Network Cloud: A Short Introduction

Network clouds allow internet-enabled organizations to set up their own network infrastructure without having to procure any hardware. With a network cloud provisioned from a reputable vendor, you can benefit from substantial cost savings and offload the task of managing your network from your IT staff. Moreover, you can scale your network on demand, without being tied to any one vendor.

What Is a Network Cloud, and How Did It Develop?

Since traditional networks rely, for the most part, on proprietary hardware, they can be costly to set up. This is especially true when your network requirements expand.

Also known as Network as a Service (NaaS), a network cloud is similar to consumption-based models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). When an organization deploys a network cloud, it contracts the services of a third-party provider offering cloud-based network services.

Network clouds trace their origins to the advent of software-defined networking (SDN) and other technologies such as network function virtualization in the early 2000s. Based on these ground-breaking principles, providers designed an abstraction layer, or a hypervisor, to run network functions on top of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. With the hypervisor, COTS hardware was pooled together into network clouds that vendors then provided to their clients for a fee.

Thus, clients get to have their own networks, even if they don’t have any actual network infrastructure deployed on-premises. Providers are in charge of deploying and maintaining the network cloud on behalf of the client, with the only requirement being internet connectivity.

Desirable Network Cloud Characteristics

An optimal network cloud has the following distinguishing characteristics:

Network Cloud Benefits

A network cloud’s characteristics drive the benefits that can be derived from its use. These benefits include:

Popular Network Cloud Providers

The network cloud market exceeded $5 billion in 2018. It is forecasted to reach $10.4 billion by the end of 2021.

The gamut of network cloud providers ranges from major cloud players such as Amazon and Rackspace to telephony companies such as AT&T, Level 3 Communications and Verizon. Providers that specialize in network clouds for enterprise networks include Akamai, Cloudflare, Cisco and Palo Alto Networks.

Given the large number of network cloud providers, when selecting a vendor, make sure that the services they are offering are a close fit to your requirements.

Parallels RAS Supports High Availability Load Balancing Out of the Box

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) allows organizations to optimize available server resources, maximize throughput and minimize response times through High Availability Load Balancing (HALB). HALB distributes data traffic among remote desktop servers and gateways with resource-based distribution (user sessions, memory and CPU). Third-party load balancers, such as AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and Azure Load Balancers, are also supported.

With resource-based load balancing, Parallels RAS distributes traffic between servers dynamically and reconnects disconnected servers automatically to ensure that no data is lost when a connection gets broken. On the other hand, round-robin load balancing means it uses a rotational mechanism to load balance network connections, for example, connecting an incoming request to the first available server, then another request to the next server, and so on.

Moreover, you can use the Parallels RAS RDSH template to dynamically scale your Remote Desktop Session Hosts (RDSHs) up or down by creating or removing RDSH servers on demand. This capability means less effort in reducing excess traffic within your network.

Download the trial to see how you can implement load balancing in your environment using Parallels RAS.