What’s Driving SD-WAN Adoption?

cloud photo is metaphor for SD-WAN cloud tech

cloud photo is metaphor for SD-WAN cloud tech

dowload a printable PDF of this article As enterprises adopt more cloud-based services, they’re finding that their WANs aren’t up to the job. Traditionally, enterprises built their WANs using multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) services, and backhauled Internet traffic from their branch offices through their corporate data centers. While backhauling enables organizations to centralize Internet security, it creates performance problems with cloud-based services.

The rise of the cloud has contributed to the rapid growth of the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) market, which IDC expects to reach $8 billion by 2021. IDC recently published the results of an extensive global survey of current and future enterprise plans for SD-WAN adoption. The study examines the relationship between SD-WAN and cloud services, WAN management and operational requirements, and the potential impact SD-WAN will have on overall enterprise IT efficiency.

IDC surveyed more than 1,200 midmarket and enterprise organizations worldwide to determine their needs and priorities for SD-WAN. The study found that SD-WAN enables these organizations to optimize their cloud applications and create a dynamic and secure WAN across branch locations. Enterprises said they are using SD-WAN to simplify WAN infrastructure, use multiple WAN providers and to offload non-critical business apps to broadband Internet services.

The top driver for SD-WAN adoption is “bandwidth optimization,” cited by 36 percent of survey respondents. Organizations are also looking to SD-WAN for “consistent application security” (31 percent) and “improved automation and self-provisioning” (28 percent). Faster deployment, operational efficiency and reduced IT complexity also ranked high as motivational factors for enterprises considering SD-WAN.

Small Business and SD-WAN

But what about small businesses? They have many of these same needs, and generally lack the IT resources to implement and support complicated networking equipment. Their ideal SD-WAN solution would be a plug-and-play appliance that integrates seamlessly with their existing infrastructure. Trouble is, most SD-WAN solutions are designed for large enterprises, with complicated configurations, policy definitions and management.

InSpeed is different. Plug it in, turn it on and it automatically begins streamlining the Internet, creating a self-driving WAN that eliminates management headaches. InSpeed enables organizations of all sizes—and even home office workers—to optimize interactive and cloud-based applications without breaking their budgets.

The IDC report also notes that SD-WAN allows organizations to take advantage of multiple connectivity options. The centralized controller that’s core to SD-WAN technology makes it possible to leverage a hybrid WAN that incorporates broadband, 4G/LTE and satellite services. A software overlay abstracts the complexity of the underlying networks, and application and network visibility enable intelligent path selection across WAN links.

This flexibility is a godsend for locations that lack access to reliable Internet services, as well as for temporary sites and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Multiple connections also provide a hedge against service provider outages, improving business continuity.

Of course, making all this work properly is immensely difficult. Enterprise SD-WAN solutions typically provide administrative interfaces so that network engineers can implement failover policies and control each connection. Some vendors have introduced so-called “edge” solutions that are less complex but also have fewer capabilities.
InSpeed works with any WAN connection, and makes routing decisions inside the InSpeed cloud. It adjusts to the bandwidth that’s available, ensuring top performance for voice, videoconferencing and cloud-based services.

Whether your with a small business or a large enterprise, our experts are happy to answer all your questions about SD-WAN.

How the Right SD-WAN Simplifies Branch IT Management


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The IT requirements of branch locations have gotten pretty complicated. Organizations in retail, hospitality, education, healthcare and many other sectors are implementing advanced applications, high-end audio/visual technology and sophisticated collaboration tools across their remote offices.

In many cases, there’s no onsite IT support for these locations. The headquarters IT team has to maintain the technology in remote offices on top of managing mission-critical systems and applications, responding to end-user support requests, and trying to stay a step ahead of security threats.

The right SD-WAN solution can help reduce that burden. SD-WAN applies software-defined principles to WAN connectivity, eliminating the need for complex, manual configurations at the device level. Routing decisions are made based upon policies, and the entire WAN can be managed from one centralized controller.

InSpeed Networks takes this a step further, eliminating the need for IT to define policies. Plug in an InSpeed appliance and it automatically begins managing WAN traffic. All of your remote locations enjoy high-quality voice and video and improved application performance, with zero management headaches.

Have questions about how SD-Wan can simplify your IT Support? Get in touch.

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

Which Way To SD-WAN?

