If you lack control over the performance and reliability of the network that connects you to the cloud capability, then no amount of resilience and technical wizardry on the part of your cloud provider will be of any value at all.
Typically, cloud providers do not own or provide the network connection. Net neutrality on the public internet backbone means that neither you nor your cloud provider will have any control over how your data packets are handled. If someone or something suddenly uses more bandwidth than expected, you may see a significant degradation of your application performance. If the application in question is mission-critical this could have a serious impact on the business. The importance of the network to cloud services means that a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) and appropriate monitoring are vital in order to maintain optimal business continuity.
Reliance upon the network for access and application performance makes it essential to find a cloud infrastructure provider that understands and has expertise in networking and IT security. An Integrated Cloud Provider can deliver both the cloud resources and a fully controlled network. This means that you can set priorities on your traffic, as the link is direct from your in-house network fabric straight to the cloud provider, with no reliance on the public internet or an intermediate ISP. So as part of your cloud agreement, you can reserve a certain minimum network capacity for each of your mission critical applications.
The challenges involved in supporting mission-critical enterprise networks are prompting enterprises to look at alternative delivery models that can help achieve consistent, reliable network performance in a cost-effective, process-driven manner. Managed network services can help enterprises achieve the solid networking foundation needed for strategic application-focused IT initiatives and reap the benefits of new IT consumption models such as SaaS and cloud computing. As enterprises source more IT and communications functionality from the cloud, network quality of service (QoS), reliability, and security become increasingly important.