Enterprises need to ensure the best possible performance of all of its critical applications for employees. These applications can include SAP, Oracle for daily ERP operations, or Office 365 and Unified Communications (UC) platforms for employee collaboration and communication with external providers and customers.
For example, UC — essentially voice, email and instant messaging as well as audio, web and video conferencing — is changing the look and function of the modern workplace. All of these applications bring disparate areas of the business, no matter how far-flung they may be geographically, within easy reach of each other. Much of this activity is supported on personalized devices that are used by employees as part of BYOD initiatives.
While it's easier for coworkers to collaborate with each other, this confluence of new connectivity is putting tremendous pressure on the networks supporting it. With BYOD comes needed support for an employee's personal and private use, as well as the exchange of massive amounts of data on networks that are quickly seeing their bandwidth shrink.
What it all comes down to is the fact that a hybrid approach to wide area network (WAN) access is the only way to support both critical and non-critical business applications.
New business applications are causing bandwidth requirements to multiply
In a study from the McKinsey Global Institute, 48 percent of the IT managers who participated said they expect their network loads to double over the next two years, while 23 percent anticipate their loads will at least triple. The same study showed that the total data universe — all of the information that travels over the Internet annually — is going to boom from a few Zettabytes today to an entire Yottabyte by 2030.
Moving massive volumes of data is difficult but unavoidable, requiring an intelligent and powerful network infrastructure to do so successfully. What makes emerging applications' traffic such as UC traffic so difficult to host is the fact that it is so unpredictable. Each type of communication under the UC umbrella behaves differently, forcing an application's traffic matrix to change massively from one instant to the next.
Connecting users to the public Internet is becoming essential to address fast-rising traffic demand without running up costs. Business and private applications can be moved to the cloud by combining MPLS networks with the public Internet.
Known as local internet breakout, this method is an appealing solution for businesses facing these challenges, as it is usually easy to get a larger amount of bandwidth with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). This might be an advantage to speed up the rollout of a new application or reduce the time to connect new sites.
Local Internet comes with its own challenges
While local Internet can help with increasing bandwidth in many scenarios, there is no performance guarantee. The amount of available bandwidth access could vary significantly during peak times of usage, which may not be the same across all areas of the business. There is no similar traffic engineering mechanism to MPLS Class of Service (CoS) and no end-to-end SLAs like those found on private networks for public Internet either.
There is also a major security concern that comes with managing a large number of local Internet access points in favor of a centralized gateway. With resources already stretched trying to meet bandwidth needs, IT managers need an intelligent network management system that already features network performance and security. This way, they don't have to complement their existing software with secondary security products that only contribute to the overextension of network bandwidth.
Products like Ipanema's Hybrid WAN help make managing these challenges much simpler. Ipanema can simultaneously and automatically monitor, control, accelerate and select the best paths for business applications across two or more networks, without requiring complementary software to protect hybrid connections.
To learn more about managing dynamic hybrid WAN access points, read our recently published whitepaper, “Guarantee Application Performance over Hybrid WAN.”