December 7, 2023 By Murali Gandluru 3 min read

Modern enterprises are powered by distributed software applications that need an always-on, secured, responsive and global, optimized access. A secured, hybrid cloud strategy is very important to deliver this application experience for internal and external users. Our vision for hybrid cloud is clear: to help clients accelerate positive business outcomes by building, deploying and managing applications and services anytime, anywhere.

Traditional CloudOps and DevOps models that involve manual workflows may not deliver the required application experience. IBM strongly believes it’s time for a new approach, one driven by the applications themselves. The new paradigm is to simplify hybrid and multicloud application delivery with secured, performant application-centric networking, to help increase application velocity and improve collaboration between IT teams.

Just as cloud can provide a virtual platform to consume underlying resources like compute and storage, app-centric connectivity offers a new network overlay focused on application and service endpoints connectivity. It’s totally abstracted from the underlying networks that provide physical connectivity, and hence is highly simplified.

How can application-centric connectivity help IT teams? For CloudOps teams, this approach helps achieve visibility and optimization. For DevOps, it helps achieve business agility. Both teams can benefit from better team collaboration with a common user experience (UX), custom topology views and the ability to manage and view SLOs and resource status.

The new network paradigm in action: IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh

IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh, a multicloud networking solution announced earlier this year, is now available. This new SaaS product is designed to allow organizations to establish simple, scalable secured application-centric connectivity. The product is also designed to be predictable with respect to latency, bandwidth and cost. It is engineered for both CloudOps and DevOps teams to seamlessly manage and scale network applications, including cloud-native ones running on Red Hat OpenShift.

You’ll find a seamless on-ramp for applications and services across heterogeneous other environments; for example, when combining Hybrid Cloud Mesh with DNS traffic steering capabilities of IBM NS1 Connect, a SaaS solution for content, services and application delivery to millions of users.

Architecture of IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh:

Two main architecture components are key to how the product is designed to work:

  • The Mesh Manager provides the centralized management and policy plane with observability.
  • Gateways implement the data plane of Hybrid Cloud Mesh and act as virtual routers and connectors. These are centrally managed through Mesh Manager and deployed both in the cloud and on customer premises. There are two types of gateways: 1) Edge Gateway, deployed near workloads for forwarding, security enforcement, load balancing, and telemetry data collection; and 2) Waypoint, deployed at Points of Presence (POPs) close to internet exchanges and colocation points for path, cost and topology optimization

Key features of IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh:

  • Continuous infrastructure and application discovery: Mesh Manager continuously discovers and updates multicloud deployment infrastructure, making the discovery of deployed applications and services an automated experience. Continuous discovery allows Mesh Manager to maintain awareness of changes in the cloud assets.
  • Seamless connectivity: DevOps or CloudOps can express their connectivity intent through the UI or CLI, and Mesh connects the specified workloads, regardless of their location.
  • Security: Built on the principles of zero-trust, Mesh allows communication based on user intent only. All gateways are signed, and threat surface is addressed since they can be configured only through Mesh Manager.
  • Observability: Mesh provides comprehensive monitoring through the Mesh Manager day0/day1 UI, offering details on deployment environments, gateways, services and connectivity metrics.
  • Traffic Engineering Capabilities: Leveraging waypoints, Hybrid Cloud Mesh is designed to optimize paths for cost, latency and bandwidth, to enhance application performance and security.
  • Integrated Workflows: DevOps, NetOps, SecOps and FinOps workflows unite in a symphony of collaboration, providing end-to-end application connectivity through a single, harmonious pane of glass. 

Take the next step with Hybrid Cloud Mesh

We are excited to showcase a tech preview of Hybrid Cloud Mesh supporting the use of Red Hat Service Interconnect gateways simplifying application connectivity and security across platforms, clusters and clouds. Red Hat Service Interconnect, announced 23 May 2023 at Red Hat Summit, creates connections between services, applications and workloads across hybrid necessary environments.

We’re just getting started on our journey building comprehensive hybrid multicloud automation solutions for the enterprise. Hybrid Cloud Mesh is not just a network solution; it’s engineered to be a transformative force that empowers businesses to derive maximum value from modern application architecture, enabling hybrid cloud adoption and revolutionizing how multicloud environments are utilized. We hope you join us on the journey.

Reimagine your networks from an application POV

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