November 18, 2019 By Ryan Sumner 5 min read

How network communication works when transferring data in and out of the cloud.

In this lightboarding video, I’m excited to give you guys an overview of the basics of data transfer in and out of the cloud. I’ll go over network communication and connectivity, with a focus on data privacy, size, and speed.

When transferring data over the Internet, you have very little control over the way the data transfers. You can’t create SLAs around the quality of service across the Internet because a lot of those things are outside of your control. This means that a lot of enterprises are starting to shift their thought process into a private connectivity pattern.

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Video Transcript

Data Transfer Explained

Hi, I’m Ryan Sumner, and I’m with the IBM Cloud team. Today, we’re going to talk about data transfer—in and out of the cloud. 

Data transfer means a lot to different people, but to me, I focus on the connectivity or the network communication that occurs when transferring data in and out of the cloud. 

Data transfer as a road trip

To really focus in on that, I like to use the metaphor of a road trip.

For a road trip, you really focus in on what you’re gonna be taking on your trip, right? Where you’re going to go, how much stuff you’re gonna need to take with you. You start to think about the arrival time, when you need to get there. 

The route you’re gonna take, which helps you define really the departure time, and then, you know, the risks and the other kind of add-ons that you might want during that trip—how many stops you might want to take. And then you might actually start reiterating over that process as you’re thinking about your road trip.

Data privacy, size, and speed

Network communication and connectivity are very similar to that. You really start to think about some of the risks associated with the trip you’re taking, because you’re concerned about data privacy, right? 

You start to think about how much data you need to transfer, right? So the size of that data. 

You also start to think about how long is it going to take, which helps understand how much throughput or how much speed do I really need to make this trip successful.

Network hops

So, as we take this trip across the internet—or a public trip—we start down the road, and we hit these hops. These are called network hops. 

Each one of these hops actually caused a change in the direction of our traffic, because it’s an intersection point on the internet for traffic to continue to go in another direction or traffic to eventually get to our destination that we’re very interested in.

So, as we’re going along we actually have very little control over how our data transfers from our enterprise to the cloud if it’s 100% internet-based because there might be outages somewhere across the internet that we have no control over. 

So where we thought we might be going this way.

We actually might get deferred in this general direction, which, for our case, might actually be a faster trip.

Private connectivity

But back to the point—you have very little control over the way the data transfers, the quality of services, as we like to call it in the industry, is fairly erratic. You can’t create SLAs around the quality of service across the internet because a lot of those things are outside of your control.

So a lot of enterprises start to shift their thought process into a private connectivity pattern. So, if we refer back to our roadtrip analogy, you’re now really creating a dedicated point-to-point connectivity or point-to-point trip or road to get from your enterprise to the cloud.

Benefits of a private connection

So again, where are some of these what are some of the benefits here that we can start to appreciate here if we think about security, right? So now I may not necessarily need to encrypt my data because now I have a private communication between my enterprise and the cloud, and I don’t have eavesdroppers. 

I have a little bit better control around the quality of service because I’m really dealing with myself, a network provider, and my cloud provider to get me from point A to point B.  

I now have more direct control over the number of hops that I have to go through which will affect my latency and will affect my speed. And so now I can actually dictate and put specific controls over exactly how much bandwidth or how large of a road do I need to build between my enterprise and the cloud.

So all these things start to really make sense if you really break it down and do simple math and think about simple risks and tie them back to my metaphor—really you can simplify the challenges of data transfer and network connectivity to the cloud.

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