Kentik - Network Observability
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Telemetry Now  |  Season 1 - Episode 2  |  November 29, 2022

Is moving everything to public cloud always the best choice?

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Not too long ago, it seemed everyone's plan was to lift and shift an entire data center's worth of workloads to the public cloud. Today, the industry is starting to rethink that strategy and be much more thoughtful as to what should go in the public cloud, why, and how. In this episode, Ted Turner, a cloud solutions architect at Kentik, joins Telemetry Now to talk about the changing narrative around moving everything to the public cloud.

Key Takeaways

  • [00:45 - 02:06] Meet Ted Turner
  • [02:07 - 04:10] Public cloud and the elephant in the room, cost savings
  • [04:15 - 06:35] Duped into thinking the cloud was cheaper, versus the utility today
  • [06:36 - 10:08] The complexity of the networking industry and costs associated
  • [10:10 - 12:51] Dropping costs dramatically. Express routes, direct connects, and more.
  • [12:52 - 13:59] Cost versus performance of cloud implementations
  • [13:59 - 15:23] Visibility essential for modern, effective migration strategies
  • [15:25 - 17:43] DNS and impacts on costs


This is telemetry now, and I'm your host Phil Gervasse. And with me today is Ted Turner, the cloud solutions architect with Kentech, and a, a veritable cornucopia of knowledge when it comes to public cloud, and the journey and struggles that many of us have gone through in recent years of trying to lift and shift from our own data centers into the public cloud. Now we'll be answering the question. Is the cloud first initiative that's been coming from many CIOs in TOs lately always the best path forward. We're gonna be talking about the real reality of just picking everything up and tossing it into AWS Azure or GCP. So let's get started.

Hey, Ted. Great to have you on today. I'm really looking forward to speaking to you. Before we get started, would you mind introducing yourself audience, a little bit of background about who you are.

I'm Ted Turner, cloud solutions architect over at Kentech. I've been in the business helping manage applications and networks for, close to twenty, thirty years now.

Twenty or thirty years on the business. Alright. Well, you certainly are a veteran then.

One of the things that I I do wanna say that I appreciate about you, Ted, having gotten to know you is, we we sort of have a very similar background in that we both started working with SMB at first, small and medium business, and then got into enterprise networking, and then bigger and bigger kind of global scale enterprise networks at some point. So that is a cool commonality that I appreciate about you. Now, I, I got back from a short camping trip in upstate New York recently, and, and I was very proud of that I'm kind of bragging about it on, on the work slack. And then, you know, Ted chimes in with a recent hiking trip that he did. So for for our audience. Where where did you go, Ted?

I was in South Korea and, Seoul Korea, and I was up on top of Nam Son. So, It says south mountain right there in the center of Seoul Korea.

Wow. That really sounds amazing, Ted.

I mean, I I do like taking the canoe up on some little pond in upstate, New York. But I will concede that you win this round. Okay? So I wanna jump right in here and and talk about kind of the elephant in the room about public cloud.

So I remember years and years ago, not that many years, but a few years ago, the big thing when leadership started talking about moving their data centers into public cloud was cost savings. Right? It was this idea that we are not gonna own anything anymore. We are gonna pick everything up put it into AWS or Azure whatever and, save tons of money and then all get huge end of your bonuses.

That's not exactly the case anymore, though, is it?

No. So I saw a a a case where we took our FAQs, and we had call centers taking phone calls answering questions all the time. And we loaded those out into AWS.

And all of a sudden the call center telephone traffic dried up. So I have seen huge cost savings materialize, but then you start to move the rest of your locations, not static content, and then that's where the rest of the conversation starts.

And by the rest of the conversation, you mean the conversation around which applications make sense to migrate into the cloud, because they'll perform better or because they'll be more accessible and a bit ly cheaper to run-in the cloud, but not always.

That's not true for probably ninety five to maybe ninety nine percent of your business.

What? I mean, ninety five to ninety nine percent of my business, that flies completely in the face of pretty much everything that we've heard about migrating all of my workloads to the cloud and saving a ton of money. I mean, that was the narrative and the main impetus that people started that process know, some years ago. Right?

