IM SD-WAN: Just the Ticket for Greater Flexibility and Lowered Costs
May 18, 2017

Jeremy Rossbach
CA Technologies

I normally start to plan our summer family vacation around this time of year. I to ensure we spend more time and money enjoying our destination than the journey. And that can mean using up-and-coming providers and alternative transport routes.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, challenging traditional approaches with emerging technologies and innovative strategies can provide organizations with that all-important competitive edge.

The wide area network (WAN) has been the backbone of multi-site enterprises for decades, but it’s entering a new era. As organizations move more workloads to the cloud, the WAN will need to graduate to a new level of intelligence to ensure itself as a resilient pathway to a reliable cloud experience.

Flying High

SD-WANs are leading the software-defined networking charge, with 70 percent of businesses planning to adopt the technology in some form in the next 18 months with a 20 percent expectation in cost savings.

So why the change of direction?

According to a new white paper by Enterprise Management Associates, the main reason is improved application performance. Better network security and reduced operational costs are also cited as key business drivers.

But cost savings, security and application performance benefits will only be realized if network operations evolve their network performance monitoring tools and practices to monitor this new, smarter technology.

SD-WAN introduces software-defined intelligence to regulate enterprise WAN for optimal application experiences. Yet, the enterprise needs to monitor and validate this intelligence along with their traditional network for full assurance.

As SD-WAN intelligence and automation increases, the need for deep visibility into both the intelligence (control plane) and application traffic (data plane) increases, while the complexity of monitoring and correlating the underlying technologies should decrease.

Software-defined architectures will usually include multiple vendor technologies in most deployments. The need to plan and model capacity needs across disparate SD-WAN providers and technology is paramount to assure the application experience.

Go the Extra Mile

As more critical applications migrate to the cloud, network performance monitoring tools need to be able to provide visibility into the performance of their SD-WAN deployments, the associated applications and service chains as well as the legacy network supporting all of it.

With enterprises expected to initially only transition around half of their sites to a software-defined model, managing hybrid WAN environments will be a reality for many IT departments for some time to come.

Why is it so important to monitor SD-WAN automation and intelligence along with traditional WAN infrastructure?

1. You gain an understanding of your SD-WAN deployment including site, connectivity, and application SLA performance for both the Control and Data plane.

2. You ensure the user experience compared to SD-WAN policies using traffic and precision performance data.

3. You can triage performance issues within your WAN using smart dashboards, innovative visualizations, and contextual workflows which combined and correlate control plane, data plane, and flow data.

4. You understand when and why route changes are occurring to validate that SLA policies are providing expected results while appropriately leveraging the various WAN connectivity options and technologies.

5. You accurately plan SD-WAN deployments or expansions using baseline and capacity analytics to assure WAN capacity and the end-user experience.
 
The need for a new approach is clear: only 31 percent of early adopters say incumbent network monitoring and troubleshooting tools are their preferred option for managing an SD-WAN.

Establishing the right foundation will be fundamental – there’s a lot more than just network performance at stake. With the ability to rapidly provision additional connectivity in response to changing customer and market demand, SD-WANs will be essential for keeping organizations’ digitalization journeys on track.

By transforming the WAN, organizations will be able to spend less time and money on provisioning connectivity and more time and money on enriching the customer experience. To learn more visit us at network performance monitoring.

Jeremy Rossbach is Sr Product Marketing Manager at CA Technologies.

Jeremy Rossbach is Sr. Principal Product Marketing Manager, Network Operations and Analytics, at CA Technologies
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