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Guest Blog: Trends and Challenges for Corporate Networks

Greg Bryan, Senior Analyst at TeleGeography, chair of the WAN Summit series and guest moderator at Globalinternet’s Connectivity Circle shares some of the key trends and challenges currently facing corporate network designers and sourcing professionals.


1. SD-WAN Adoption opens up underlay options

Unless you have been hiding under a rock – or perhaps in an old PBX telephone closet in a basement somewhere – you are by now well familiar with SD-WAN”. – Greg says. TeleGeography’s research shows that the vast majority of enterprises have SD-WAN adoption on their radars, with 83% respondents saying they were at least considering SD-WAN or were further along in adoption.

  • 18% of respondents already had SD-WAN installed on all or much of their network
  • 25% were in the pilot or roll-out stage
  • Another 32% were researching providers or service options

Unless you have been hiding under a rock – or perhaps in an old PBX telephone closet in a basement somewhere – you are by now well familiar with SD-WAN”

- Greg Bryan

SD-WAN is inevitable for most network managers, but what does it mean for the WAN itself? Most WAN managers are considering SD-WAN to:

  • Improve performance
  • Get faster provisioning times
  • Open up underlay sourcing options
  • Increase site bandwidth

While two-thirds of our respondents did not yet plan to leave MPLS behind altogether, many are adding local internet breakouts, using LTE as an alternative connection, and generally boosting office bandwidth with DIA and business broadband. This is thanks to the active-active load-sharing capabilities of SD-WAN.

2. Cloud Connectivity

Two related trends in enterprise computing have shaken up the network: migration of the data center from corporate premises to colocation/neutral facilities and migration of corporate compute and data to IaaS cloud providers.

As with SD-WAN, cloud connectivity illustrates the importance of Internet as a network option.

While many enterprises are running some kind of direct connect to their IaaS providers, IPSec VPN run over an internet connection is the most popular choice for cloud connectivity. More than a third of respondents also used basic internet to access their IaaS provider.

3. Adding Bandwidth and Cutting Costs

Datacenter migration, cloud computing, unified communications, SaaS adoption, and general digital transformation of the enterprise all mean one thing to a WAN manager: increased bandwidth demand!

The high cost of MPLS links—particularly in less competitive countries—might prohibit boosting bandwidth to levels that the modern enterprise customer needs. However, alternatives to MPLS like DIA and business broadband have the promise of significant bandwidth increases while keeping costs the same—or even dramatically lower.

While most enterprises are keeping MPLS for now, just reducing MPLS port/circuit sizes and adding broadband can achieve these two goals.

alternatives to MPLS like DIA and business broadband have the promise of significant bandwidth increases while keeping costs the same—or even dramatically lower".

- Greg Bryan

To test these underlay options, TeleGeography created a hypothetical 150-site global network, based on their typical WAN Cost Benchmark customer, starting out with a mostly MPLS WAN with backups and then add SD-WAN and change the underlay to see how costs change. These are the key takeaways from this exercise and scenarios explored:

  • The average site bandwidth increased in each scenario from 125 Mbps in the original MPLS WAN to 241 Mbps in the DIA hybrid and as much as 420 Mbps for the all-internet WAN.
  • Even after adding capacity and SD-WAN, costs go down.
  • The DIA hybrid annual TCO is about 15% below the original MPLS.
  • Limiting MPLS only to core sites was 45% cheaper, and all internet was a 54% decrease.

Would you like to know more? Join Greg and other network professionals and business leaders at the Connectivity Circle this 12th of December to learn, share and be inspired. Learn more at: http://www.connectivitycircle.net/