Getting the best performance out of your WAN investment is a priority for organizations across the globe. With services like UCaaS and high-definition video streaming becoming more popular, maintaining a high level of performance and throughput is more important than ever. Sub-par performance of mission critical apps can bring productivity to a screeching halt.
As a result, WAN Optimization is a major concern for modern enterprises. However, many traditional performance optimization techniques fall short when it comes to cloud services and mobile users. Given that cloud and mobile are effectively ubiquitous, this can be a major problem for enterprises. Legacy solutions like MPLS are simply too inflexible to meet the demands of mobile and cloud, and to an extent the same can be said for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) appliance-based SD-WAN. Fortunately, SDWaaS, a cloud-native approach to SD-WAN, is able to provide WAN optimization at scale for both cloud and mobile users.
Below, we’ll explore the challenges MPLS and DIY SD-WAN, and then jump into the benefits of SDWaaS as it relates to WAN optimization for cloud and mobile users.
The challenges of WAN optimization for cloud
The cloud poses a few unique challenges for organizations that use MPLS or DIY SD-WAN. With MPLS, many enterprises are forced to deal with the “trombone routing” problem. Before leaving the WAN and heading on to the public Internet, data is routed through a central point on the WAN (usually HQ or a corporate datacenter) for auditing and then takes the same looping path back. This trombone-shaped path is both costly and inefficient.
Appliance-based DIY SD-WAN has a different problem when it comes to cloud. While it is certainly more flexible than MPLS, optimizing performance with cloud service providers requires deployment of an additional hardware appliance at a service provider’s datacenter. This approach is costly and difficult to scale effectively when you consider it must be repeated for each mission-critical service. The alternative of course is to simply use public Internet bandwidth, but the public Internet isn’t reliable enough to meet the demands of most enterprises. Additionally, DIY SD-WAN, lacking an underlying network, must depend on the public Internet for middle-mile connectivity as well. This can lead to latency problems when traffic must travel long geographical distances.
The challenges for mobile
The challenge of optimizing connectivity for mobile users is a little different. In many cases, it just simply doesn’t happen as solutions like DIY SD-WAN aren’t capable of efficiently integrating mobile users to the WAN. The end-result is enterprises often either opt for a complex and potentially performance-degrading option like VPN or mobile users directly access services like Office 365, bypassing the level of security on-premises users have.
How SDWaaS enables cloud & mobile WAN optimization
Before we dive into the specifics of cloud and mobile optimizations, it is useful to understand that SDWaaS’s purpose-built cloud-based software architecture enables a number of WAN optimization benefits at scale, including: QoS, Forward Error Correction, Dynamic Path Selection, and Packet Loss Detection. These general WAN optimization benefits also benefit cloud and mobile, since they are built-in to the network with SDWaaS.
Now let’s explore the specific challenges of cloud and mobile. SDWaaS is able to solve the problem of cloud and mobile WAN optimization because it offers enterprises a truly converged network infrastructure and benefits from a global SLA-backed private network backbone with Points of Presence (PoPs) all around the globe. The PoPs that make up the network backbone are often in the same datacenters as major cloud service providers. What this means is that SDWaaS providers can provide optimal egress for cloud traffic without the need for additional appliances or working around the “trombone routing” problem. It also means that the “middle-mile” challenges of DIY SD-WAN become a non-issue.
For mobile users, SDWaaS offers a secure mobile client. This client, coupled with the cloud-native approach SDWaaS takes makes it easy for mobile users (even BYOD users) to connect to the nearest PoP and benefit from the same level of security and performance as on-premises staff. As opposed to treating mobile as an outlier, with SDWaaS mobile can be integrated into the network and the same security policies can be applied across the board. Further, these security policies are granular enough to enable application-level enforcement. What this means is, enterprises can connect and protect mobile users without sacrificing performance or implementing a third-party solution.
SDWaaS provides enterprises with a holistic approach to WAN optimization
As we have seen, address the challenges of cloud and mobile while still optimizing WAN performance can be difficult. MPLS offers enterprises a reliable transport method, but suffers from inflexibility that makes it difficult to integrate cloud services and mobile users efficiently. DIY SD WAN is significantly more flexible than MPLS, but struggles to deliver reliability, particularly in the middle-mile, and makes mobile user support difficult.
SDWaaS is capable of addressing these challenges thanks to its robust global network of PoPs and purpose-built cloud-native software. By baking all the required security and performance optimization features into one holistic solution, SDWaaS makes true WAN optimization possible.