IBM is developing a SaaS package to help enterprises securely network heterogenous environments, including edge, on-prem and multicloud resources.\nThe IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh is a SaaS service that implements a virtualized Layer 3-7 environment to rapidly enable secure connectivity between users, applications, and data distributed across multiple locations and environments, according to Andrew Coward, general manager of IBM\u2019s software defined networking group.\u00a0\nIn a nutshell, Hybrid Cloud Mesh deploys gateways within the clouds \u2013 including on-premises, AWS or other providers\u2019 clouds, and transit points, if needed \u2013 to support the infrastructure, and then it builds a secure Layer 3-7 mesh overlay to deliver applications, Coward said. At the application level, the exposure to developers occurs at Layer 7, and the networking teams see Layer 3 and 4 activities, Coward said.\n\u201cManaging how applications behave across a vast virtualized infrastructure is what we've challenged ourselves to go after, and we really wanted to make it a simple, kind of drag-and-drop experience for how businesses connect applications together. So that\u2019s the primary goal,\u201d Coward said.\nWhen the service is available later this year, IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh will also employ the\u00a0DNS traffic-steering capabilities IBM gained when it acquired NS1 earlier this year. The NS1 technology will help the service to find and set up the best connection between clouds and end users and deliver applications that are optimized for performance, cost and availability, Coward said.\nNS1 brings some important capabilities to IBM\u2019s networking plans, including its global network of high-performance points-of-presence and zero trust, intent-driven traffic steering, which can support a number of features including network segmentation.\n\u201cWe recognize that DNS is a really important control point in the network, and it really doesn't get used enough to dictate the flows and aggregate traffic, but we will be making that a key part of our mesh strategy over time,\u201d Coward said.\nAs for potential use cases, Coward identified core applications in global banking systems that need to offer cloud sovereignty for the data they access. The Hybrid Cloud Mesh service can be segmented to individual business needs, he said, and it can connect workloads running in multiple clusters in clouds and on premises.\n\u201cThe first use cases we're seeing [are] around Kubernetes-to-Kubernetes, cluster connectivity, applications like that, which [require] a lot of fairly manual work today that we can easily automate and manage with the new service,\u201d Coward said. \u201cA lot of infrastructure pain points come with new applications and application migration, where businesses want a new way of handling applications that\u2019s easier and less painful, which is what we can do with this service.\u201d\nFive or 10 years ago, setting up a large enterprise network, including MPLS connectivity and security, took a lot of time and effort, Coward said. \u201cNow, designing and building a global network in this virtual world takes literally an afternoon or morning. It's a very different construction environment that we're working on.\u201d\nIBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh service is currently being tested with early customers and should be generally available in the second half of 2023, Coward said.