This blog post will discuss Hybrid Cloud Latency, namely:

  • What is Cloud Latency?
  • The Impacts of Latency on Cloud Performance
  • How to Improve Latency in Hybrid Clouds
  • How Silk Optimizes Data Infrastructure and Cloud Latency

 Hybrid Cloud Latency

Companies are increasingly building complex, multi-cloud deployments. These include hybrid cloud environments – consisting of both public and private clouds – combined with on-premises data centers. Data storage and application hosting are often split between these different environments to balance factors such as privacy, security, cost, and scalability.

In a hybrid cloud environment, network latency and bandwidth are significant concerns. If applications in one environment communicate with databases in another, the speed of data transfer can dramatically impact application performance.

 What is Cloud Latency?

Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to move from its source to its destination across a network. While it always takes time for data to move from point A to point B, this latency depends on the length and capacity of the network links connecting the two sites.

As multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments have become more common, the term cloud latency was created to describe latency between systems within a multi-cloud environment.

The Impacts of Network Latency on Hybrid Cloud Performance

Network latency is created by a number of factors, including the distance that data has to travel and the bandwidth of the network links along this path. It makes sense that, if data needs to travel a longer path or is flowing over congested network links, then it will take longer to reach its destination. The longer that data takes to move over the network, the lower the “true” bandwidth of the network link and the performance of the applications relying on this data.

Cloud service providers try to optimize performance for their customers; however, there is only so much that they can do with geographically distributed data centers. For example, Microsoft has published data on latency between Seattle and Azure regions around the world. Between Seattle and the West US 2 Azure location in California (a distance of about 120 mi), traffic has a latency of 5 ms. This latency value gets as high as 74 ms for Azure locations in the US alone and 202 ms internationally. This cloud latency can really hurt the bandwidth of the network links; 5 ms of latency reduces a 10 Gbps link to 3.74 Gbps.

These numbers are for communications between data centers from a single cloud service provider. With multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments, cross-cloud network traffic and traffic to and from on-prem data centers is likely less optimized and have much higher latency and lower bandwidth.

For many business applications, every millisecond of latency has a significant impact on performance and efficiency. You can measure network latency across your environment for yourself using iPerf.

How to Improve Latency in Hybrid Cloud Environments

Most organizations can’t force their cloud services providers to take steps to minimize cross-cloud network latency. However, companies do have a few options for improving network latency in multi-cloud environments, including:

  • Improve Proximity: Distance is the main cause of network latency, so minimizing the distance that data has to travel can have a dramatic impact on the performance of multi-cloud environments. By minimizing the distance data has to travel between on-prem data centers and cloud environments, an organization can decrease the impacts of latency on application performance.
  • Establish Private Connections: Network routing on the public Internet is “best effort”, which isn’t always very good. Also, links can easily become congested or fail. Establishing private, optimized links between cloud environments and on-prem data centers can help to solve these problems and decrease an organization’s cloud latency.
  • Cache Data Locally: Having data near to an application eliminates the need to send this data over the network. Caching data locally – either on-prem or in the cloud – can reduce or eliminate latency.
  • Rearrange Data Storage: A more efficient alternative to local data caching is to rearrange data storage entirely. Locating databases alongside the applications that use them can create a more efficient and high-performance IT architecture.

While cloud latency can be decreased in various ways, some of these techniques are easier to perform and more cost-effective than others.

Improving Hybrid Cloud Performance with Silk

For many organizations, architectural considerations have a dramatic impact on their ability to manage their cloud latency. If data is stored in formats specific to a particular cloud services provider, then it may not be feasible to rearrange data to meet the needs of the applications that use it. Applications must either remotely access data over the network or be located alongside it on platforms that are not well-suited to them.

The Silk platform provides a third option by offering platform-agnostic data management. Silk abstracts away the details of the environment where data is stored, allowing data to be managed identically anywhere within a multi-cloud environment. This infrastructure abstraction makes it much easier to implement data caching or rearrange databases to meet the evolving needs of the business. Additionally, Silk offers data features like deduplication and data replication that are often unavailable in cloud environments.

Cloud latency hurts application performance and the efficiency of the business. You’re welcome to request a free demo to learn how the Silk platform can reduce latency and optimize data management in multi-cloud environments.