While most business executives will agree that seamless digital services underpin a successful organisation, they have never really wanted to know about the plumbing. This has all changed in the past few months. Suddenly, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and associated lockdowns, technology matters to everyone in business more than ever before.
Whilst the immediate focus for IT has been ensuring stability and business continuity, it is important for organisations to use the lessons from the crisis to create lasting technology-led changes.
In a local South African context with the arrival of the Hyperscalers such as Azure and Amazon Web Services, we are already seeing a large uptake of cloud transition. This is sure to only accelerate as businesses look to implement Cloud/SaaS applications to service their remote users more effectively.
One of the key focus areas should be on the current WAN, and how to transition this network to allow users to consume these cloud applications more efficiently at the branch or from their home offices.
Most WANs are currently running on legacy MPLS networks which are static, localised and don’t scale effectively to meet the bandwidth demands of cloud applications. MPLS networks also offer limited cloud integration, where organisations are forced to use expensive services like Express route/Direct connect to access their cloud applications.
These services don’t offer clients the ability to incorporate other technologies like direct internet, LTE and 5G which are up to ten times less expensive than MPLS!
SD-WAN is built with Global Cloud integration in mind and offers secure high-performance cloud access and third-party SaaS integration (i.e. Zscaler) that is largely automated.
Whilst there is naturally an investment required to transition to a secure cloud-ready network, this should be seen as a strategic investment to future-proof your network for the consumption of these cloud applications.
SD-WAN facilitates a lower-cost, high-performance way to connect datacentres and clouds, and offers an increased Application Availability and SLA that ultimately increases the user experience and user productivity. SD-WAN also facilitates a smooth, easy transition to Cloud/SaaS with flexible, automated connectivity onramp options via platforms like Microsoft Virtual WAN in collaboration with Citrix SD-WAN.
There is no doubt that there will be some tough decisions ahead, and many of the financial implications of COVID-19 will be felt in the IT department where the affordability and justification of many projects will be questioned.
The fact is, SD-WAN destroys MPLS in a cost comparison, and has the ability to significantly reduce network costs allowing organisations to avoid paying expensive MPLS Tax. Instead, organisations should use commodity internet for better performance and reliability.
Whilst there are a number of options available to organisations, this transition creates an opportunity to work with an SD-WAN Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Intelys Telecom as opposed to your incumbent ISP or network provider.
MSP’s are generally niche and focused, and typically deliver SD-WAN as a service on a rental model. This is achieved by working with leading global vendors like Citrix who offer subscription-based licensing models via their MSP program. This consumption-based model alleviates the heavy capex burden of working with typical system integrators who are generally driven by large kit deals.
Working with an MSP like Intelys Telecom ensures that your organisation has access to the necessary skills, resources and experience to manage your implementation. Our robust approach ensures a smooth transition minimising any associated risk and downtime for your organisation.
Part of scoping any SD-WAN transition should include a network feasibility assessment once the technical and business requirements have been defined. This Intelys network feasibility assessment helps clients understand their SD-WAN ROI over a 5-year period.
The assessment takes two key assumptions into account.
- The forecasted increased demand in bandwidth Year on Year (YoY) i.e. 20%
- The forecasted decrease in the price of bandwidth YoY (i.e.10%)
And delivers outputs around the following elements:
- Total bandwidth available on the network
- Effective cost per Mbps
- Total monthly costs
- Total savings
- SD-WAN ROI summary table
This is represented in three different scenarios being MPLS, Hybrid-WAN and Full-blown SD-WAN. This business case is a key part of our network transition document.