C&M Relied on the Cloud, but They Needed the Right Architecture
The cloud has become a core component of the IT environment, with organizations devoting ever-larger portions of their budgets to cloud solutions. That’s because the cloud delivers key business benefits, including the ability to preserve capital, reduce operational overhead, implement new services faster and scale on demand.
However, traditional WAN architectures are ill-suited to cloud computing. Private circuits, such as MPLS links, are expensive, slow to provision, inflexible and complex, offsetting much of the value of the cloud. They offer guaranteed bandwidth but it comes at substantial cost, and much of it is wasted due to the inefficiencies of routing cloud traffic over MPLS.
Broadband Internet makes more sense for cloud access—it’s a small fraction of the cost of MPLS and can generally be provisioned pretty quickly. The problem is that broadband doesn’t give you guaranteed bandwidth or performance. As cloud traffic increases, other applications are going to suffer.
If you rely on cloud applications for mission-critical business processes, this can be a real problem.
For Example: Monthly Payroll Triggered Dropped Calls and Sluggish Internet
C&M Industries, an environmental services firm based in Chesapeake, Va., found that its cloud-based accounting apps caused the WAN to slow to a crawl. The problem was especially acute twice a month, when the company ran payroll for its 250 employees.
This didn’t just impact the performance of the cloud software. C&M’s Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system took the biggest hit when WAN traffic spiked. Calls would become unintelligible and drop unexpectedly.
C&M had two problems. One was a lack of bandwidth. The cable broadband link connecting its headquarters to the Internet was just 15 Mbps x 5 Mbps—the fastest available in that part of town. A nearby branch office had a 30 Mbps x 10 Mbps connection, which was better but still not terribly fast.
The other problem was a lack of traffic shaping and prioritization for VoIP calls. The Internet provides only “best effort” delivery, so voice and video conferencing traffic has to wait in line with all of the other data. C&M looked at a private VPN solution, but it didn’t provide traffic shaping capabilities. The carrier couldn’t guarantee that call quality would improve, so C&M was reluctant to make the investment.
How C&M Fixed Their Dropped Calls During Payroll and Streamlined Their Cloud Apps
That’s when the company discovered the InSpeed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution. InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) gives interactive traffic (UDP) priority over other Internet traffic (TCP) so that voice and video conferencing data goes first. It’s designed specifically to resolve the kinds of problems that plague VoIP calls when Internet traffic increases.
After installing IQS, C&M found that call quality improved immediately—even on the 15th and last of the month when the accounting department processed payroll. The company also noticed that its cloud applications and other Internet functions started performing better as well. That’s because IQS manages bandwidth both downstream and upstream, reducing WAN congestion for all applications.
As organizations increase their use of cloud applications, the right WAN architecture becomes critical. MPLS wasn’t designed for the cloud, and broadband Internet comes with tradeoffs in terms of performance and reliability. InSpeed gives you cloudlike agility and cost-efficiency while guaranteeing high-quality business communications over any WAN connection.
If you’re having problems similar to C&M, InSpeed can help.