The cloud is everywhere. We all have access to online software products whose nuts and bolts live in external data centers, even if it’s just a search engine that we use. Yet it seems like only a moment ago that the daily grind involved bulky hardware, tripping over wires, and waiting for the engineers to visit. IT networking was about cables and switches, boxes and towers, heavy lifting and manual restarts, and keeping server rooms and management cool.
Then cloud companies sprang up offering to virtualize our on-premises IT services and move them to the cloud, including our network infrastructure. Since then, networking in the cloud has made what was once a manual and often stressful business, a reasonably trivial user interface experience.
Cloud networking simplifies and economizes small to very large network infrastructures. It provides solutions for the most basic requirements to vast network architectures. Alibaba Cloud has everything you need to run your successful online business in the cloud. Alibaba Cloud offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) solutions that include flexible network and subnet setups, load balancing, VPN and the NAT Gateway, network security, dedicated support, and much more.
Computer networks connect people to people, people to services, and machines to machines. Like people, network servers have addresses that allow them to communicate with each other. Server IP addresses are numerical labels mapped to website addresses (URLs) by domain name system (DNS) servers.
Virtual cloud networks are the same, except the processing is done at enormous data centers around the world and the low-level details of how it happens are irrelevant to the end user, who may or may not be a network administrator.
Alibaba Cloud simplifies setting up and managing IT infrastructure in the cloud. What may have once taken months and thousands of hours and vast teams to develop and implement can now be achieved at your desk in a few days or even hours.
Let’s look at a simple example of an Alibaba Cloud VPC. The image below shows a small company’s VPC infrastructure. They are running a few ECS server instances in the cloud. These are Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances. ‘Elastic’ means the server can be reconfigured at any time and you can have your servers grow or diminish in memory or processing power whenever you like.
The user clicks through to a public Internet IP address and the request goes to the router. The network administrator has configured an Alibaba Cloud NAT Gateway on the router which translates (or NATs) public IPs to the private subnet IPs in the VPC and routes the request to the correct ECS instance. Every Alibaba Cloud VPC comes with one configurable router and you can add as many switches and servers as you need.
As your business and online traffic grows, you might want to build another Alibaba Cloud VPC in another region to help with load balancing. You can connect them with an Alibaba Cloud VPN Gateway. These provide secure and reliable transfer tunnels for traffic flowing between private networks. Alibaba Cloud VPN Gateway is an out-of-the-box service designed for easy configuration and immediate function.
You can also manage your peak throughput with Alibaba Cloud’s substantially stress-tested Server Load Balancer. A server load balancer ensures high availability to applications which may experience sudden spikes in traffic such as a busy e-commerce site might on the 11-11 Global Shopping Festival or Black Friday, for example.
The Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer guarantees up to 99.9% availability and redistributes traffic automatically across all available regions. It will auto-scale up or down, depending on the load. It monitors and detects unhealthy ECS instances and immediately reroutes the traffic to healthy instances. It also protects your network from SYN flood and DDoS attacks. Like your ECS instances, Alibaba Cloud offers a Pay-As-You-Go model for Server Load Balancer and is up to 60% more cost-effective when compared to traditional load balancers.
If you are worried about network reliability, Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer is built to cope with extreme levels of high volume traffic. Each year in November, the Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer is put to the test during Alibaba’s annual 11-11 Global Shopping Festival, now four times bigger than Black Friday in the U.S. Alibaba relies on Server Load Balancer to provide uninterrupted shopper access by switching requests between data centers and transferring transactions to healthy and available servers in regions located up to over 1,000 kilometers away.
In the case of server failure, the public IP address never changes and the user is protected from backend performance issues. Server Load Balancer also has a host of configuration and algorithm options making your network design simple and flexible.
Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud offers you the freedom to architect your own cloud solution that can be as big and as detailed as you wish. If you start small and your business grows, scaling up is a matter of just a few clicks inside the Alibaba Cloud user console.
Along with cloud networking products and services, Alibaba Cloud offers Domain Name System (DNS) servers, Content Delivery Network (CDN) for speedy delivery of your images and caches, and web application firewall (WAF) for protecting your sites from online attacks.
Alibaba Cloud’s products don’t stop there either. Out-of-the-box Big Data processing solutions that maximize ROI on the data lakes created by your growing VPC networks are also available. E-MapReduce, MaxCompute and DataWorks are examples of Alibaba Cloud products that offer massive offline data processing, analysis, and mining capabilities.
So if you’re considering moving all or part of your IT network infrastructure to the cloud, and are looking for a simple and cost-effective solution with a wide range of Big Data possibilities as well as dedicated support, click here to explore more Alibaba Cloud products.
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