Hybrid networking

Coping with an explosion of traffic.

We don’t just have meetings any more: we audiochat and videoconference. We don’t just attend conferences: we log into webinars. When someone releases a new product, they might well livestream the launch to an audience of eager customers. And when we’re trying to figure out how to use that product, we can watch demos and tutorials on YouTube rather than wade through lengthy manuals.

Our applications, too, are becoming more complex and connected, pulling in a stream of live (and ever bigger) data from the cloud or remote facilities and processing it in real time. Before long – industry analysts tell us – corporate networks will have to cope with even more bandwidth-hungry, latency-critical advances such as workplace virtual reality, smart cities and connected everything.

How can an organisation handle this explosion in the volume and velocity of data traffic without allowing networking costs to spin out of control, yet still maintain appropriate levels of service and security? Although the cloud will undoubtedly become home to more and more applications over time, organisations nonetheless need to anticipate how their private corporate networks are going to bear the growing weight of traffic. After all, that’s where their most sensitive data and mission-critical systems are likely to remain for the foreseeable future – and where performance lags or data breaches could be the most damaging.

Hybrid networking provides an answer. By diverting some traffic over lower cost Internet connections – using a VPN wrapper and some smart prioritisation and acceleration tools, say – you can already begin to control costs by making more use of the Internet while also freeing up bandwidth on your core MPLS connection to keep your most critical systems performing at their optimum.

What’s changing is that the technology to help you extend, manage and secure these hybrid networks is becoming easier and smarter. Smart enough to handle all that added traffic. SD-WAN, for example, allows you to extend a hybrid network to remote locations pretty much out of the box. It will intelligently analyse your traffic and use your policies to decide whether it needs first-class MPLS delivery, business-class premium broadband or economy consumer Internet, securing it and routing it down the optimal path. And because it controls the network entirely through software, you can manage, scale and secure it centrally.

But just as the technology is evolving, so are the ways you can procure and deploy it. Service providers like ourselves, for example, can take the risk out of implementing what is still a rapidly changing set of technologies by offering them as packaged services, with self-service management via a portal. Work with a partner that understands the landscape and can help you move forward without unnecessary pain.

"Although the cloud will undoubtedly become home to more and more applications over time, organisations nonetheless need to anticipate how their private corporate networks are going to bear the growing weight of traffic."

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