Now’s the time to deploy SD-WAN for the business: Expereo
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’ve often said that a digital transformation — something of a buzzphrase around the industry at the moment — requires a transformation of the structures of the technology in the company as a central part of the process. (We’ve stressed, too, the importance of changing the business’s practices for its human employees.)
For IT departments, digital transformation means something quite different from a dozen years ago. Back in the early noughties, a digital transformation would have been an upgrade to in-house server hardware, perhaps a new MPLS line or two to support branch offices, maybe even a failover ADSL line for every remote installation.
But the nature of business has changed, and now IT departments are all about empowering the business functions — that might be enabling better access to a remote cloud service, giving better customer experiences, and making sure that data is moving where it needs to be, in the shortest time possible.
With a large proportion of end-user interactions and employee activities taking place in networked environments, IT needs to think differently about how it structures its provision to best support this changing situation.
We spoke recently to Kristaps Petrovskis, the CTO of connectivity specialists Expereo, about digital transformation, with specific reference to connectivity: prioritizing, ascertaining need, and changing the overall topology at the heart of the enterprise digital infrastructure.
In the context of planning SD-WAN (software-defined networking) policy, how do we judge requirements for each business function or individual application? Is it as easy as installing a new networking over-layer, and sitting back to get the benefits? Certainly not, Kristaps said:
“If you really want to reap the benefits of this type of deployment of SD-WAN and application-aware routing, you need to see how your enterprise environment is changing — which it does a lot — and see how people are consuming apps differently. You need to spend a little more time and effort on this ‘maintain’ phase. Then again, it balances out, given the gains you get.”
The software-defined WAN capabilities of Expereo’s platform don’t just give deployment tools to IT teams; they also enable the long-term network monitoring insights that can keep the network provision as agile as the business needs. That, of course, shows what is happening day-to-day on the network. Kristaps suggested what becomes apparent might include shadow IT (in which case, why is shadow IT happening?), or even unexpectedly heavy access to YouTube (not frowned upon as time-wasting, but an integral element of the Marketing Department’s latest digital campaign, perhaps?).
But for network teams, shadow IT is, he pointed out, opaque by nature. “To you, it’s just web traffic. With the right visibility, and suddenly the network and IT [needs] are very much linked; you start gaining visibility on that.”
With the right SD-WAN platform, therefore, the network becomes an important part of business strategy. Knowing exactly how the organization needs and wants to consume its data is necessary to be able to provision for it. That’s a significant change from a few years ago when provisioning was just about over-provision for contingency’s sake.
In traditional network set-ups, it was not uncommon for every piece of data from remote locations to be tunneled into a central point (often the head office or main data center) for security screening. Then, those packets of information would “go out” into the broader internet. Traffic destined for the remote installation would have to follow the reverse route. And to achieve that type of exchange, networks had to be massively overprovisioned, with, for instance, a dedicated MPLS between every remote installation and the central point.
But by means of proper managed SD-WAN, the right resources can be deployed to ensure safe connectivity for all users, customers, applications, and services — regardless of location.
The overheads of provisioning connection abstraction and security are negligible in comparison to the business “wins,” plus the Expereo platform also intelligently routes traffic from A to B much more efficiently than “native” routing protocols baked into TCP/IP.
The practical realities speak for themselves. Without the proactive, new-generation of routing optimization from Expereo, “Your users are used to working at a certain speed because an application loads in a certain time. And suddenly, things go crazy, or packet loads go crazy and [it] suddenly loads in double the time. Affecting large amount of users, multiple times a day”, Petrovskis said.
The scale of even the most meager saving, therefore, at enterprise scale means that an SD-WAN managing just a single edge installation soon proves its ROI. And on top of the other benefits (security, monitoring, scalability, and agility), the math speaks for itself when multiplied out to enterprise scale.
To learn more about how the Expereo SD-WAN can change the way your organization communicates and operates, get in touch with a local representative.
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