Redefining infrastructure with software-defined technology

Charbel Khneisser, Regional Presales Director for EMEA emerging markets at Riverbed, discusses.
Riverbed, Tech, Business, Society


We're talking about network infrastructure, not physical infrastructure like the Dubai Marina.

As business agility becomes a board level priority, organisations from all markets are undergoing a wide-scale refresh of their IT infrastructure. Otherwise known as “digital transformation”, this will allow companies to innovate faster, streamline fragmented processes, increase agility and ultimately gain a competitive advantage.

Digital transformation has become an industry buzzword. It can mean anything from moving segments of a business’s network to the cloud, to provisioning a new experimentation framework, to implementing a set of compliance criteria. However, the ultimate goal of a digital transformation project is to save costs and lower management overheads, a no brainer for business leaders. But actually achieving this isn’t always guaranteed with a lack of a clear strategy or buy in from across the business and as a result, a stalled digital transformation initiative can have devastating consequences for a business’ bottom line.

Once up and running these projects can often involve additional operational and network related responsibilities, which can put pressure on an already stretched IT department, and legacy networks simply don’t have the agility and capacity to support digital transformation. It’s time to move to a next-generation, software-defined architecture.

Fundamentally, IT is able to be far more efficient in network management using SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) technology which is why SD-WAN is expected to grow to more than $8 billion by 2021 according to IDC’s Worldwide SD-WAN Forecast, 2017-2021.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN uses a software layer of technology to centralise network operation and management. This is an exciting prospect for businesses, as they are able to take advantage of a cloud-based infrastructure, deploy an immediate application policy change across the entire network, or roll out digital services more quickly.

Any IT architects and stakeholders who are evolving their organisation’s network to support digital transformation should consider the adoption of SD-WAN technology. Managing network traffic, ensuring bandwidth availability and maintaining performance can be a demanding time for staff, building on the complexity of a traditional network. SD-WAN takes on a lot of the heavy lifting for companies undergoing a cloud migration, as it simplifies the infrastructure, making it much easier to use and manage. Ultimately, SD-WAN technology has become a critical component of an infrastructure refresh for many organisations.

The benefits of SD-WAN

The two of the main reasons for deploying SD-WAN technology are to save money and maximise resources. These may seem obvious, but need to be emphasised when messaging the benefits of this transition to business stakeholders. This is also important to bear in mind when summarising the benefits of SD-WAN technology for IT teams.

As applications and their workloads move to the cloud and as business operations are distributed, connectivity becomes another high priority for IT departments, who are also tasked with improving the efficiency of the network. SD-WAN can take advantage of additional sources of bandwidth, such as broadband internet, which are less expensive than relying on traditional MLPS (multiprotocol label switching) for connectivity. In addition to this, it also provides clear visibility to the IT personnel of the stability and agility of their network. For this to work, however, organisations need a wide-scale compliance push. This is where a centralised management system of an SD-WAN solution enables a task that was once very time consuming to be implemented with just a few clicks.

For network provisioning demands, SD-WAN’s centralised management capability makes this task incredibly fast with the ability to monitor all network resources. This in turn ensures that the impact on the overall network performance is not jeopardised.

Redefining infrastructure with SD-WAN

By implementing SD-WAN as part of an infrastructure overhaul, it can reduce the expenses associated with the traditional network. In addition, it can enable organisations to deliver greater flexibility and operational efficiency to the IT department. This newfound efficiency and effectiveness of IT with the use of SD-WAN technology is invaluable for today’s cloud-first organisations and companies embarking on a digital transformation journey.

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