Cloud technology has changed the way we store our files and work in the online world. Whether you keep your photos on platforms like Google Drive or play video games by streaming them, the cloud is an all-powerful tool.
But cloud technology isn’t just for your own convenience. Many companies are using it for their businesses. Cloud is an important element that facilitates access to computing services and greatly makes the lives of IT workers easier.
Cloud providers usually have public IP address ranges that companies can use. While this is super helpful, companies can also opt for bringing their own IP addresses into the cloud infrastructure.
This has become known as BYOIP (Bring Your Own IPs), a service most cloud providers offer. Let’s dig deeper and see what’s the deal with cloud services and bringing your own IPs to them.
- What is the cloud?
- What are cloud service providers?
- What is BYOIP?
- Why is BYOIP useful?
- Which cloud providers offer BYOIP?
- What do you have to do if you want to bring your own IPs to the cloud?
What is the cloud?
In the simplest terms, cloud technology acts as a virtual storage space on the Internet. Users rely on the cloud for many reasons. For example, they can use the cloud to store their files, applications, or software.
Similarly, the cloud can also be used by businesses to store pieces of software and other elements necessary for app development.
When you use these virtual storage spaces, you do so through networks, hence the importance of IP addresses (IPs create networks). In doing so, you can share digital resources, irrespective of their physical location.
Generally speaking, the cloud comes with a number of advantages. For example:
Companies can enjoy more storage. This is achieved without the company having to invest in upgrading its resources (such as storage devices). It is important to note that paid cloud services usually offer more storage compared to free alternatives.
Remote users can work better through cloud storage. Nowadays, businesses must make do with employees working from different locations. While remote access programs for local/corporate networks can be a solution, the cloud is a fairly easier option. Cloud computing makes accessing and sharing resources hassle-free. In turn, this means remote teams across the world can collaborate more efficiently.
Cloud services can ensure data recovery, which is critical. If a company is working on a big project, data recovery protocols must undeniably be present. However, this can be quite expensive and resource-demanding. This is difficult to attain especially in smaller businesses.
In this respect, the cloud can offer backup and recovery options, usually at cost-effective payment plans. This is often straightforward and simple.
What are cloud service providers?
These magic tricks above are ensured by cloud service providers. Such providers are actually companies that create and manage public or private clouds. They also offer on-demand cloud computing services, like:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
Cloud service providers are a great way for a company to access and use computing services instead of that company having to provide them on its own. Let’s take a look at a couple of computing services that greatly help businesses:
Dedicated infrastructure – This one can be made of elements like:
Database management and services
Platforms – The bedrock of creating and launching applications. These platforms can include operating systems or RTEs (runtime environments).
Software – This means companies can benefit from ready-to-use apps, either standard or custom-made.
Such cloud resources can be accessed with the help of the cloud providers’ own IP ranges. However, there’s also the possibility of a company using its own blocks, and this is where it gets interesting.
What is BYOIP?
BYOIP (Bring your Own IPs) is a service offered by most cloud providers. It allows a company to integrate and use its own IPv4 & IPv6 address ranges on that provider’s services and products.
It is a key component that makes everyone’s life easier, and safer, and streamlines cloud migration. The latter marks the beginning of a new era, application-wise. More and more companies are choosing to migrate their resources into the cloud.
But when you migrate your resources to the cloud, IPs can be quite problematic. Here’s how it works:
A company’s application and/or devices are usually hard-coded with IP for them to work. Hard-coded means those applications or devices cannot be altered without modifying a lot of things.
This too has its perks: it’s safer, offers more control, and in some cases even lessens the CPU load. But if you want to move your stuff to the cloud, you have to take everything with you, basically. Including the data and values you hard-coded into your IP-app relationship.
Why is BYOIP useful?
Sure, you can move your resources to the cloud service’s own IPs, but that will be tedious and time-consuming. You would have to work out things like third-party re-routing, or creating new firewall entries.
On top of that, you could encounter hard-coded dependencies issues, or even lose your IP reputation. Here BYOIP comes to help. Companies can use their IP ranges in the target cloud provider as a more useful approach.
As we mentioned earlier, BYOIP saves you a lot of trouble. Let’s have a look at the most important benefits of bringing your own addresses to the cloud.
Making cloud migration easier and less risky
BYOIP means you are not dependent on new IPs when you move your resources to the cloud. What you will do, instead, is benefit from using your own ranges your developers are already familiar with. So, the developers won’t have to re-work the applications’ hard-coded IPs to make them work properly in the cloud.
This spares the company the hassle of temporarily splitting the traffic. And even better, they won’t have to constantly monitor every single change during the migration process.
