In part four of this blog I’ll continue the story on the evolution of SD-WAN from DIY to a mainstream managed service offering and on to the role SD-WAN plays in delivering the step change in business operation brought about by Enterprise Digital Transformation. Part one of the blog can be found here, part two here, and part three here.
Delivering the network for Enterprise Digital Transformation
With the adoption of the Cloud for mainstream IT there has been significant disruption across all Enterprise markets. Some segments have seen the emergence of a competitor with little to no forewarning that has completely changed the way and the places that business is done.
If you have been at a technology/cloud/business conference in the last five years you would have heard someone mention (and probably rolled your eyes at) what Airbnb has done to hotels or Uber to taxis.
There are 1000’s of examples of markets being disrupted that all have their origins from competitors that have used the ubiquity of fast broadband and the economies of cloud compute to either disrupt a local market or burst on to the global stage as serious competition to established businesses. The reality is that in many cases what used to be a locally competitive market, be that based on a city, or state, or country level is now under attack from global and online competitors.
The response by established Enterprises has been to streamline their own business processes and to move core parts of their business to Cloud IT based delivery, be that;
- Don’t buy servers, lease virtual capacity in the cloud
- Exit (or cap/supplement) dedicated data centers (real estate) for hosted IaaS/PaaS offerings
- Purchase Software as a Service rather than build/deploy custom applications
The list goes on, but the key fabric that links these IT systems and software in the cloud to your business employees at the branch is the WAN and this is where the next wave of SD-WAN platforms deliver on the seamless connection of business applications regardless of location (private cloud, public cloud, virtual host or physical) to the application users in the branch, again regardless of their location (at head office, in the regional branches, internationally or at home). The market term for this is SD-WAN 2.0.
SD-WAN 2.0 delivers on the networking needed for Digital Transformation with the Enterprise getting the agility, resiliency, visibility and control over the wide area network connections from the application host to the application end user, regardless of eithers location.
It’s the seamless connections that SD-WAN 2.0 delivers, the networking fabric that links these business-critical systems and users together that delivers the right IP layer to enable the big IT decisions being made by the Enterprise management. This is especially evident with the latest public cloud deployment trends where Enterprises are utilizing multiple public cloud environments to de-risk their IT environment.
With an SD-WAN 2.0 based managed service, an Enterprise has the freedom to split the cloud usage for a specific application, for instance, the company’s inventory system. The primary application could be installed on AWS with the redundant instance hosted in Azure. With SD-WAN 2.0 each cloud instance would be treated as a virtual branch; so, would have the same traffic control, security/network policies and visibility as if they were physical locations. Part of the network configuration would be to shift the network connections from primary (AWS) to Azure in the event of an application or cloud zone failure.
All businesses, regardless of size have a need for a more dynamic and flexible network linking their employees at the branch to their business applications and deploying an SD-WAN based network will deliver the connectivity foundation.
SD-WAN is the first network service that can truly deliver this connectivity, regardless of Enterprise size. You could be a franchisee with a single store connecting to franchise systems in the cloud, or a law firm with 10 offices spread throughout the country, or a large multi-national with international offices throughout the world. The common denominator for all is the need to consume business information across the business as efficiently as possible.
As it has with IT procurement, the preference for consumption of software has moved to an ‘as-a-service’ model. We all use desktop applications, collaboration suites and storage and voice/email applications that are delivered from the cloud as SaaS offerings.
So, it makes sense that the same procurement model would be applied to the WAN and the purchase of network-as-a-Service.
A managed SD-WAN 2.0 service is perfect for this new IT environment being deployed as part of the Enterprise digital transformation journey, where change is constant, and the networks of yesterday are hindering the rate change.
It’s time to revitalize your wide area network and to rethink the way information is distributed and consumed across the whole of your business. With an SD-WAN 2.0 based managed service you will get the network the business needs, seamless connections to the cloud, dynamic and agile control over all aspects of the environment and the right co-manage and self-service functions to deliver on your business requirements.