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Understanding WAN Design and Managed Services in the Age of SD-WAN

WAN Summit

By Elizabeth ThorneNov 16, 2018

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There’s been huge growth in corporate internet traffic in the last seven years.

We’ve seen the adoption of public cloud and software-as-a-service applications—and the subsequent migration of business applications to the public cloud.

During our recent WAN Summit Singapore, Orange Business Services (OBS) provided a peek behind the curtain of enterprise SD-WAN rollouts in this increasingly internet-centric environment.

Laurent Perrin, marketing director of application driven networks at OBS, sees SD-WAN as the best way to help businesses manage the shift from an all-MPLS world into a hybrid one that includes a wide spectrum of internet options like broadband and DIA. He has found that SD-WAN delivers more intelligence and agility to an IP network.

This increased agility is in high demand from OBS customers looking to transform their networks.

The OBS team has seen that customers want to add new sites and applications rapidly. They want to adapt and adjust their network to new application flows and traffic. They ultimately want more visibility without compromising security—and they want to do at least some of this management themselves.

But is it all too much to ask for?

Discover, Think, Design

OBS has found that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to making the move to SD-WAN.

However, there are steps a business can take to figure out the best path forward.

Step one, according to the OBS team, is “discover, think, and design.”

This just means that a business must understand its data, says James Soo, SDx solution expert for OBS Asia Pacific. “Start by understanding and analyzing your data, how you consume data, what you’re doing with it, how you expect it to evolve in the next few years.”

Soo says that businesses should do application audits so they have a clear understanding of how SD-WAN can help them. “Do your due diligence—do a proof of concept in labs or on premise to help you to understand how SD-WAN works.”

“There is no one size that fits all in terms of technology vendor or transformation. It’s down to your needs and how you expect SD-WAN to help you."

The next step is to pilot and deploy.

Soo has found that some customers expect to move over 50 sites in a week, while others are happy to move over a longer time. “There is no one size that fits all in terms of technology vendor or transformation. It’s down to your needs and how you expect SD-WAN to help you,” he says. “Pilot different site profiles, engage closely with your technology partners, set your transformation milestones and expectations.”

Deployment is not the end of the process, however, as an enterprise’s data needs will continuously evolve past the parameters of the initial rollout. “The beauty of SD-WAN,” Soo says, "is that using SD-WAN policies, we can very easily optimize and tweak and even protect your new products and new traffic as they come in.”

Challenges in Asia-Pac

The unique challenges of building high quality networks in the Asia-Pacific region were put under the microscope at the WAN Summit Singapore.

With more than 27 countries, 1.9 billion internet users, and 100 network operators, addressing customer security, visibility, and control remains challenging. And then there’s the added complication of differing grades of service and regulations country to country.

The OBS team had two recommendations for coping.

The first was to find a vendor with strong ISP sourcing expertise to help you through your journey.

The second was to map out exactly what you want from the internet and the type of vendor you hope to work with. Soo sees outlining the data you plan to run through the internet as a helpful starting point for finding the right path forward.

Soo shared the experiences of an OBS customer—a global engineering company—in the region. The business was looking for cost savings from a hybrid WAN. They also wanted to reduce management overhead by having a single provider deliver as many services as possible.

“We gave them visibility over how they consumed data and helped them to see how they might consume data in the next six months to a year.”

“We gave them visibility over how they consumed data and helped them to see how they might consume data in the next six months to a year,” says Soo. “They came back to us with a question about China. The business has a site in China and wanted to use the internet. In China, from a regulatory perspective, you have to use a tier 1 provider."

The OBS team recommended terminating all internet traffic within China to avoid any cross-border congestion. It’s a prime example of coupling ISP sourcing expertise with a strong understanding of your internet usage needs to make wise strategic decisions.

 

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