So for the first three years, our mantra was we're gonna move to the cloud. We're gonna start to be faster We're gonna iterate, we're gonna be agile, and we're gonna save money. After the third year, management from the CEO on down, said, cost savings, take it off the board. That is not something we're gonna measure.

Yeah. You know, I remember having similar conversations about SD WAN ago. You know, when when SDN was brand new, two thousand sixteen, two thousand seventeen, one of the main drivers was cost savings. Get rid of your MPLS links and and some other kind of running over the internet and and getting rid of lease lines and private lines.

But, but soon after implementation started rolling out, the reality set in is you know, we're not gonna really save much money because a lot of the time we're keeping our MPLS or we're gonna we're we're locked into our MPLS because wonder contractor. Whatever other reason, it's just it's the same thing. Cost was taken off the board. But with regard to cloud, is it that we've been duped into thinking that going to the cloud was cheaper?

Or is it that the, the implementations are now more mature? And so we're seeing the reality of how cloud is being utilized today, which may be different than the way we thought it was gonna be used at first.

So the first part is when you go into the cloud, you can build it right. If it doesn't work, you can start from scratch and build it over again. That's the cool thing because most of the time you still have your data center. So where we came from, we're pushing boxes of software out the door back in the day. And so Walmart Office Depot Office Max, that software went out annually, and we didn't care because we didn't deliver software through the internet. Then two thousand ten, two thousand eleven came. The internet became a big thing, and our our backups would take three days to do a restore.

And so having that data replicate between, Plano and California was impossible to do with those same circuits that you were talking about, those MPLS circuits. It was just impossible. When we moved into the cloud, we could do those things.

So now when we're doing this high capacity, making sure that the customer data is backed up and in multiple regions, that starts to become a problem and that adds to your complexity. That adds to your cost. So just from that that basic premise, things that as your company grew, you didn't necessarily do in the data center before. Now you can do these things in the cloud. There's nothing fattering you, and you can actually do your well architected application, your well architected frameworks.

You can build it correctly, but when you do that, your incurring cost, costs that you avoided maybe in your data center before.

Alright. And so then it sounds like the nature of how industry is utilizing cloud technology has changed. It's not just lifting and shifting a VM into the cloud. And then running it from there, but it's, it's all the complexity of how those resources are consumed today, distributed applications, multi cloud containers, and also the inherent cost, high cost of getting to and from the cloud over the public internet.

But wouldn't you say that maybe some of that cost is worth it considering the incredible benefit that we have to availability, resiliency, and that sort of thing?

It is, but it's costing more.

But if you went and built that in your data center, you're gonna drive your data center costs up sky high. So now you can start to take a slice of your business at a time.

But you're not actually saving money, you're spending more.

Right. So I think I understand your line of reasoning. I'm gonna wander a little bit here of my explanation. So just bear with me. But Ultimately, what you're saying is that applications and service delivery are much more complex than they were years ago. They're more complex today, and there is an inherent cost to that, whether you're deploying and running stuff from on premises in your own data center or in the cloud. And so it's by virtue of the complexity and the way we consume that we have a high cost, not necessarily because cloud is just crazy expensive and we were duped.

Now, I guess that begs the question If our strategy needs to change because it the way we use applications necessitates that, assuming that we don't have an unlimited budget, How do we go about determining what we migrate to the cloud, which workloads, which applications, and how do we determine that from a cost perspective as well?

You're gonna have to take several attempts at this. This is kind of the the key learning as you're trying to put things into the cloud. Trying to take pieces of your application stack.

Whatever it is in your business, take something simple. Maybe identity management, maybe just document storage, something simple and start putting that onto out into the cloud, making sure it's secure, ready to go, and see where those costs start to pile up. There's a lot of ways to go out there and save money in the cloud, but those things that you're used to for your business, making it available for your staff, making it available for your customers, they may have to change some of what they do. So it may have been you're using a computer and you're when using Windows filing system and now you have to use a web browser to gain access to some files. There's a change that needs to occur there.

