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Inner Banner 6

Next-Generation WAN

The goal of the Next-Generation Wide Area Network is to deliver a cloud-ready enterprise grade WAN that maintains the highest performance levels while reducing TCO by 50% or more. This is achieved through the increased use of high-quality local Internet-based infrastructure, enhanced with industry-leading technologies such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to improve performance, agility and visibility while reducing migration risk.

Limitations of the traditional WAN

  • High cost: There is a high capital cost for routers, switches and WAN circuits (particularly MPLS circuits) - often averaging hundreds of dollars per Mbps
  • Inefficient Internet routing: More traffic than ever is destined for the public Internet; often 80% or more of the traffic on an enterprise WAN. Backhauling all of this Internet traffic to central gateways increases the load on the expensive, bandwidth-constrained MPLS network and results in a significant detour for SaaS traffic
  • Lack of agility: WAN designs are inherently complex and very static. Change management requires a high level of technical knowledge of the environment. There is usually poor bandwidth management, and obtaining detailed insights into application performance requires costly add-ons
  • Inflexible design: It is very difficult to pool WAN bandwidth from multiple technologies and service providers without highly complex, hard to troubleshoot configurations. Where such pooling is performed, it is usually very static and inflexible, not taking into account variations in link performance over time

Rise of the next-generation WAN

  • The workforce is increasingly distributed and there is a widespread expectation of a consistent user experience regardless of location or connection type – even when using mobile devices
  • Unified communications is driving the need for high-performance branch to branch and branch to cloud traffic flows, but cost constraints and bandwidth requirements often rule out traditional private WAN technologies
  • Recent years have seen an exponential increase in data. This is driving the need for increased WAN bandwidth
  • Broadband Internet from local ISPs almost invariably delivers a better price per Mbps – this is usually well under $50 per Mbps per month and significantly lower in certain markets

Next-generation WAN functionality

Next-Generation WAN Functionality

SD-WAN technology solves three of the traditional issues with Internet-based WANs:

  • Performance, through the use of intelligent link bonding and per-application path selection
  • Control, through the use of centralized portals to define the WAN requirements at a business policy level and have this flow down to be implemented on each end device
  • Visibility, through built-in technologies like deep packet inspection and application-level traffic identification, allowing insights into the performance of each critical application on the WAN

Commercial benefits

  • Cost savings through the use of multiple local ISPs resulting in a lower price per Mbps without sacrificing quality
  • Delivered as a service - no long term commitments avoids technology lock-in
  • Lower capex through the use of service-based models with the majority of the functionality being provided through software
  • Significant ongoing cost reductions on MACD activity, with centralized implementation and change management rather than individual device configurations

TCO Benefits

Technical & performance benefits

  • Dynamic multi-path optimization allows multiple low-cost ISP circuits to be intelligently bonded to deliver a high performance overlay network. Traffic is classified by application and link selection is performed on a per-packet basis to deliver traffic according to the priorities that have been set, accounting for variations in individual link quality
  • Traffic is prioritized using smart QoS support to deliver MPLS-like performance for critical applications, particularly real-time voice and video traffic
  • Distributed, centrally managed services can easily be deployed on the network, allowing functionality like local breakout to cloud-based applications to be performed without impacting security. Policies can be defined centrally and automatically implemented on all edge devices
  • Distributed cloud-based gateways around the world provide an optimized path to major cloud applications and services

The following diagram illustrates a conceptual next-generation network solution:

Topology Diagram

Operational insights

  • The entire network is managed from a centralized portal with centrally-defined business policies that are implemented across the WAN, rather than individually configuring each device
  • Cloud scale analytics provide relevant metrics on underlying ISP performance, SLA compliance, application quality levels and forward-looking capacity planning data, allowing IT and vendor management teams to be more informed on the network state
  • Deep packet inspection and application classification allows reporting to be based on the specific applications running over the enterprise, rather than generic port- or IP-based views. This can be correlated with the measured user experience achieved for each key application on the network

How can we help?

We are the experts in helping enterprises adopt SD-WAN and other next-generation network technologies. Coevolve can help with the entire life cycle of the next-generation network. This takes into account the current environment, along with the opportunities and contractual restraints that may be in place. Our approach includes:

  • Review of existing application and business requirements
  • Review existing network environment and maximise re-use of infrastructure
  • Design future-state network architecture for deployment
  • Assist with new local ISP selection process at each location
  • Develop phased migration process to facilitate seamless cutover with minimal business impact and risk mitigation
  • Provide a single point of contact for the management of the next-generation SD-WAN environment and underlying vendors
  • Manage ongoing operational and commercial relationship with underlying ISPs through our Network & Vendor management practice area

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