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

The Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) market is exciting. Unfortunately, it’s confusing, too. This confusion is due in part to the sweeping promises of some SD-WAN vendors to solve all possible network ills with a Swiss Army Knife approach, leading to complex products and a bewildering array of options. The confusion is also due to terminology. Just as the phrase “Unified Communications” took on a lot of different (and sometimes conflicting) meanings early in that market’s evolution, so “SD-WAN” has come to mean different things to different people today.

Unrealistic promises and vague terminology make product comparisons difficult. As a result, many IT managers are having a hard time deciding which SD-WAN solution is the right one for their organization.

What does SD-WAN really mean? And how, given all these different definitions and products, should an organization go about selecting the SD-WAN solution that meets its particular needs?

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SD-WAN Defined

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s a pared-down, no-frills definition of SD-WAN:

SD-WAN is formally defined as the application of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) ideas to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.

InSpeed Networks is the only provider of SD-WAN solutions that were designed from the ground-up to address the needs of interactive applications. InSpeed’s solutions use unique proprietary technology that combine voice prioritization, with dynamic congestion management, to guarantee optimum performance for voice traffic, and improve overall throughput for data traffic, even over a single link.

Although the SD-WAN market is crowded with many players, including big name network equipment providers and new innovative start-ups, all SD-WAN solutions today include the following features:

  • A central controller that establishes network-wide policies and determines roles for each network device under management.
  • Commodity vanilla hardware runs the networking function.

Industry analyst firm Gartner suggests that, in addition to providing these basic features, SD-WAN solutions should also provide the following:

  • Support for multiple types of network connections (MPLS, cable, DSL, LTE)
  • Support for VPNs
  • Dynamic load-sharing of traffic over multiple connections
  • A simple management interface and support for zero-touch provisioning

Why provide networking features in software in the first place? In part, to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing. When network controls are implemented in software, they can be deployed wherever makes the most sense—in virtual machines on premises, in a dedicated data center, or even in a public cloud—and they can scale dynamically to meet performance and usage requirements that fluctuate in real time. Simply put: Software-defined networking solutions can match or exceed the performance of earlier solutions while delivering the cost savings for which cloud computing is famous.

 

Bold Promises, Mixed Results

SD-WAN sounds great in theory, but in practice many SD-WAN solutions on the market today have not delivered on their promises. Complex provisioning and maintenance, incompatibility with existing network elements, and the inability to adjust automatically to changing network conditions, have led to iffy cost savings and questionable improvements in service quality.

What many SMBs and enterprises need is a solution that moves beyond SD-WAN to provide:

  • A comprehensive service, not a toolkit that requires sophisticated IT staff to implement
  • A solution targeted at essential enterprise needs such as Unified Communications, high quality voice or smooth videoconferencing—applications that employees and customers depend on, but which are poorly served by most SD-WAN solutions. Beyond replicating basic network routing features in software, the optimal SD-WAN solution will shape WAN traffic in real time to minimize network latency problems that lead to “robot voice” on VoIP calls and frozen frames/distorted audio in videoconferencing sessions.
  • A self-driving service that requires no on-going administration—an essential capability for supporting branch offices that have little or no IT staff.
  • Traffic optimization over a single WAN link, eliminating the expense and overhead of provisioning, managing, and paying for redundant links.

 

Selecting an SD-WAN Solution

When evaluating SD-WAN solutions, it’s important to consider the following issues:

Controlling your network

  • Is there a single point of administration and centralized control?
  • Do you have the manpower to administer yet another networking technology, or would you prefer one that is autonomous?

Traditional MPLS WAN vs Commodity Internet Plus SD-WAN

  • What is your current monthly cost for your network connectivity?
  • Would scaling up your current WAN technology be affordable? Are you sure that scaling would fix your QoS issues with interactive applications?
  • Are you looking to save money, increase throughput and ensure high quality voice calls?

Public Internet WAN

  • Does your current Internet connectivity provider offer optimized redundancy for your needs (active-active or active-passive)?
  • Would an overlay SD-WAN solution with your existing WAN provider solve critical QoS problems for interactive communications and meet your organization’s SD-WAN needs?

Requirements for Business Continuity

  • Has you measured the business costs of interruptions to IP telephony and videoconferencing services?
  • To achieve business goals, customer satisfaction goals, and SLAs, does your organization require virtually no Internet connectivity downtime?
  • How much investment and IT labor could be saved if an SD-WAN solution could provide Business Continuity without requiring an additional network connection?
  • Does the SD-WAN solution automatically shape traffic to guarantee QoS regardless of fluctuating network conditions?

Security

  • Does the SD-WAN solution being considered provide sufficient security for business communications? Are interoffice communications protected with encryption?

