By Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager at Cybera (www.cybera.com)
While digital transformation may be at the top of every business agenda, many companies are finding that success depends on having a network infrastructure that’s truly designed for the digital age. In other words, they need flexible, scalable, and secure connectivity that can adapt faster to changing business circumstances and requirements.
This realization represents a key challenge for organizations whose digital aspirations are constrained by complex or inflexible networks that make it increasingly difficult or costly to embrace new business models.
Modern technologies—such as big data, mobility, the cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), and software-as-a-service (SaaS)—continue to extend traditional enterprise perimeters, rendering legacy networks vulnerable to threats. What’s more, these traditional networks often lack the performance, control, and flexibility today’s digital business model demands.
In short, companies that want to transform need a better way to simplify IT operations and enable advanced ‘on-demand’ connectivity that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively. That’s why so many are now embracing technologies like the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) to build agile networks that solve their dynamic connectivity demands.
SD-WAN: Enabling the Future-Ready Digital Enterprise
One particular technology has risen to the top of many corporate ‘must-have’ lists. SD-WANs are purpose-built to meet the growing demand for agile, secure, and scalable connectivity in corporate networks. Providing centralised orchestration, control, and zero-touch provisioning, SD-WANs deliver high-speed networking and borderless infrastructure to improve the delivery of data across the entire network.
Leveraging all available connectivity options (including MPLS, broadband, 4G, and 5G), SD-WANs automate many network functions to optimise both performance and the user experience. Along with providing more affordable capacity, SD-WANs also reduce the complexity of connecting people, devices, and locations to the cloud, virtual functions, and business services on the corporate network itself.
SD-WANs achieve this by abstracting the complexity of the underlying network to create a virtual layer that simplifies network operations. That means there’s no longer any need to deal with multiple layers of hardware (such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers) that have made it difficult to quickly deploy network updates.
That’s great news for geographically distributed organizations that want to simplify their branch WAN architecture and integrate new branch locations into the corporate network in hours, rather than months. It should also be music to the ears of IT leaders tasked with the roll-out of new services to support future business needs, who also need to reduce networking costs.
Using NFV to Boost Network Agility and Functionality
Improving both the agility and efficiency of the network, NFV allows network functions to be activated on demand and consumed on an ‘as-a-service’ basis. By replacing network hardware with software running in the cloud, NFV offers a smart and cost-effective way to enhance or modify network functionality—handling everything from firewalls and intrusion detection to traffic prioritisation and network performance optimisation—along with providing specific public cloud services as needed.
Combining NFV with SD-WAN also makes it much easier to reconfigure the network and automate critical services to meet dynamic business needs without introducing unnecessary risk, complexity, or cost.
Accelerating Digital Transformation
In a world that’s increasingly driven by digital transformation, it’s no surprise that demand for SD-WAN infrastructure is growing. As more and more organizations leverage cloud-based applications, they must be certain their networks can keep up with fast-paced change and confident they can enable digital transformation at greater scale and speed.
The good news is that today’s SD-WANs make it easier and faster to innovate business in radically new ways, accommodating new digital opportunities with ease. In fact, organizations can now simplify their operations, respond faster to changing business demands, and configure their networks in real time. This means being able to deploy virtual paths between branches, initiate secure connectivity between cloud-based platforms and business applications, and orchestrate threat protection over enterprise Internet access services.
For anyone preparing to undertake a bold digital strategy, a modern reliable network will prove critical. And SD-WANs are the ideal way to ensure that digital transformation is not limited by an inadequate network infrastructure that’s either too costly or complex to meet modern business requirements.
About the author – Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager, Cybera (www.cybera.com)
Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager, Cybera (www.cybera.com) brings over two decades of business strategy, product management and technology development in both publicly-traded, large enterprises and emerging startups. Cabra has helped to develop and bring to market cutting-edge technologies that have redefined industries, such as communications, networking and video/TV. He has held leadership roles at some of the world’s most well-known and highly respected organizations, including Sprint, Cingular Wireless and CSpire.