Cisco Intercloud Fabric vs Microsoft ExpressRoute


June 26, 2016

Public and private cloud solutions offer many advantages to businesses, but a third model, the hybrid cloud, is becoming particularly attractive. In response, developers now offer products to make a hybrid cloud easier to achieve, but these solutions each have their own value and best practices. Understanding the differences between them is essential when pursuing a hybrid cloud deployment. Today, we’ll cover two leading options to connect to the hybrid cloud: Cisco Intercloud Fabric vs Microsoft ExpressRoute.


The Cloud Landscape: Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds

Organizations may access the public cloud through a professional cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Faction or others. In these clouds, equipment is shared among the multitude of clients hosting their applications and virtual machines (VMs) alongside each other. Alternatively, the organization may decide to build their own cloud data center and leverage what is called a private cloud with a completely designated infrastructure.

Between these two strategies is the hybrid cloud. Depending on your approach, a hybrid cloud could consist of an environment in which only some of the infrastructure is shared with other clients, or it could signal a dual environment in which a public cloud and on-prem data center work in conjunction through cloud bursting and other integrations.


Cisco Intercloud Fabric

Cisco Intercloud Fabric is available for two distinct audiences. A version of Intercloud is available for businesses seeking to establish a hybrid cloud, but a modified version is also available for cloud providers who wish to enable these capabilities for their clients.

The Intercloud Fabric solution itself is designed to provide flexibility. If a business wishes to permanently host some of its applications in the cloud, Intercloud provides an easy interface to do so. The true power of Intercloud Fabric, however, is its ability to migrate workloads to the cloud as needed.

Many businesses experience a peak season throughout the year. During that time, data generation and needs are going to spike. Instead of overprovisioning and deploying enough hardware to accommodate the spike (and letting that hardware inevitably go to waste the rest of the year), Intercloud Fabric enables the organization to access the cloud to supplement the on-prem environment through the busy season.

Intercloud can also be an attractive option for software development companies who require a significant resource investment to test and develop the product. The Intercloud can also be used as a disaster recovery strategy: by hosting a mirror image of the environment in the cloud, the environment can be preserved in the event of a disaster.


Microsoft ExpressRoute

Microsoft ExpressRoute works a little differently. Instead of a powerful and flexible connection to a cloud environment, ExpressRoute offers a superior connection to Microsoft’s public cloud, Azure. While at face value that sounds limiting, the advantages of connecting to a leading public cloud provider should not be understated.

Normally when utilizing Microsoft Azure, the organization must use the public internet. While Azure ensures the utmost security through encryption techniques, the public internet is subject to bandwidth issues and data bottlenecks. ExpressRoute establishes a private connection to the public cloud that is free from those concerns.

The private connection will therefore yield a far higher throughput and a far lower latency compared to public connections. From there, businesses can use their hybrid cloud in much the same way one would with Intercloud. It is ideal for software developers, disaster recovery, and storage.


Summing up Solutions

When looking at these two solutions side by side, each has their place depending on the environment in question. Intercloud’s wide compatibility with numerous different public clouds makes it perfect for an environment leveraging multiple public clouds or any cloud that is not Microsoft Azure.

If, however, the environment is connected to Microsoft Azure, ExpressRoute will optimize that connection in ways Intercloud simply cannot.

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For Further Reading:

An Intro to Cisco Intercloud and its Security Features

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