By now, just about everyone is familiar with the potential benefits of the public cloud, even if they haven't yet decided to leverage it in some way. The elasticity and scalability offered by the cloud combined with pay-as-you-go pricing can be compelling.
However, for heavy cloud users, simply comparing the costs and relative flexibility of running workloads in the cloud versus running them on-premise doesn't tell the whole story. Potential users must consider how they're actually going to get access to the systems that reside in the cloud -- especially in relation to hybrid cloud and storage-intensive applications.
Typically, businesses will use the public Internet to get where they need to go, but this can be an expensive and technically challenging way to secure high-quality access to cloud-hosted resources. To answer this challenge, cloud service providers are increasingly offering direct connections into their networks, with Amazon's Direct Connect as one of the more mature options.
The Internet connectivity challenge
Let's say you've decided to leverage Amazon's S3 and Glacier services to provide offsite backups for your on-premise network. This is a popular use case for cloud storage that combines nearly limitless scalability, very high data durability, and the elimination of a big chunk of backup/recovery capital expense. Assuming you have a decent-sized connection, your current on-premise Internet pipe will probably work well for relatively small amounts of data. A 100Mbps Internet connection, for example, will handle 40GB to 45GB per hour at full utilization.