The Future of Hybrid Environments Combines Network-as-a-Service and Docker

While cloud computing continues to dominate headlines, a significant number of applications still operate from traditional data centers and local server environments, particularly within industries such as banking, healthcare, and retail. These on-premise systems, which are essential for ensuring compliance, low latency, and remote survivability, often benefit from adopting cloud-native technologies without fully migrating all systems and data to the cloud. The shift towards more flexible architectural models involves enhancing on-premise solutions with advanced software-defined networking and edge computing capabilities, meeting the needs of modern enterprises while retaining critical data and processes locally.

For applications requiring on-premise components, innovation is achieved through advances in software-defined networking coupled with edge computing capabilities. Legacy applications desiring more architectural flexibility are extending some services to the cloud, even when most of the application’s services remain on-premises. In these distributed or hybrid scenarios, some application workloads process at the edge for cost, security, or technical reasons, while other services run in the public cloud—with data moving freely (and securely) between both.

Because the cloud-delivered components are usually built as multi-tenant applications by the SaaS vendor and extend into a remote environment running the on-premise components, there are unique challenges associated with the deployment, management, and support of these cloud-to-edge architectures.

Challenges of Hybrid Environments

SaaS applications that require connectivity to legacy systems or on-premise customer environments need a networking component. Historically, VPNs and on-premises hardware/software appliances were used to achieve this. However, at scale, this infrastructure requires an incredible amount of tooling and talent to manage and secure—monitoring, configuration management, patching, remote access/troubleshooting, and asset management.

Initially, a software vendor’s understanding of the networking challenge is focused on the most important one or two issues preventing success. As development progresses and deployments scale, the extent of the challenges come into greater focus. Deployment challenges are usually the first to cause pain. When cloud applications depend on a third-party-controlled environment, the networking solution will require changes to on-prem firewall configurations, run into network address translation issues, and could even be impeded by onsite IT teams.

Moreover, as a SaaS solution evolves, so do its architectural requirements. Often, connectivity solutions that were viewed as acceptable yesterday no longer work for the roadmap and profitability requirements of tomorrow. Some vendors may want to run additional services at the edge, some may want a common way to access adjacent on-premises systems. Establishing a common way to manage and run workloads at the edge, through the use of containerized services, is usually one of these evolving requirements.

One effective way to address these edge-based challenges is by leveraging a network-as-a-service combined with Docker containers at the edge. This approach not only simplifies network deployment but also handles edge accessibility, while enhancing scalability and enabling applications to perform across distributed environments. Adding Docker containers at the edge allows for localized data processing to reduce latency and improve response times for critical applications. Additionally, it provides a flexible and consistent environment for running API-based microservices, which can be easily updated and managed remotely.

The NaaS for Hybrid Environments

Trustgrid’s network-as-a-service gives software providers the ability to seamlessly build, connect, and deliver applications across any environment (owned or third-party) with the same levels of control and automation they experience in the cloud. The Trustgrid platform enables this by supporting both networking and edge computing features on the same virtual network. Through a combination of centralized cloud gateways and edge nodes, Trustgrid supports software-defined networking as well as running a client’s proprietary scripts, ETL functions, and Docker containers across any cloud or on-premises environment.

The platform consists of three products; Trustgrid Connect, EdgeCompute, and Remote Access. A centralized cloud portal is used to configure and monitor networking functions and orchestrate the software running on nodes. From a single pane of glass, admins can manage edge scripts and containers, push and track versions, and provide all troubleshooting tools for remotely deployed software components.

Trustgrid’s customers typically seek this type of solution when they want to deploy code into third-party environments but manage it as if it is part of their public cloud application. This allows their software engineers and DevOps teams to remove themselves from the provisioning of networking and management of edge computing capabilities, and focus on delivering software to hundreds or thousands of locations with minimal support hassles.

Multiple Approaches Allows Flexibility

By incorporating software-defined networking, edge computing, and zero-trust remote access into a single platform that doesn’t require customers to change any of their application’s existing code base, Trustgrid delivers a solution that integrates into any platform easily and scales to hundreds or thousands of edge connections. Trustgrid edge connections can be delivered as an agent-based approach installed on existing edge hardware, or for more plug-and-play deployments, customers can choose a hardware appliance-based approach. 

Whether you are deploying an SDN, Docker containers, VMs on Trustgrid appliances for edge computing, or managing on-premises software connections with remote access/ZTNA, Trustgrid provides a highly secure, compliant, and audited toolset to remotely manage all connected locations. This comprehensive integration is essential for building cloud-to-edge architectures for today’s multi-tenant SaaS applications, addressing challenges with advanced networking and edge computing features tailored for these needs.

Get started with Trustgrid’s free trial to manage your distributed environments more efficiently and securely.