And so that incurs some costs because you've got some training. You've got people who are resistant. You know, people that wanna do things the old way. Why do they wanna, you know, do these newfangled methods?

So there's just a a lot of complexity in enabling that change, let alone when that data starts to hit, we just did a a cloud field day. And one of the customers had data writing from their data center out to a storage location in the cloud.

And when they move that same application from the cloud to the cloud, They're moving across the public internet, but still in the cloud. And they didn't realize that transferring data out of the cloud and then back into the cloud is expensive. And it was gonna cost close to a hundred thousand dollars a year simply because that migration from on prem to the cloud, they're thinking the same way, but it doesn't actually do the billing the same way.

So in that particular case, though, was it kind of the best choice, cost aside? Was it the best technical manner to move that data around? And therefore worth the hundred grand a year?

So in the cloud, you just don't move it across the public internet. You stay within the cloud provider. And they drop their costs dramatically close to ninety percent.

Okay. So there is a strategic way to move applications into the cloud and maybe drop that ninety nine percent of applications down to ninety five, ninety two. But you still have to be you have to be very strategic about it so that way you're identifying where you're incurring your cost And I correct me if I'm wrong because so far it sounds like a lot of the costs that you're gonna incur aren't necessarily like I spun up these know, these VMs or these containers, and I have a cost now, a monthly cost. It sounds like a lot of it is from the movement of of traffic of of packets and flows. Right?

You got it. It's it's storage storage of that data so that you can pull it up this week, next week, two months from now, as well as the transfer of that data.

So it sounds like the nature of the visibility that we need into our infrastructure and, and into the into the traffic that going to and from our resources has changed. I mean, there was a time when all I really cared about as far as visibility, was an up down status of of my servers, whether they were bare metal or or VMs, you know, was it pingable, accessible, and that was good enough? Maybe I cared about latency, a little bit and there was voice involved jitter, things like that. But ultimately, it was it was not much more than that. Whereas today, yes, we're concerned with that, but we're also very, very much concerned about how much traffic is going to specific cloud resources, in the context of cost, including how I get to those resources, right, the ingress and egress to to AWS and also the, the path that I take to get you know, when you consider the cost of transit networks. I think right?

You got it. There's the back end links into the back end. So you're express routes in your direct connects that can lower some of your costs. Anytime something's going over the public Internet, there's that premium of going into and out of your cloud provider. Okay.

So then how do we do that? Is it just collection of flows flow data?

It is. Collection of flow data, NSG flow logs in Azure, VPC flow logs in AWS, same similar in GCP. And you can see volumetrically what things look like, what that pathway is is going on the backside going across the a fiber path into your data center or into your campus, or is it going across the front CIDR? And things that are going across that front CIDR, across that public internet, are gonna be your biggest, you know, it's gonna push your costs up.

So we've wrapped this entire conversation of whether moving to the cloud for specific applications or all my applications. We we've been talking about this in the context of cost more than anything else. Is it cost effective today. And and really, we haven't looked at performance.

So I get that we can see how much traffic is going to what resource we can look flows, and we get a lot of network telemetry, that we can mine out of that. But, what what can we do as far as performance? I mean, is it wise move an application to the cloud in the context of of performance. Will we have the same end user experience, or will we have a degraded experience?

And therefore, maybe, maybe moving that application to the cloud is not the best choice.

You got it. Those flow logs will tell us how much, how much data was going into and out of that server. Yeah. But that's not gonna tell you what performance looks like.

So you're, you know, what that cost is gonna look like. Flow logs will help you. But perform it's wise, what that looks like for that end user, that staff member trying to access that web server, that's gonna be synthetic testing. So geographically from wherever your staff, your customers are coming from, and then testing against that web server that you're talking about.

