Tuesday, 08 December 2020 12:25

Maximise the return from your cloud investments

By Paul Randlesome, Silver Peak
Paul Randlesome, global vice president of Value Management at Silver Peak Paul Randlesome, global vice president of Value Management at Silver Peak

GUEST OPINION by Paul Randlesome, global vice president of Value Management at Silver Peak: This year has seen Australian enterprises accelerate their digital transformation efforts, migrating applications and infrastructure to the cloud as they shift from dedicated data centres to shared public infrastructure.

Telsyte forecasts the total infrastructure as a services (IaaS) market in Australia will exceed $1 billion in 2020, off the back of mini-boom driven by COVID-19 investment.

The momentum is clear, but the question is whether the change is paying off. As Australia’s appetite for public cloud services continues to intensify, so too does the complexity of the landscape as businesses experience significant change in migrating away from corporate data centres.

Many CIOs I speak with understand the need to rearchitect their wide area networks (WAN) with an advanced SD-WAN edge solution to reap the full benefit of the cloud. By doing so, organisations gain automated connectivity to the cloud, secure direct access across the internet and simplified data transfers across multi-cloud environments. This ultimately delivers the highest quality of experience to end users and IT teams.

Trying to stretch legacy networks or make incremental investments on basic SD-WAN capabilities alone, however, won’t yield the desired outcomes. The effort must go beyond that.

To SD-WAN or not to?

With today’s uncertain business landscape, many organisations have considered cutting costs on digital initiatives. Some don’t realise the value of an advanced SD-WAN and how it translates to higher business productivity, greater business agility and increased revenue.

While cost is often a key factor when thinking about implementing new technology investments, IT leaders need to look beyond conventional ROI figures to do with ‘speeds and feeds’ improvements and cost savings.

To make a compelling business case for a business-driven SD-WAN, IT leaders need a detailed evaluation of their organisation’s strategic and operational rationale to determine whether their potential investment will reap transformational value and make sound business sense.

There are six dimensions that organisations should evaluate when accessing the business impact of their potential SD-WAN investments:

1. Retire legacy infrastructure

Conventional router-centric WAN architectures are rigid and complex to manage, hindering business agility. At the same time, manually provisioning infrastructure, deploying new applications or making policy changes can be error-prone, costly and inefficient.

Organisations can eliminate costly, performance-robbing MPLS backhaul with a business-driven SD-WAN that delivers the highest quality of experience and centralised management.

2. Ability to run on any transport

Conventional MPLS transport services can be rigid, expensive and have long lead times to provision. Companies are often forced to increase costs to over-provision capacity or constrain performance due to bandwidth limitations.

Business agility can be enhanced with a business-driven SD-WAN that makes it easy to increase and leverage bandwidth. Organisations can run their entire business on shared, public broadband without compromising performance or security.

3. No service-level agreement trade-offs required

Backhauling cloud-destined application traffic to central data centres to apply security policies and controls, impairs application performance, adds cost and compromises security with limited visibility to resolve network issues.

A business-driven SD-WAN delivers the highest performance and availability for every application, anywhere and over any WAN transport. With centralised visibility into both the data centre and cloud-based applications running across the network, IT can act proactively reduce network downtime and administrative cost.

4. Ability to automate everything

Onboarding cloud-delivered security services and applications requires manual configuration and is time consuming. Circuit failover can be disruptive and affect productivity and revenue streams.

With a business-driven SD-WAN that enables a fully self-driving wide area network, organisations can expedite and automate the onboarding of new sites, cloud-delivered security services and applications through zero touch provisioning. This results in cost savings in deployment and network administration and resolves issues faster.

5. Advanced security for the cloud-first enterprise

As applications continue to migrate to the cloud, changing traffic patterns are driving the need for a new WAN approach and security model that is uniquely architected for the cloud-first enterprise.

A business-driven SD-WAN enables end-to-end application segmentation to reduce the attack surface and assure end-users have secure, uninterrupted access to business-critical applications. It also lowers costs and simplifies operations.

6. Freedom of choice

Enterprises are compelled to adopt an agnostic networking platform that can easily integrate with existing technology solutions – security, cloud infrastructure and network management tools – that best align with their needs, while maintaining business agility.

Enterprises want to leverage existing investments and a business-driven SD-WAN enables automated orchestration with leading ecosystem partner technologies. This ultimately yields a superior unified solution that keeps pace with changing requirements.

Experience a multiplier effect

Selecting the right technologies to drive your business transformation strategy can be difficult. WAN transformation with SD-WAN, however, is an easy choice for many businesses. For starters, it reduces WAN costs and can yield a 5x return or more on investments over its lifetime.

Costs aside, organisations ultimately experience a multiplier effect from their existing and ongoing cloud investments in the form of increased business agility, reduced risk, improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue in the long run. Those are worth a lot more.

About the author

Paul Randlesome is global vice president of Value Management at Silver Peak. For more information, visit: www.silver-peak.com

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