Big data fueling SD-WAN growth in the multiple cloud enterprise

As big data and digital transformation take hold, having robust and reliable networking solutions are more critical than ever


Bigger businesses and larger data pools demand increasingly robust networking solutions.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and anyone in the networking field understands the power of failsafe SD-WANs to enable reliable, predictable access to in-house applications, as well as cloud-based services. It's truer now more than ever, especially as the business sector evolves and requires new real-time applications with rapid data availability.

There was a time when businesses relied on local area networks (LANs) and the same basic internet service you would find at home. They stored their files on simple hard drives and cloud storage was used by one or two departments at most for non-mission critical data stores.

Today, enterprises depend on a wide variety of cloud platforms. And when it comes to their networking and connectivity setup, companies need reliable communications for a growing range of departments and facilities over the same wide-area network (WAN).

Enter SD-WAN with answers to three very important questions: What is it, why do enterprises need it and how does it align with the trends of enterprise-level cloud usage of big data?

How SD-WAN can be applied to enterprise cloud solutions

When business consider enterprise networks, several concepts come to mind. The previously mentioned LAN is one – but there's also the WAN.

WANs are useful in situations where enterprise locations are dispersed geographically in multiple locations. This is often the case in the business sector, especially on the enterprise level where a single enterprise may have dozens or potentially hundreds of locations.

Networks become more interesting when the topic turns to software-defined WANs (SD-WANs). Software-defined networking technology offers a dynamic approach to branch-to-branch, branch-to-private data center and branch-to-cloud computing access by facilitating network management in a more flexible manner.

SD-WAN are increasingly being used in conjunction with multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). MPLS is the WAN process of directing data between nodes via short paths rather than long network addresses. Avoiding complex lookup requests enables speedier connection and more consistent performance.

WANs of the past utilized a relatively simple architecture, at least in comparison to what's needed today. With enterprise-level organizations needing more cost-effective network services, larger-scale solutions and more people turning to the cloud for their data storage and workflow needs, SD-WANs are the way of the future.

What SD-WAN offer users

Below, we present a brief look at a few of the primary features of SD-WAN. An understanding of these features will make it clear why enterprise businesses using the cloud are adopting SD-WANs, especially failsafe SD-WANs, to augment and in some cases even replace MPLS.

– Easier setup and network management: By decoupling WANs from their primary control mechanisms, this setup allows for easier network setup and ongoing network management, orchestration and policy configurations.

– Lower costs: The decoupling process allows companies to augment higher cost but lower bandwidth private WANs globally with lower-cost internet services. This means more expensive or cumbersome WANs are reduced and, in some cases, replaced.

– Better flexibility: A software-defined network is managed more efficiently, making it easier to implement new nodes on the network and adapt the network to a company's current objective.

When it comes to the cloud, why do businesses use failsafe SD-WANs? Because their flexibility and ability to maintain high-level performance and QoE while using internet connectivity and lower costs. All the perks of failsafe SD-WANs enable IT to safely and reliably enable perks of the cloud – making the two a perfect match.

SD-WANs are versatile. They work with broadband, satellite and any other forms of internet connectivity. Here's how they lend themselves well to cloud platforms and big data teams inside organizations.

SD-WANs for the cloud and big data companies

The cloud is no longer simply a remote hard drive even, although it's still used for storage. That's an overly simplistic explanation by today's standards.

More companies are integrating business applications and workflows into the cloud. Multiple cloud service consumption facilitates easier operations between multiple parties across multiple devices over the WAN. Enterprise cloud consumption is a flexible and versatile, meaning anyone who looks to use the cloud should have a networking setup with the same qualities, and that delivers the reliability and predictability enterprise users, CIOs and CEOs have come to expect from their private WANs.

But what about big data? How do data lakes and massive redundant distributed databases lend themselves to the SD-WAN setup? Big data teams don't just manage hundreds or thousands of records. Instead, it's hundreds of thousands or even millions, accessed in a matter of seconds or minutes.

Enterprises with big data application needs post thousands of updates to their data pool every day and make an ever-changing list of predictions from this data. The big data craze boils down to the ability to make informed business decisions. More data means more resources for decision-making – and this is why enterprise level companies are often synonymous with big data.

Managing real-time data volumes of this type on a versatile platform such as the cloud means adaptability is a must. Networks that are flexible and reliable while keeping costs low are one of the reasons why SD-WANs are catching on quickly. With massive cloud data pools to manage, these companies have seen the perks of software-defined networks.

What the future holds for SD-WANs

There are already enterprise businesses accelerating their adoption of SD-WANs.

Companies such as Talari Networks are releasing updates, noting how SD-WANs provide a great deal of assistance for digital transformation projects. Enterprise companies with tens to hundreds and even thousands of locations across dozens of countries can attest to this trend.

Bandwidth optimization, consistent security and improved functionality are just a few of the perks SD-WAN systems offer. Some of the companies who have used SD-WANs call them the future of networking as we know it. Others claim it still has a way to go in order to provide the failsafe design companies need for continuous use.

Whatever the opinion of this technology, one thing is clear – it's a solution worth trying for any company consuming multiple cloud applications and seeking to leverage big data services. Particularly for those who rely on the cloud for daily operations, this form of networking is a viable option.

Even alongside the billions spent annual on MPLS services, SD-WAN hybrid networks are the emerging WAN of the future. And while some businesses continue to spend on legacy WAN services, the continued evolution of failsafe SD-WANs will ease their capital and operation expenses, without sacrificing the reliability and QoE they have come to expect from their MPLS WANs.

Big data and big businesses often use big networks – and when they need to save money and maximize flexibility, an SD-WAN setup is worth considering.

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