Every day, businesses place increasing demands on wide area networks (WANs). Speed and performance are expected to go up, while costs are expected to go down. This means that managing an enterprise network is not easy and when geographical distance is added to the mix, it’s even more of a feat.
Efficiently and effectively sizing and managing the WAN solutions of organisations with multiple, widely-dispersed branches and offices may seem like an insurmountable challenge for IT professionals. And the solutions being punted at the moment don’t quite solve this. But CloudWAN, an SD-WAN (software-defined WAN) solution with a difference, does. Here’s how.
A closer look at the challenges
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of CloudWAN, it’s good to zoom in on the key challenges that IT teams are up against. These can be broadly divided into two categories: WAN links and network devices.
WAN links, as the enablers of remote access to the enterprise’s IT and communications services, are, of course, critical for the successful running of offices nationwide. New locations need a rapid deployment of connectivity solutions to get them online and on task, and their bandwidth needs to be scaled or adjusted in a way that balances cost and quality. Relying on VPNs (virtual private networks) for this, while common, can be expensive, slow and inconsistent in quality.
Network devices present their own (expensive) challenges in the high numbers that are required – and the volume of vendors that need to be engaged. Updates and configuration changes can be a nightmare in terms of time and technical expertise needed.
Why you need more than SD-WAN
SD-WAN is a viable solution for only some of these challenges – unless you pick the right product. Bringing in network function virtualisation (NFV) is another option that will help to optimise network services. It does this by bringing together the components that are necessary to support a fully virtualised environment.
On its own, SD-WAN takes care of the WAN link issue. It enables alternate, cost-effective transport networks to replace or augment MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) links. The actual firewall feature on the device is the Virtual network functions (VNF) and it replaces physical devices with virtual versions of hardware networking functions. VNF creates far more agile networks that result in significant savings.
CloudWAN is a well-rounded WAN solution
IS has developed a new solution called CloudWAN – and it ticks all of the above boxes. CloudWAN, as a Cloud WAN solution, combines SD-WAN with smart NVF to address enterprise network needs.
CloudWAN allows centralised, simplified network management through a single, easy-to-use dashboard. Updates and changes can be made and rolled out to remote locations in a few clicks. This is a boon for security, as network control is kept tight. It also means that the IT team can be spared time-consuming administrative tasks to tackle more important, value-adding work.
The network no longer needs heaps of hardware devices. This saves the team time and money, as provisioning and management are made much easier. And when it comes to setting up a new office, zero-touch provisioning ensures that your business is up and running in a matter of minutes – no hard skills required.
Bandwidth concerns are also addressed: CloudWAN reduces reliance on the carrier network by tapping into public broadband (and your MPLS links, if you wish to hold onto them). It dynamically routes traffic according to need. The result? Efficient, always-on connectivity.
CloudWAN can make a difference in enterprises of all shapes and sizes, but it is of particular use to those in the retail and banking industries, where multiple, geographically-dispersed locations are the norm. Think of the revolutionary potential of setting up a new branch without deploying a single technician. Think of the benefits of commanding the entire corporate network from one place, in real time. Speak to us to get going.
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