Business connectivity isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.
We’re moving to a multi-cloud world, and we need more—a lot more—connectivity at the edge of the network. And users are increasingly mobile and reliant on cloud-based apps like UCaaS.
As a result, a traditional WAN might not be able to handle your real-time networking demands. That’s where SD-Internet and software-defined networking have a role to play.
As a Deloitte report on the future of connectivity points out, networking may be mission-critical but it isn’t exactly sexy. Indeed, the Deloitte authors say networking has “lived in the shadow of high-profile disruptive enterprise technologies such as digital experiences, cognitive, and cloud that capture imaginations and headlines.”
But that’s starting to change. Businesses require more advanced connectivity and what Deloitte calls “differentiated” networking.
While next-gen technologies such as 5G and edge computing promise “order-of-magnitude improvements” for communication capabilities, software-defined networking can “help companies manage evolving connectivity options.”
SD-WAN is one of the fastest-growing segments of the network infrastructure market, according to research firm IDC—and it’s poised to become a US$5.25 billion market by 2023.
How SD-WANs fit in
“First, traditional enterprise WANs are increasingly not meeting the needs of today’s modern digital businesses, especially as it relates to supporting SaaS apps and multi- and hybrid-cloud usage,” says Rohit Mehra, IDC’s vice-president of network infrastructure, in a release.
“Second, enterprises are interested in easier management of multiple connection types across their WAN to improve application performance and end-user experience.”
SD-WAN, he says, provides “dynamic management of hybrid WAN connections,” helping IT pros guarantee a high level of service “on a per-application basis.”
While 5G is expected to augment other connectivity technologies (rather than replace them), software-defined access can help enterprises upgrade and modernize their network infrastructure.
Since SD-WAN is cloud-driven, it provides network connectivity for mission-critical applications; if one link fails, traffic can be rerouted. SD-Internet, for its part, provides multiple, aggregated access links to the Internet to power mission-critical cloud applications.
How SD-Internet fits in
Tried and true dedicated Internet is being augmented—and in some cases replaced—by SD-Internet. So does that mean an older MPLS networking solution is going the way of the dodo? Not just yet.
“A common enterprise network configuration will be one in which each solution supports key workloads based on their service requirements. In fact, the most common scenario has SD-WAN augmenting MPLS to provide a healthy mix of flexibility and reliability, as well as scalability and cost savings,” according to an article in Network Computing.
Some enterprises are maintaining MPLS in their data centre or in rural branch offices. But for anything latency-sensitive, such as migrating to UCaaS, they might choose to use SD-WAN to upgrade the network.
Allstream’s SD-Internet connectivity, for example, creates a hybrid network of Internet connectivity with up to four options: broadband, wireless, customer-provided or Allstream Dedicated Internet Access.
This helps to avoid downtime with a continually monitored service that dynamically selects the best access path for data. And with bi-directional Quality of Service (QoS), critical voice communications and business applications can be seamlessly prioritized.
5G and Wi-Fi 6 will fuel connectivity at the edge, intent-based networking will enhance network agility through analytics, and artificial intelligence will optimize network performance—whether in the data centre or the cloud.
Networking may have been living in the shadows, but when it comes to business connectivity it’s poised to take centre stage.
At Allstream, connectivity means more than connecting locations, data, services and people. It means simplifying this into a unified, holistic environment that can be easily adapted to drive unique business goals. Learn more about Allstream’s Connectivity services. To learn more about Allstream’s SD-WAN product, click here.