05 Dec CTO Jonathan Cartu Publishes – Why audiophiles have the right idea when it comes to SD-WAN
The internet is the great leveler of our time.
If your users have to wait too long for a service they expect to access in milliseconds, then a competitor is lurking just a click or a screen tap away.
That’s great news for consumers and disruptive start-ups. But bigger, more established businesses have to take heed.
If the applications or services they are running aren’t responsive, secure, and reliable over and over again then your customer experience will suffer.
If that happens enough, customers will begin to look elsewhere. That’s simply not good business.
Why cables matter
A lot of companies will have invested significant sums in marketing-leading, enterprise-grade applications. But, if those incredibly powerful applications aren’t meeting customer expectations, what is going wrong?
The answer may not be the application itself. Instead, it may be how the application is being delivered.
Take the experience of listening to music, for example. Audio experts around the world will happily extol the virtues of specific turntables, amplifiers, and speakers at length. They are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line equipment to produce music with greater purity, clarity, and depth.
But they are also painfully aware of the importance of how their music is delivered from amplifier to speaker. They complement their set-up with the best quality cables they can find because they can hear the difference. Carry the signal badly and the experience it provides will be poor, irrespective of its quality at source.
That lesson is as relevant inside your company as it is inside an audiophile’s hi-fi.
Your enterprise apps, even those based on millions of dollars of development time and investment, will not meet user expectations if your delivery mechanism – your network – isn’t performing at its absolute best. That may not be the fault of the application stack itself, but the results are the same if your customers and partners switch to the competition.
As more businesses digitally transform, adopt agile approaches, and implement new online experiences for customers and staff, the number of opportunities for error increase. And even the smallest interruption to your networking can hamper the customer experience. It may only be a temporary blip, but the damage is permanent.
Getting the right technology to optimise your network is absolutely critical.
Luckily there has been significant innovation in the wide area network (WAN) industry to address just these issues. By integrating automation and next-generation smarts, solutions like software-defined networking (SD-WAN) are optimising network experience and empowering you to better manage and secure data traffic. As well as ensuring essential services get the bandwidth and network speeds they need, SD-WAN also offers several other significant advantages.
It’s defined in software, determined by the business
As your business grows, your network should grow with you. But, whether you are expanding into new markets or launching new services, your infrastructure needs to be flexible while ensuring both security and reliability.
Organisations can increase WAN capacity by seamlessly integrating Internet Broadband alongside MPLS. Mission-critical traffic is prioritised to get the best possible connectivity to the most important applications. Instead of your network dictating how your business works, your business is calling the shots.
Elastic clouds are good clouds
The primary benefit of this innovation is the flexibility it enables across your entire WAN. Your team is able to improve agility and control over what happens at any part of your network, from public and private clouds, to edge deployments, to data centre infrastructure.
Even if you’re opening new branches or sites, your SD-WAN technology can quickly and simply provision key network services so that your team doesn’t waste any time. It could be as simple as having a single device plugged in by contractors or technicians at a new site. That means less time spent setting up and more time doing business.
SD-WAN also offers a single point of control and oversight for your network, instead of the complex configuration of routers, firewalls, and network solutions such as security and virtualised services. And application policies can be defined and deployed based on a range of variables like path quality, path selection, network QoS, or inherent security needs.
In addition, Riverbed solutions also offer the capability to monitor traffic conditions and select any number of paths across your hybrid network architecture. That means business is always conducted safely, using existing security solutions where required. If a cloud service needs on-premise resources for example, the network automatically provides what’s needed without having to manually open a terminal and start reconfiguring routers, switches, or firewalls.
The intent is business
Ultimately, the most important part of your network is its ability to flexibly and securely empower the rest of your business. That’s why Riverbed often talks about ‘intent-based networking’.
With baked-in recognition of thousands of apps and sensible rules available as an enterprise’s starting point, the Riverbed SD-WAN platform is ready to hit the ground running and begin to make your network sing.