 

Beyond SD-WAN: The InSpeed IQS Solution

InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) is an SD-WAN solution that moves beyond typical SD-WAN features and implementations.

IQS is specifically focused on the needs of customers with interactive applications such as voice and videoconferencing. Unlike other SD-WAN offerings, InSpeed’s solution is designed from the ground up to address the specific needs of interactive applications like voice. Unique in the SD-WAN market, IQS guarantees that the connection will be low-latency, ensuring high quality voice calls and videoconference sessions.

Like other SD-WAN offerings, IQS provides an alternative to expensive dedicated circuits that have traditionally been used to guarantee 100% uptime and data security, by allowing customers to utilize multiple commodity Internet links and full AES-encrypted VPN mesh connections. But unlike competitive SD-WAN solutions, IQS also has unique proprietary technology that combines voice prioritization with dynamic congestion management. This proprietary technology guarantees optimum performance for voice traffic and improves overall throughput for data traffic over a single link. This allows a customer to get great value from IQS with a simple plug-and-play installation into their existing network, saving the cost and delays of implementing yet another network connection for each site.

 

Conclusion

With the InSpeed SD-WAN solution, it’s now possible to make reliable IP telephony calls and experience smooth videoconferencing over any network connection, all the time.

The SD-WAN marketplace is crowded. By taking a Voice First™ approach and focusing on the interactive services that organizations depend on, InSpeed brings clarity to SMBs and enterprises interested in improving network experience while enjoying the cost savings of SDN technology.

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Why InSpeed Quality Service Is Essential to Digital Transformation

InSpeed is Essential in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation holds great promise, but presents significant challenges – as applications shift to the cloud new networking solutions are required.

InSpeed is Essential in Digital Transformation

IT industry analysts typically spend the latter part of each year making predictions about which technologies will get the most traction in the days to come. For 2017, experts have their eyes on things like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics and 3-D printing. Of course, they expect the Internet of Things to continue its rapid expansion and Big Data to get exponentially bigger.

Prognostications are all well and good, but what business leaders care about is the impact these technologies will have on their organizations. The pace of technology change is accelerating, and digital-native startups are gaining a competitive advantage over established firms. That’s why a concept known as digital transformation is a top priority for business leaders in organizations of all sizes. According to research firm IDC, a majority of CEOs will put digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategies by the end of 20171.

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Digital transformation is about fully leveraging technology to change business processes and models — it is more than just adopting new technology. Organizations that embrace digital transformation are able to use IT to boost productivity, enhance the customer experience and drive innovation. Those that don’t are at risk of being displaced by more agile and responsive competitors.

For most organizations, digital transformation involves the use of cloud computing (which is expected to consume half of IT spending by 2018, according to IDC1), mobility and data analytics. These technologies enable organizations to streamline business processes, optimize customer interactions and create new revenue streams by reliably delivering applications to employees anytime, anywhere. Collaboration also plays a key role, providing the tools geographically dispersed teams need to effectively communicate and share information.

Digital transformation holds great promise — but also presents significant challenges. Many organizations are struggling with legacy IT infrastructure that is incapable of adapting to today’s changing workloads. The blend of onsite, remote and cloud hosted applications presents a highly complex operating environment. Furthermore, the Internet is rapidly replacing the corporate network as the primary conduit for accessing critical business applications. IT is losing its ability to control, secure and manage the enterprise environment from end to end, and perhaps most importantly, to guarantee a quality experience for its users.

InSpeed Networks gives you back that control, Streamlining the Internet™ so that it can truly support interactive and business applications. InSpeed Network’s unique solution moves beyond software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) by automatically optimizing network profiles, even under the most challenging conditions. InSpeed Networks ensures Quality of Service for voice, videoconferencing and other business applications, resolving the performance problems inherent with using the Internet as the primary means of connection. And it does all that Over-The-Top using existing infrastructure, including low-cost DSL and cable connections.

It’s easy to understand why InSpeed Networks is essential to digital transformation. The technologies at the heart of digital transformation — cloud computing, mobility and analytics — demand a robust yet agile network capable of handling ever-increasing data volumes and large numbers of devices. InSpeed Quality Service™ provides the intelligence needed to ensure reliable communication and application performance.

Digital transformation is a long and difficult journey that will fundamentally change the competitive landscape. To be successful, organizations need a network infrastructure capable of supporting cloud-based and interactive applications, and data-intensive workloads.

Let InSpeed Networks show you how to Streamline your Internet connectivity so you can better leverage technology to drive your business forward. Click the link below to download our white paper today.

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