In today’s SaaS and cloud world, characterized by a meteoric amount of associated and third-party dependencies, the enterprise WAN is not only taking a new shape, but it is also stretched beyond recognition. In its place, the Internet now directly and exclusively carries a significant, if not majority, portion of all enterprise traffic, says Mike Hicks, Senior Solutions Analyst, Cisco ThousandEyes.
In response, businesses are moving to an Internet-centric software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). In many ways, SD-WAN has become a hot topic for networks in recent years. According to recent data, the market for SD-WAN tools and software is expected to grow to $ 4.6 billion by 2023 (€ 3.92 billion) as businesses increasingly move their IT and network services to cloud infrastructure.
To ensure that SD-WAN meets business expectations, a new way of thinking about IT monitoring is needed, encompassing both network visibility and application performance.
WAN yesterday and today
Traditional WANs have been architected with a centralized workforce leveraging centrally hosted applications. Once the connection was established, the WAN network path was essentially fixed. With its origins dating back to the 1990s, WAN technology has brought many benefits to businesses, including centralizing IT infrastructure, improving privacy, and increasing bandwidth. However, in today’s business world, where customers and employees are often scattered around the world, the lack of flexibility of a standard WAN network limits the ability of businesses to maximize traffic and efficiency. Resource. In short, a standard WAN is likely to fail to meet the performance and productivity expectations of many businesses.
Swap WAN for SD-WAN
Designed for interconnecting with cloud and externally hosted services, adopting an SD-WAN designed for agility plays a critical role in making cloud-ready, more profitable, and better-suited corporate networks. delivering optimized digital experiences to customers and employees in all locations.
With SD-WAN, the network overlay is virtualized. This creates a customizable and flexible network infrastructure that can meet and adapt to the changing needs of an organization.
With all of this agility comes an increased reliance on third-party applications and services. The more a network depends on external providers, the more complexities and blind spots are created. Add to this the inherent unpredictability of the Internet and a significant lack of visibility into these services can wreak havoc on an organization’s IT teams, affecting user experience and productivity. To ensure the digital experiences that employees and customers need, getting end-to-end visibility across the service delivery chain, including the third-party dependencies you rely on, is critical. – say cloud and internet networks to power your applications. and services over SD-WAN.
Full visibility for optimal SD-WAN performance
Connectivity is the center of attention when it comes to SD-WAN fabric and QoS for SaaS applications and cloud services delivered to remote connections and global offices.
Uninterrupted connectivity and application performance depend on visibility into the networks you own and those you don’t – that is, the cloud and internet networks that now power your SD-WAN. To achieve this, synthetic monitoring plays a vital role, using scripts to emulate the expected workflow and path that an end user would follow when using an application, regardless of their distance. Coupled with the network walk around routing visibility, modern syntheses provide an understanding of how users perceive an application and the deeper perspective required to see the characteristics of an application’s underlying network.
SD-WAN can be a big step forward for many businesses, but it’s ultimately one of the most significant IT changes that businesses that adapt to new ways of working and serving customers can make.
For application performance and digital experiences to be always on and performing in SD-WAN, IT teams will need end-to-end visibility and correlated view between network and application performance to a complete picture of end-user SaaS and application performance to quickly spot and escalate any performance issues.
So what’s the next step for SD-WAN? As vaccine deployments continue and restrictions ease, the big shift to hybrid work is well underway. In the future, we expect that office work will be replaced by a mixed model where some employees return to their workplace and others continue to work from home. As such, the reliance on cloud and internet-centric networks will only intensify in order to make this new strategy of merged work a reality.
As employees and customers connect to corporate resources in more diverse ways through VPNs, laptops and mobile devices, the impact and importance of SD-WAN as the fabric that connects it does not. can be ignored. It’s important to note that end-to-end information that will allow businesses to see and resolve performance issues, regardless of their location in the corporate network, cannot either.
Author is Mike Hicks, Senior Solutions Analyst, Cisco ThousandEyes