In the span of one month, and announced its intention to acquire Apigee — a deal that was . It’s fairly obvious that these acquisitions are to bolster the GCP (Google Cloud Platform), but what’s less obvious is how Google’s Andromeda project justifies the acquisitions.

Andromeda, Google’s SDN (software-defined network)-based network virtualization technology, improves the speed of GCP, laying the groundwork so the Orbitera and Apigee acquisitions can be meaningful. Orbitera is a cloud commerce platform and Apigee is a cloud services and API management platform.

Google uses SDN in the cloud to let customers assign and control their own slices of compute and storage resources. Their customers can do this on separate virtual networks, and GCP can deploy network services like load balancing and security based on moment-to-moment customer needs. GCP uses SDN to optimize cloud interconnections, which is all part of the move away from vendor lock-in to allow unprecedented choice in the cloud.

Cloud services are evolving

Cloud services providers are entering a world of collaboration where they need to bridge gaps between disparate cloud environments. Services can’t be designed strictly for isolated cloud environments anymore. They have to be designed for easy collaboration between environments, e.g. between AWS and GCP. Moving toward collaboration means greater access for enterprises and less restricted products for customers. Collaborative designs also mean shorter times between upgrades and fixes, because applications will be developed with interoperability in mind.

for at least a few years, it seems to be a logical extension of the technology they were developing. Apigee gives them an edge on supporting cross-cloud collaboration because of Apigee’s API management offerings, but without SDN technology, the new architecture Google’s trying to support would come apart at the seams.

As every aspect of computing becomes less centralized and more diffuse, more distributed, something has to help manage the new network possibilities. SDN helps connect everything. With it, providers can optimize data transfers between disparate cloud environments and keep the entire network running smoothly. It allows customers to host whatever they want wherever they want, and they can do it all from a single point.

SDN backs the evolution of cloud services

SDN means centralized management, which lets businesses and customers monitor applications across physical geographies and disparate cloud environments. This allows the development team a degree of responsiveness that has never been possible before, and gives customers unprecedented choice. Networks can be created, deployed, and managed from anywhere in the world, while applications can be migrated across cloud environments without having to specifically reconfigure the applications to work in another environment. SDN’s abstraction layer makes the blending of cloud resources possible, all while handling failures, changes in location, usage spikes, and disaster recovery.

Network visibility is a big concern with network security teams. SDN offers more visibility into the network, stretching out to all the distributed systems comprised by the new multi-cloud network architecture. Security programmability also gets a boost — customers can program specific controls for how their network security should operate, giving them reach throughout the whole system from one vantage point. This makes it easy to set rules for what traffic should be allowed on the network and how it should act. And while many clouds are already based on some flavor of container technology today, that adoption will continue to increase moving forward. Imagine a phone that allows for separate personas between home and work, or isolated domains for banking. These possibilities will require automated networking infrastructure.