A few years ago, SD-WANs were innovative technical concepts with limited adoption. Not anymore. Growth of SD-WAN solutions is now escalating along a hockey stick-shaped trajectory. Initially slow trial-balloon enterprise adoption has been followed by a rapid increase in investment.
That said, not all SD-WAN solutions are created equally. Many are just better network management tools. Only a tiny number offer failsafe SD-WAN technology, helping get your traffic where you want it to go. With that in mind, let's focus on a main reason for choosing SD-WAN: better support for real-time operations across the enterprise. The notion of the real-time enterprise dates back to the early 2000s, when Gartner defined it as an organization that used up-to-date information to streamline its business functions. Real-time technologies like VoIP, videoconferencing and UCaaS, as well as other mission-critical enterprise applications, have helped turned this concept into a reality.
End-users have high expectations for instantaneous application service and responsiveness. An unreliable network connection to an echoing VoIP call or interactive application – whether that application is SaaS, hosted in the cloud or at a private data center – will not only feel out-of-place, it will drive them away and lower productivity. Real-time customer experiences require the superior Quality of Experience (QoE) that a failsafe SD-WAN solution delivers.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the top ways a failsafe SD-WAN platform boosts QoE across the network, starting with these five to whet your appetite, and then five more in a subsequent post:
MPLS has long been the go-to option as the WAN architecture that delivers high availability together with predictable application performance (a.k.a. QoE). A failsafe SD-WAN provides these same benefits and many others, whether augmenting or replacing MPLS with inexpensive Internet connections, with a more cost-effective, flexible and carrier-agnostic solution. A failsafe SD-WAN harnesses the full aggregated bandwidth of the network and leverage multiple types of transport, including broadband, while also making real-time experiences more reliable.
Cloud access and SaaS applications are integral to real-time experiences such as document collaboration among internal users, or chat-based call center engagement with external customers. MPLS WANs never excelled at cloud access, but failsafe SD-WANs do, through more varied connectivity options and the ability to connect to the cloud points of presence and SaaS using the same failsafe technology connecting private locations.
As WANs evolve, ensuring reliable performance for real-time applications like VoIP and video will sometimes require forwarding traffic across dissimilar link types. For example, a failsafe SD-WAN can instantly determine when it's OK to split a session across multiple links, delivering predictable, superior performance. Failsafe SD-WANs move far beyond limitations of simple load balancing that often lead to poor QoE thanks issues like excessive out-of-order packets and TCP retransmissions.
Unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS) achieved liftoff in the late 2010s as many organizations transitioned from their premises-based phone systems, ditching costly PBXes for more feature-rich hosted and cloud-based alternatives. RingCentral/Oracle customer RTI discussed this migration in a recent webinar. UCaaS is a particularly great vehicle for enhanced customer care and remote team collaboration. A failsafe SD-WAN is the perfect complement to UCaaS thanks to multi-link connectivity with high QoE.
QoE and Quality of Service (QoS) go hand in hand. Whereas QoE is what the end user actually feels, QoS is the behind-the-scenes real-time network counterpart, referring to the performance of packet flows across the WAN. Routers and WAN Optimization devices have always been able to do outbound QoS on a WAN link Failsafe SD-WAN technology performs continuous, unidirectional measurement of all traffic between locations, measures latency, jitter and packet loss and enables not merely outbound QoS, but end-to-end QoS, including otherwise almost-impossible to achieve QoS on shared inbound WAN links, and thus can enables policies to ensure that QoS enforcement align with real-time requirements.
Stay tuned for part two of this series where we'll cover five more ways a failsafe SD-WAN delivers real-time QoE. In the meantime, please review our FAQ, opt in for future Oracle SD-WAN updates or request a demo to learn more about how Oracle delivers failsafe SD-WANs.