To reap the potential benefits of a cloud-centric framework, organisations both large and small have rushed to the hyperscalers and adopted a cloud-first strategy to digitise their operations.

They’ve built at pace – moving more applications to the cloud and closing down data centres – encouraged by benefits realised early on, writes Bertrandt Delport, country host at BT South Africa.

Despite these initial ‘wins’ for many organisations, these have eventually been overshadowed by a more complex, and in many cases, more expensive “bill-shock” network environment. In rushing to the cloud and moving their data, most companies underestimated the massive egress costs for moving data back out of the hyperscaler cloud environment.

To get back on track to achieving the benefits of a cloud-centric setup, a new approach to connectivity is needed. In fact, around 87% of executives say that adopting big data, IoT, and AI will require a new kind of network to meet and adapt to these needs.

The question is no longer “…should an organisation opt for public or private cloud?,” but has instead turned into “…how can organisations determine where best to place their applications?” to go with “…how do they connect these distributed workloads together in a secure, resilient, flexible, and cost effective manner?”

The answer lies in a global network that provides a core set of principles to deliver the levels of service modern organisations need. A high capacity core that offers high bandwidth datacentre networking for seamless connectivity to both on-net and off-net clouds is needed.

In addition, performant connectivity for distributed workloads, a global footprint with direct peering, and a dense architecture built for resilience even under failure are also key. Physical and logical service diversity that removes the need for customers to buy multiple physical components and built in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for superior protection must also be incorporated. And, of course, sustainability must be a core principle.

The benefits of such a network includes:

* Application performance – high performance for business-critical apps

* Operational flexibility – achieve networking on demand

* Cost optimisation – improve overall total cost of ownership (TCO), with commercial flexibility, and optimised data egress costs

* Security and sovereignty – keep your network and data secure, while meeting current and anticipated data regulatory requirements in the future

* Sustainability – built into the network to help organisations deliver on and quantify their journey to net zero emissions

A great example of this is our recently launched Global Fabric; a global, cloud-centric core network, built based on a network-as-a-service (NaaS) technical and commercial model for a multi-cloud world.

Like the cloud itself, it is designed to be flexible, scalable (pay-as-you-use), secure and futureproofed. We also estimate that once fully rolled out, it will use 79% less electricity than our current global networks and that embodied emissions – those tied up in the devices themselves — will be reduced by 83%.

The journey to the cloud in order to realise the benefits promised by a cloud-centric ecosystem has been much harder to achieve than organisations had originally anticipated.

The solution is neither public or private, but a combination of the two – a distributed, hybrid model that allows organisations to adopt the optimal solution for each specific application or workload that fits both technically and financially. The enabler is a new way of connecting distributed workloads in a resilient, secure, frictionless manner.