Say what? SD-WAN set to change communication status quo

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As more applications move to the cloud, companies are finding multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is no longer sufficient to address today’s WAN requirements. In fact, it’s a little like playing “broken telephone”.

Value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited, has recently positioned itself in the emerging SD-WAN market as the sole distributor for Silver Peak, the global leader in broadband and hybrid WAN solutions, across the Sub-Saharan market.

“Research has shown that globally, a significant number of companies are making a rapid move from private line MPLS to broadband software defined WAN (SD-WAN). Across Africa, we are expecting the same. Especially when considering that numerous companies operating in the region do business through geographically distributed offices located across the vast continent.

“Networks Unlimited is excited to position itself in assisting these progressive companies to both adopt SD-WAN and in this way quickly achieve the benefits of performance, visibility, security, extensible architecture and savings,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited.

Illustrating the rapid adoption of this new technology is the Silver Peak and IDG Connect Survey, which asked mid-market and enterprise companies, what they are thinking about when it comes to SD-WANs. The response was phenomenal and 92 percent of companies surveyed have plans to implement SD-WAN in the next 12 months.

“Respondents are not simply saying they’re going to make broadband an active link, they’re saying their WAN will be based on broadband. That means reliance on costly MPLS links will diminish – maybe not replaced entirely, but will quickly wane. It’s pretty aggressive to consider that in a year’s time broadband will become the preferred source of connectivity,” states Nick Applegarth, vice president, sales for EMEA at Silver Peak.

An important driver for SD-WAN adoption, he points out, is that the cloud is no longer a nice-to-have, but an all-important necessity for any organisation. “And organisations are showing a keen desire to operate at ‘cloud speed’,” highlights Applegarth.

The majority of today’s business applications reside in the cloud – for instance, SaaS-, proprietary data centre-, remote replication-, workforce collaboration-, and IaaS applications – and MPLS is no longer sufficient Leveraging the cloud via SD-WAN however enables companies to ‘spin up’ new services in minutes rather than days and weeks.

“MPLS is an older system that was implemented when broadband was not readily available, and the legacy WAN was designed assuming that most of its traffic – and its most important traffic –was internal. The WAN’s traffic was branch to data centre, or branch to branch. But today, branch-to-cloud traffic is the fastest growing traffic and the most critical traffic for many enterprises.

“The legacy WAN often forces branch-to-cloud traffic to take trombone routes through the data centre, raising WAN costs and impeding applications performance,” explains Applegarth.

“The move to SD-WAN is set to fundamentally change the status quo of companies’ communication. When it comes to the legacy WAN, the idiom ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ comes to mind. A new WAN is needed and the good news is that it is here and ready to be deployed in an instant,” reiterates Jacobsz.

Yet, what if an organisation is reluctant to transition to a broadband SD-WAN overnight? “While the ultimate goal may be an SD-WAN, enterprises can begin their journey with a hybrid WAN. As MPLS upgrades arise, businesses can explore lower-cost broadband Internet services as an alternative for connecting to cloud applications. This provides an opportunity to downsize MPLS bandwidth and only use that connectivity for remaining data centre applications. Enterprises can begin to slowly migrate additional applications from the data centre to the cloud as desired,” Applegarth confirms.

Immediate or step-by-step – the transition to SD-WAN has begun in earnest, don’t get left behind.

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