Mitigating the risk of hard-coded dependencies
We saw that applications and devices are dependent on other systems (i.e servers and databases). If your IP address is hard-coded into devices, BYOIP will help you migrate your resources into the cloud more easily, without mishaps or further complexities.
Keeping your IP reputation
It’s hard to let go of things you worked so hard on. But there are times when you actually don’t have to let go of them. Whether you bought or leased IPs with the help of trustworthy brokers, like Pubconcierge, IP reputation is not something you can let fly away.
IP reputation is critical for many businesses, such as email marketing. A clean reputation makes others view you as a reliable source of online communication. All that hard work put into building your IP reputation can be taken into the cloud as well via the BYOIP approach.
Keeping IPs whitelisted by customers and partners
The software or apps of a company can be using IPs that are trusted by other websites, or even by your partners or customers. For that, your IPs are most likely whitelisted in your partners’ or clients’ firewalls.
If you move your resources to the cloud via new IPs, you can lose all this ”trust”, and the other parties might have to re-configure their firewalls. Bringing one’s own IPs to the cloud is, therefore, a welcome alternative.
Keeping control over your IP addresses
If the IPs are yours and not the providers’, you obviously have full control over them. Cloud providers won’t be able to reassign them to other users and won’t charge you extra for idle or new addresses. In addition, providers will even ensure the safety of your ranges and let you manage them through dedicated dashboards.
Which cloud providers offer BYOIP?
Cloud migration is the future, so many known cloud service providers are preparing, or already prepared, to accommodate that. They offer publicly routable IPv4 & IPv6 ranges that can be used within their infrastructure and services.
But, there are many companies that prefer to keep using their own addresses within the cloud. This offers them more control and flexibility. And for that, instead of hiring cloud IP services, they can bring their own – BYOIP.
Such providers often make sure all their services are BYOIP-compatible, so companies can enjoy safety and reliability. For example, Cloudflare offers full support for that.
Addresses integrated through BYOIP are compatible with Cloudflare’s services. From their 7-layer OSI products such as Magic Transit or Spectrum to full compatibility with CDN (Content Delivery Network) services.
Magic Transit is the 3rd layer in the OSI model and comes as a security service. If you bring your own IPs to Cloudflare, it will announce them and have Magic Transit process all your network traffic.
Spectrum is an API (Application Programming Interface). It ensures the safety and good working of applications that run TCP/UDP protocols. Spectrum is BYOIP-friendly and lets companies specify which ones of their IPs are tied to a Spectrum application.
Similarly, the BYOIP method lets your IPs work well with CDN services. A content delivery network service has many benefits, such as faster loading for websites, improved security, and reduced bandwidth costs.
What do you have to do if you want to bring your own IPs to the cloud?
To benefit from such advantages, you must first meet the cloud service provider’s requirements. They might vary from one provider to another, but fortunately, they also offer comprehensive documentation that helps you in this process.
For context, a company looking to migrate to the cloud via BYOIP might be required to:
- Create and validate a Public Advertised Prefix (PAP);
- Employ GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) tunneling and NAT (Network Address Translation), among others, to avoid address conflicts;
- Prove its ownership of a specific IP address space and its registration to an RIR (Regional Internet Registry).
As an example, let’s look at the specific requirements if you want to bring your IPs to Cloudflare’s infrastructure.
For everything to go on smoothly, you have to meet two basic requirements:
First, check your Internet Routing Registry (IRR) records. Make sure the prefix and/or ASN information are up to date. An IP prefix is an IP address range. More specifically, the number of addresses available for use in a range.
An ASN (Autonomous System Number) is a unique identifier for an AS (Autonomous System). ASN allows multiple autonomous systems to communicate with each other. In turn, an autonomous system is a big network or group of networks (more specifically, it’s about a group of one or more IP prefixes) that have a single routing policy.
Secondly, make sure you have a Letter of Authorization (LOA) so Cloudflare can announce your prefixes. This LOA is a document that allows a party (in this case, Cloudflare) to announce your IP prefixes on your behalf.
It’s quite clear that cloud technology has become a reliable ally for lots of businesses. Cloud services offer lots of benefits, usually at cost-effective plans. From dedicated infrastructure and backup plans to increased storage and useful platforms, the cloud is undeniably the future of the online world.
But all of this depends on IP addresses as well. Applications and devices are usually tied to specific IPs, so migrating them onto new ranges can raise issues. To avoid that, cloud service providers allow companies to integrate their own IPv4 & IPv6 blocks in the providers’ products and services.
This makes the migration process faster, and more secure and helps companies keep control over their resources. The IP reputation is maintained, the hard-coding mishaps are less likely to occur, and your customers and partners will keep your IPs whitelisted.