In the last decade, two major technology trends have converged and are set to have a significant effect on corporate networks: virtual computing and the rise of cloud technology. Both of these trends dramatically increase the importance of the corporate network on business performance.
The result is a significant increase in network traffic, from branch to datacenter, from branch to branch, and between various devices and the datacenter. And much of this traffic is real-time communications, including video and voice. This results in the necessity for more bandwidth, more latency-sensitive applications, and more reliance on network availability and quality.
The emergence of new technologies has meant that network traffic in distributed organizations is manipulated in new ways. Not only do remote users need more bandwidth, notably in areas such as video or media, but they now expect immediate access to cloud-based applications, Software as a Service (SaaS), and remote storage apps.
The problem with traditional MPLS networks
Traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks that carry traffic from remote offices to the datacenter cannot offer the high bandwidth, low latency, and high performance needed to access cloud-based applications. Combined with the complexity of remote operations and new management and security requirements, MPLS networks are out of their depth.
Current network architecture is more than a decade old and is therefore not prepared for today’s challenges, marked by an increase in connected devices, mobility, cloud models, and security needs. The result? The current infrastructure is unable to comply with the security requirements and current business models. These require fast response times that are unavailable over an inflexible network. All this makes the evolution of the network a priority, not just for the CIO, but the entire management structure.
New networks must meet growing business needs
Business needs and market trends drive network evolution—a fact that can no longer be ignored by management. Enterprises need an intelligent network that can adapt accordingly. The new network concept must:
- Connect users to applications regardless of the desktop device or connectivity route and whether it resides in the private or public cloud.
- Provide a uniform experience irrespective of where the connection is made.
- Optimize traffic for cloud and mobility, providing the best user experience.
- Apply prioritization and optimization criteria depending on the data and applications used.
- Allow applications to be deployed without special network requirements.
- Simplify the management overhead of distributed services, even, ideally, automating them.
- Provide more visibility to network managers, allowing them to eliminate potential conflicts in the network.
- Integrate security into the network with multiple layers and multiple control points.
- Rapidly provision applications and services in order to maintain the business’ competitive edge.
With the growth of mobile applications, network managers must also anticipate and plan alternative methods of connection for mobile devices in the corporate WAN to allow users better connectivity away from the office.
Mobile optimization is the second highest priority for CIOs, and by 2018 mobile devices will form half of the user base, according to Gartner.
SD-WAN: Responding to the needs of distributed enterprises
Companies are looking for cost-effective solutions that simplify operations. A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) integrates with your existing WAN architecture to streamline management and improve network efficiency. SD-WAN uses software to identify the most effective way to route traffic to remote locations. SD-WAN transfers network monitoring and management from physical devices to a central controller, allowing network managers to configure and control traffic based on centralized security policies and rules.
Simplify network management
SD- WAN uses cloud-based software and technology to simplify the delivery of WAN services to remote offices. Software-based virtualization enables network administrators to manage network services more easily through abstraction of higher-level functionality. SD-WAN allows IT and business managers to quickly and easily deploy internet-based connectivity that provides a secured and reliable connection, with better bandwidth and lower costs.
For businesses looking for an alternative solution for their remote offices and mobile device connectivity, SD-WAN is relatively easy to implement and will result in significant gains.
The network has become a strategic asset and the need has arisen to move to SD-WANs, which solves big issues for network administrators. This new way of looking at the network gives the needed flexibility and responsiveness, together with the control and security necessary to deliver on the needs to the new distributed enterprise.
SD-WAN: Factors to consider
When evaluating SD-WAN deployment, network administrators and business managers should take into account certain factors:
- It’s easy to rollout and administer. A key benefit of SD-WAN is its ease and speed of deployment to remote offices. There’s no need to send IT professionals to the offices and no need to individually configure each appliance.
- Migration to hybrid networks is an option. Most organizations have distributed MPLS deployed in remote offices. Companies can deploy SD-WAN solutions without changing existing networks. Over time however, they can migrate to less expensive public broadband circuits.
- Automated traffic management. SD-WAN provides the ability to prioritize traffic and mitigate the impact of network outages. The key is to provide network managers with intuitive tools to easily configure priorities automatically, based on real-time network load.
NetScaler SD-WAN: Citrix’s challenge in the SD-WAN arena
Traditional WANs were not designed for today’s bandwidth demands. Given this, the WAN solution offered by Citrix’s NetScaler SD-WAN provides high levels of scalability, reliability, and adaptability to distributed enterprises. Citrix’s offering combines the strengths its other products while leveraging smart WAN technologies, WAN optimization, and application management to create a unique solution that provides a high quality experience for users in remote offices and on the move.
This solution reduces the bandwidth requirement needed to deliver such a user experience with minimum administration of remote offices, reducing the need for onsite technical support. And it can provide these features with less financial outlay due to significant savings in the remote communications infrastructure.
The principal benefits of NetScaler SD-WAN:
- Guaranteed business continuity and disaster recovery
- Reduced communication costs
- Improved application performance for mobile users, as well as those in remote branches and offices
NetScaler SD-WAN integrates mobile and satellite connectivity options, using the best in each case. Connectivity changes automatically, depending on the quality and availability at any moment in time, avoiding manual intervention.
Before, the agency had to choose between low bandwidth with high latency, or more expensive connection options. NetScaler SD-WAN chooses the best option, which significantly improves network performance.