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Choosing the Right SD-WAN for Multi-Cloud Enterprise Success

Andy Gottlieb
Vice President SD-WAN Solutions

The WAN Edge is increasingly critical for cloud-based enterprise business applications. This critical network access point is continually shifting and the latest push to the cloud is causing disruption to reliable network transport in the Enterprise. Enterprises depend on their networks to generate valuable data and insights so as to avoid losing business to competitors due to poor network performance and user experience. Increasing amounts of digital data makes it all the more critical to minimize the potential problem of the WAN edge becoming the enterprise network choke point.

Oracle recently collaborated with Zeus Kerravala at ZK Research to discuss what enterprises should do to alleviate their network traffic jams as more and more applications move off prem and into the cloud. Zeus confirms that cloud-based applications and business processes are set to overtake traditional on-prem solutions in 2019. In fact, the ZK Research 2019 Cloud Forecast validates the enterprise cloud dependence. This five-year forecast for cloud computing shows workloads in traditional data centers are on a sharp decline, with public and hybrid clouds ascending. In 2018, traditional on-premises data centers held 53 percent of workloads, while public and private cloud held a combined 47 percent. By the end of 2019, it is predicted traditional IT infrastructure will dip below 50 percent, and it will sit at 36 percent in 2022.  In three short years, public and private cloud combined will hold 64 percent of the market.

Back to user and the enterprise WAN: Yes, networking connects users to applications, but applications were more centralized in the private data center era, and securely and reliably accessible via the enterprise’s private (expensive) MPLS network. Now, applications are distributed, and data is everywhere, yet user expectations of application performance have not changed – except perhaps to grow even greater.

Digital businesses perform customer transactions in real-time. The enterprise WAN requires security, reliability, and QoE in order to meet these real-time requirements. As a result, the multi-cloud environment appears as one seamless network for all digital business transactions. It needs to be at least as good as the private WAN, private data center approach.

Enter failsafe SD-WANs

Why failsafe?  Because only failsafe SD-WANs deliver both non-real-time applications such as email, customer-relationship management (CRM) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and real-time applications including Voice over IP (VoIP), call centers as a service (CCaaS) and video— regardless of whether the SD-WAN is built on hybrid MPLS plus Internet connectivity or entirely over-the-top of Internet connections. Without failsafe SD-WAN technology, cloud migration efforts often fail, and return on investment (ROI) severely impacted.

This brings us to a few closing business points in the ZK Research paper on gaining the most from SD-WAN:

Customers require carrier-agnostic SD-WAN deployment flexibility. They also want a per-location choice of either a physical appliance—in a virtual form factor or deployed directly in the cloud—and consumable as OpEx or CapEx. ZK Research offers five cautions for buyers to ensure their multi-cloud enterprise success.

  • Old decision criteria for network services, such as incumbency and market share, will not be enough in the multi-cloud era;
  • Evaluators of network services must align their decision-making criteria with cloud enablers such as failsafe capabilities and cloud application performance;
  • Network strategies must now change;
  • In the cloud era, “good enough” is no longer good enough.  Businesses must consider the network a strategic cloud enabler;
  • This isn’t your father’s IT environment, and it shouldn’t rely upon your father’s network. 

For all ZK Research’s guidelines, please read the new “The Right SD-WAN” whitepaper and download the Oracle Communications eBook "10 Tips for Building a Failsafe Network."