Just a few years ago, multi-nationals and companies that operated across large distances didn’t have an option when it came to connectivity: it was WAN or nothing. But as our society has become increasingly dependent on data, the infrastructure that supports its flow around the world has had a tough act to follow. Today, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to connecting with people and businesses on opposite ends of the Earth. The public internet and social media have redefined the way people around the world interact on a personal level, and we’re in the midst of a similar revolution in a global business context. With public and private cloud providing a real alternative to in-house storage and server rooms, businesses can not only afford more network infrastructure than ever before, but also enjoy access to cutting-edge network technology without having to fork out huge sums to purchase it themselves.
In this blog, we’ll talk WAN optimization in the cloud era, what it means for your organisation, and how you should be thinking about the future of your business network.
Traditional WAN in the era of the cloud: Is the server room on its last legs?
Arguably the most significant change that the cloud has made to enterprise IT is the fact that it makes in-house servers and storage somewhat redundant. The word ‘somewhat’ is key here, because the same can’t be said of every network environment – in certain contexts, there’s no substitute for an in-house data centre. By and large, though, cloud storage offers the average business the same service as they would get from in-house IT, but at a fraction of the cost and with virtually none of the responsibility. Additionally, a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture and the ever-increasing per-capita data use make it difficult to forecast future demand on your capacity, meaning that you’ll likely need to make periodic upgrades to your in-house IT infrastructure to accommodate the increased demand. Outsourcing your network management mitigates the need for this entirely, which translates to massively reduced IT budgets and no more time wasted on managing your own server room.
Does outsourcing your network management mean losing control over your environment?
The main point of contention for opponents of outsourced network management is the loss of control over your network environment. WAN Optimisation is, obviously, dependent on having full insight into and control over the flow of data in your network, and handing over the keys to a data centre can be intimidating, to say the least. Finding the best possible partners for outsourced WAN optimisation is of critical importance: if you’re handing over the control of your network to someone else, at least make sure they understand the specific requirements of your network environment. Make sure to spend enough time discussing your needs with your WAN optimization partner, and draw up SLAs that will work in your best interests. If you put enough thought into your choice of partner and take the time to go about things properly, outsourcing your network management doesn’t have to equate to losing control over your environment.
At the end of the day, there’s no single right answer that applies to every business. Whether or not WAN optimization should be a priority for you comes down to a number of factors, and the effectiveness of that optimization will depend on your relationship with your service provider, their service offering, and, ultimately, the amount of time you spend optimizing your WAN. The ultimate measure of success when it comes to a WAN optimization is Return on Investment (ROI), so make sure you have some way of comparing the impact of your environment pre- and post-WAN optimisation.
IRIS Network Systems offers an extensive range of network services including WAN optimization, network management, Netflow Analyzer, data visualization and more. To find out more about our products and services, and how we could be the perfect WAN optimization partner for your business, please download our free WAN Management eBook.