ORION Cloud Connect: Created with the Community

 

This summer, we launched ORION Cloud Connect, a new service that enables dedicated access to public cloud services using the ORION network. Like all ORION services, Cloud Connect was developed in response to and in collaboration with the ORION community. The ORION Cloud Working Group provided critical insights and knowledge that informed the vision and process of developing this new cloud connectivity service for ORION constituents. 

Why Cloud Connect? 

Over several years now, ORION constituents have been increasingly adopting more cloud services in tandem with developing their cloud connectivity strategies. As Ontario institutions make the transition to cloud services, ORION believes that our dedicated, high-speed network can play a valuable role in providing private dedicated cloud connectivity. With that in mind, the ORION product development team set out to establish the right service for the community. 

Intending to validate and better understand the implications of increased cloud adoption, ORION brought together the ORION Cloud Working Group together with CISOs and CIOs from Ontario colleges and universities. Over the course of three virtual sessions, the working group shared their immediate and longer-term requirements for building and sustaining effective cloud strategies. They also shared the recent impacts of COVID-19 on remote working and learning, which expedited a shift to the cloud much sooner than anticipated for many institutions.  

Developing Cloud Connect  

Taking what we learned from the Cloud Working Group, the ORION product team assessed potential service partners. The idea was to establish an alternative to current VPN solutions that would allow an institution to use their ORION network connection to access publicly available cloud services. This shift from public Internet VPN to the ORION network would have the benefits of increased speed, performance and reliability, together with potential cost savings. 

After careful review and testing, a partner was selected to move forward with the first phase of the ORION Cloud Connect service. Based on the feedback of the working group, we were looking to establish cost-effective access to the top three in-demand private direct cloud services: Microsoft Azure Express Route, AWS Direct Connect and ORACLE FastConnect. Additionally, we heard from the working group the desire for a wide range of available bandwidths, starting as low as 500 Mbps and going as high as 10Gbps. 

What we ultimately created was the ORION Cloud Connect service. We enable ORION constituents to leverage their existing connectivity over the ORION network to access a secure, private and dedicated connection with their cloud service provider of choice. Ultimately, giving ORION constituents a cost-effective and flexible solution for dedicated cloud connectivity that offers predictable performance and hassle-free deployment. 

Moving Forward 

Thanks to the Cloud Working Group, ORION was able to launch Cloud Connect to meet the pressing need for cloud connectivity services. But that’s far from the end of the story. We will continue to collaborate with the working group and other key stakeholders as we roll-out Cloud Connect to constituents across the network. We look forward to collaborating with institutions to learn how cloud strategies are evolving so that we may continue to deliver reliable and cost-effective access to the cloud every step of the way. 

 

To learn how ORION Cloud Connect can help you access dedicated cloud connectivity and multiple cloud platforms quickly, securely and cost-effectively contact communitydev@orion.on.ca