So it sounds like in order to have a modern effective strategy for migrating applications and services to the cloud, or from cloud to cloud or from, you know, from the cloud to back on premises, we really need the visibility into, you know, from a volumetric standpoint, So we can see how much traffic is going where, and, that's a big contributor to cost. Right? We also need, the performance monitoring so we can know how effective, a perform or rather an application is performing from an end user's perspective in a particular cloud or in a particular or specific region. Right? Then we can determine whether it's better off in a different cloud or back on premises. And then, and and in that sense, we really need a holistic, approach to visibility to see both from a cost perspective, from a performance perspective, if it is viable and, and really the best choice to migrate applications and workloads to the cloud as opposed to just take it all and stick it into AWS.

You got it. That's that's why we're starting to call this stuff network observability. It's tying all the different pieces together from all the different areas. So those DNS requests How long is that taking?

That's, you know, gathering that webpage, that HTML page that's coming down and all of the graphics that come with that. How long did that take? What did the TCP connection take? Tying all those things together with the flows helps you start to understand holistically, what does that customer experience look like?

Yeah. I can't believe I didn't think of mentioning DNS I'm I'm almost ashamed.

Considering how many times that's bitten me in the rear end. You know what I mean? And and now more than ever, you know, because I'm I have like seventy seven different DNS servers redirecting to each other and half of them are in the cloud, and and that's why the application is slow, right, because of some random DNS server somewhere that's taken forever. Or or is pointing to something it shouldn't be.

So We had, we had a deployment in in Australia, and they were using DNS in San Francisco.

And they couldn't understand why, geolocation wise all of the the files were being downloaded from the San Francisco Bay Area for Australia and just driving everybody badly in Australia.

Wow. Yeah. And it was because of misconfigured DNS something that works fine. Configure DNS.

Yeah. Yeah. And as much as we like to to joke about DNS being the, you know, the root of all our network problems. I mean, it really is an important piece of our infrastructure.

I mean, that is how many organizations, if not most load balance across the global internet, you know, to identify where you're coming from and therefore which, which region you should be redirected to you to get to whatever resource you want. Right? That makes sense. And which I have to assume is tied to cost as well.

Right? You got it.

Your content delivery networks, that's exactly how they work. And Amazon, they call it route fifty three. That's just their DNS, but they're doing all of the routing for you through DNS routing.

Yeah. It's pretty cool how that works on a on a global scale. I've looked into that before, for troubleshooting and and for design purposes. But You know, I'm just just reflecting on how technology changes over time.

It's so interesting to me because I remember only a few years ago when everybody had a cloud first initiative, and it was really just take everything that I have and put it into public cloud and own nothing and then just pay for everything as a service. And and how that's just changing as a result of cost and performance issues and how we're just becoming more strategic in what we move when and how. Just kinda like with SD WIN, you know, I'm bringing that up again. How, you know, the the initial, impetus was to save money on Ditching MPLS, and then that that narrative changed as well over time.

As everything matured, And we looked at the reality of how things were implemented and then utilized and consumed after the fact. So, anyway, so, Ted, I think right here is a good place to stop. And, before we close though, how can folks reach you online if they had a question or wanted to comment on something from today's show?

I'm on Twitter. I'm Ted Turner in Cal.

Okay. Great. And you can find me on Twitter. Network underscore fill. You can search my name on LinkedIn, Philip Jervasi, and, active in pretty, pretty active in both places.

So, and to listen other episodes of telemetry now. You visit our website kentech dot com slash telemetry dash now. And if you're interested in being a guest on telemetry, now, or you have an idea for a show, you can email us at telemetry now at kentech dot I o. We'd love to hear from you.

So until next time, thanks for listening. Bye bye.

About Telemetry Now

Do you dread forgetting to use the “add” command on a trunk port? Do you grit your teeth when the coffee maker isn't working, and everyone says, “It’s the network’s fault?” Do you like to blame DNS for everything because you know deep down, in the bottom of your heart, it probably is DNS? Well, you're in the right place! Telemetry Now is the podcast for you! Tune in and let the packets wash over you as host Phil Gervasi and his expert guests talk networking, network engineering and related careers, emerging technologies, and more.
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