How to add flexibility to networking with SD-WAN

With remote and hybrid workplaces becoming the new normal, a growing number of enterprises are reconstructing their networks to adapt to a more distributed workforce, ensuring operations continue to run smoothly.

More enterprises are looking to expand their cloud strategies, whether it be private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud, and pivot their network to meet changing demands. Market data backs this up, with worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services set to grow by 20.4% in 2022 to reach a total of US$494.7 billion, reaching nearly US$600 billion by 2023, according to Gartner.

With modern day connectivity, it has become a necessity to take an in-depth look into wide-area network (WAN) architecture to help maximise results, cloud efficiency, performance, and security. Plus, with multi-cloud strategies on the rise, simple and seamless management has never been more important across an enterprise’s WAN.

Providers have had an influx of enterprises searching to deploy cloud-first technologies such as software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) to gain better control and visibility into the WAN regardless of the transport, cloud, or other endpoints. Despite this, many do not know the ins and outs of the network, and in turn, are not aware of the importance of the underlay network.

There are a number of critical things that enterprises should know to ensure the success of their cloud strategy:

Architecture ensures performance

With more deployments of functions and services, enterprises should know the three key levels of architectural design:

  • Functional architecture
  • Data and workload construct
  • The design of the network

The first two are within the enterprise’s business architecture – the functional architecture of applications, and their data and workload construct. The third refers to the design of the network, based on the interaction of business architecture, which is how critical applications are, as well as external interfaces.

A service provider should help design a network that is flexible and focuses on mission-critical elements, whilst utilising overlay solutions to manage the whole process end to end.

The cloud has hidden costs

Some of the biggest hidden costs from the cloud are data egress fees, which many enterprises are unaware of until they cause budget issues. Egress fees refer to the cost of data leaving the cloud environment, which – especially at volume – can lead to massive data egress costs, creating budget issues and challenging an enterprise’s overall cloud model.

Leveraging a private network backbone for a direct connection to cloud services can reduce packet loss and offer greater security for data in transit, as well as reduce the cost of data egress at volume.

Solutions to manage multi-cloud sprawl 

Strategically distributing an enterprise’s data between multiple cloud providers can achieve greater efficiencies and economies of scale. However, with more than one cloud, operational visibility and control can become challenging, not forgetting the need to deal with multiple service providers.

Over time, the multi-cloud sprawl can result in:

  • IT governance challenges
  • Security inconsistencies
  • High costs

A service provider and enterprise should work cohesively to simplify the connectivity between clouds, sites, and users. Enterprises can use solutions provided by service providers to build a repeatable network architecture based on native cloud constructs.

Finding alternatives to point-to-point cloud connections 

Most cloud providers provide direct connectivity for interfacing with their cloud. Despite this, once an enterprise buys a port, many cloud providers make it difficult to scale up the bandwidth and require the enterprise to buy an additional port.

Enterprises need to find a provider that can provide a secure, scalable, and on-demand direct interface with leading cloud providers, to ensure there are no hefty fees required for expansion.

The SD-WAN underlay is key

Enterprises that use multiple clouds over multiple sites must understand that SD-WAN is not a “one-size-fits-all” connectivity option. Service providers that solely offer SD-WAN over an enterprise’s existing network should be avoided, since this will usually not meet the requirements of latency-sensitive applications and services, and can lead to a poor user experience.

It’s important for enterprises to understand the path that their data will take, in order to develop a successful solution. The quality of the underlay transport is just as important as the SD-WAN service.

The right service provider will work on a solution to ensure the support for both private and public cloud services across different locations, whilst giving control over a flexible network infrastructure that supports different levels of applications.

Confidently connecting to the cloud 

With the help of a capable vendor, an enterprise can simplify and accelerate its cloud journey in this demanding industry. A service provider can go beyond the basics and help enterprises efficiently connect to multiple cloud providers, whilst ensuring security and performance.

A comprehensive approach to the underlay and overlay network can help an enterprise reach new levels of success, reap the benefits of their cloud strategy, and become more confident moving forward.