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Is the move to SaaS fundamentally changing your WAN architecture?

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As more and more enterprises migrate their data across to cloud data centres, such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure they will inevitably begin to realise how the adoption of IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service) and SaaS (Software-as-a-service) will result in a serious relook at their current WAN architecture.

Enterprises moving to SaaS applications are realising the benefits over on-premises hosted applications and is largely driven by one of or a combination of the following:

  • Enabling a more mobile workforce for your business.
  • There are major cost savings to be made.
  • It will make up for the restrictions in acquiring or retaining skilled IT staff.
  • Preference to short-term contract software services which can be upscaled, downscaled or cancelled as and when needed.

What are the repercussions in making this move?

As an enterprise moves their data to SaaS applications, whether this is a centrally controlled move by their IT department, or a more sporadic, less controlled and decentralized “shadow IT” move, the effects on the enterprise’s security, bandwidth and control can be very disruptive.

This strategy to migrate application data to the cloud by leveraging SaaS is disrupting the WAN as we know it. An organistation may try its best to mitigate any resulting risks, but unfortunately there will still be some that are uncontrollable.

The move is happening… What can you do to try make the transition as risk-free as possible?

You need to ensure that you are able to take advantage of cheaper Internet connectivity in order to offload your SaaS applications at the edge of your network whilst regaining control and security in a centralised policy engine. Abstracting the control plane from the data plane will naturally become a logical consideration when assessing various architectures to cater for such challenges.

SD‐WAN, as a network overlay, will enable your application traffic to be carried independently of the underlying physical or transport layer. Multiple access links (e.g. MPLS, LTE, 3G, ADSL, Wireless and Fibre) from different, disparate service providers can now be pooled together at your branch edge enabling your organisation to benefit from faster and cheaper bandwidth alternatives allowing you to transition to Iaas and SaaS while improving agility, performance and control at the same time.

Over time, centralised breakout of your Internet data will become a thing of the past and hosting of applications within your network will be considered outdated and inevitably, overtime your need to ship traffic over your private MPLS WAN will diminish as you begin to realise the benefits of SD-WAN. SD-WAN will allow you to operate in a more flexible de-centralized model whilst still retaining control!

The impact on your business

You’ll see phenomenal cost savings in your operational expenditure and a significant reduction in your TCO, whilst enhancing flexibility, capacity, availability and quality. You’ll begin to see a triple benefit TCO saving in services costs, IT Resources or Outsourcing and Network Infrastructure.

Post written by Greg de Chasteauneuf
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Saicom Voice Services