cloud networking solution provider that takes this open approach. While some alternative vendors prefer to install their own networking functions in your cloud, Nefeli will integrate with incumbent solutions and provide centralized management of those solutions, thus reducing complexity and improving overall operations. To learn more, visit

Shamus McGillicuddy

Written by Shamus McGillicuddy

Shamus is the vice president of research for EMA's network management practice. He has more than twelve years of experience in the IT industry as an analyst and journalist. Prior to joining EMA, Shamus was the news director for TechTarget's networking publications. He led the news team's coverage of all networking topics, from the infrastructure layer to the management layer. He has published hundreds of articles about network technology, and he was a founding editor of TechTarget's website, a leading resource for technical information and news on the software-defined networking industry.

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