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Interstate at Rush Hour …in the Rain …on a Friday – AKA, Your Enterprise Traffic on the Net

Sean Kaine

Congestion. Traffic. Two words that draw a visceral response, whether you are commuting to work or managing a network.

Managing data traffic used to be easy. Everything was housed in centralized data centers, and all traffic was routed through big, dedicated, effective but expensive "pipes" — Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) links. When all the applications are at the data center, it makes sense to build private access for all traffic.

But, the move to the cloud and localized use of applications, analytics and data make the data highway systems much more complex. CIOs can't implement the same system they used to, as cloud applications are in too many places to build private data highways for all traffic. It would simply be too complex, costly and inefficient.
All network traffic is not the same today.

Today, there are three types of enterprise traffic: normal web browsing, two-way communications that require the query of a database in a legacy data center, and cloud applications where data, processing and security need to be pushed to the network's edge.

Normal web browsing can be pushed to the public Internet. Two-way legacy datacenter communications can still leverage MPLS or some other form of private connectivity. The traffic destined for applications in the cloud is what provides the biggest challenge to CIOs today. CIOs need a private highway that can provide exit ramps to all cloud providers and keep application processing distributed and close to all users.

Enter software-defined routing that can look at your data traffic mix and determine the best route from a speed, price and security perspective. You wouldn't use an 18-wheeler to deliver one carton of eggs, and you wouldn't use an MPLS to enable simple Web browsing. Software-defined routing ensures that you aren't using an anvil to pound in a thumbtack.

In a hybrid IT environment where centralized mission-critical functions still run through legacy datacenters, loss, latency and jitter are the unholy trinities of network congestion for a beleaguered CIO.

Too often, the competition with public video traffic leads IT organizations to move off the public Internet to a myriad of dedicated private networks to include broadband and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). While efficient in how they route traffic, these alternatives are very expensive toll-based solutions that can place significant financial burdens on IT budgets.

There is a way to improve the speed of your cloud data transport without adding to IT costs. In an industry known for buzzwords, SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networks) has become one of the latest. But, what does it really do, and is it capable of alleviating the need for private data transport?

In short, yes.

Think of SD-WAN as Waze for your data traffic — on steroids. SD-WAN improves transport options, control pathways intelligently, automate provisioning, and optimize security with SD-WAN at the edge, ensuring that your business- and mission-critical applications aren't stuck in gridlock.

By Sean Kaine, VP of Product and Marketing at Apcela
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