The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light difficult lessons and challenges for many businesses:
- Disaster Recovery (DR) strategies weren’t a good fit for the problems the pandemic brought
- It highlighted dependencies on key personnel who might have taken ill or had to self-isolate
- Some data centres closed access to customers whose infrastructure was hosted there
- Businesses had to continue operations with staff working from home and reliant on sometimes inadequate ADSL connections
… to name just a few.
We now have sight of the end of this pandemic, even though there is no real certainty of when it will actually end. One thing we can guarantee is that the future will continue to deliver disruptive and unpredictable change. That may be due to more pandemics, the potential for climate change to accelerate or advances in AI and digital transformation.
Whether your response is to cast Runes, consult I Ching or retreat to a hardened bunker, your business must be ready to adapt. One strategy many enterprises are implementing is decentralisation – not having all your eggs in one basket.
Digital transformation doesn’t need to be daunting, it can be achieved in small steps. If you’re looking to optimise your business operations, watch our ‘Worry-free IT with SD-WAN’ on-demand webinar to find out how.
Surely, the cloud is the solution?
Many minds have focused on ‘the cloud’ as the solution. Of course that is still a single ‘basket’, which comes with its own limitations. I’ll let you in on a secret: it isn’t actually a cloud. It’s based in physical data centres with physical vulnerabilities. It can also be more expensive for businesses running processes 24/7. Not all applications work well with increased latency from traffic passing back and forth over long distances.
At the same time, increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge computing reduces the need for traffic to leave sites at all. However, the cloud can lift off your shoulders the worry of managing a complex infrastructure and providing the personnel to run it. Its model of ‘Pay as you use’ will reduce many costs and enable operational flexibility.
So, while the cloud is not the solution, it can be an important part of your overall strategy.
Is the corporate data centre dead?
Corporate data centres are perhaps the most vulnerable. Other than for the largest enterprises, data centres have restrictions on location, personnel, environment, DR capacity, infrastructure maintenance and so on. You’d need to be braver than I to choose that as the solution, but they can still be part of your overall strategy. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Decentralisation means ‘anywhere, anytime, anyplace’
Enterprises with multiple sites, whether in one country or globally, have the greatest options for adopting a decentralised business model. Many office applications that used to be managed via a corporate IT team at Head Office are now accessed via a web browser over the Internet – email, O365 and Salesforce are common examples.
Many enterprises are looking to empower their branch and remote sites. This enables them to carry on their business without dependency on central office infrastructure and communication channels. Workloads are distributed and accessible from multiple independent locations. However, there are caveats: local IT skills may be limited; the reliability of connectivity uncertain; the expense of connecting every site daunting. Internet breakout at every location: surely a security headache?
How does it still work together?
This is where we believe SD-WAN becomes an essential tool in your IT armoury. It enables you to not just hedge your bets, but to really optimise your business operations, wherever they are located.
- Workloads can be migrated quickly between locations without lengthy delays waiting for network teams to make complex manual changes across multiple devices.
- A cloud-based portal permits multi-site next-generation firewall management. It uses business-friendly intent-based rulesets, removes the requirement for skilled on-site staff at every location, and enables scale across multiple locations, globally.
- You have real-time visibility via rich performance metrics and analytics of who is on your network and what they are doing.
- New sites can be on-boarded speedily via Zero-Touch Provisioning. Connect the SD-WAN router to the Internet, it ‘calls home’, downloads its configuration, reboots, and is live within minutes.
- Public cloud, or private cloud – or both! – can become just additional nodes on the SD-WAN interconnected mesh. Available for you to use, when you want.
Why Proact SD-WAN?
2nd Generation SD-WAN based on Juniper Networks technology enables reliable connectivity over what were once considered unreliable Internet circuits. Removing the cost and long-term contract headaches of multiple MPLS connections, cheaper Internet technologies can be aggregated using advanced routing and data science to choose the best path at any moment over redundant circuits. It includes recognising over 4,000 different applications natively and optimising performance based on their different requirements.
Looking to the future it will include wireless 5G, which will itself bring about disruptive change to how businesses operate. Our solution puts you ahead of the game in this regard.
So, SD-WAN is the solution?
I’m going to say it… SD-WAN also isn’t the solution; however, it is an essential part of your overall strategy. It allows you to stay connected in an unpredictable world, wherever it suits your business to locate your data and workloads – and whenever it suits your business to migrate them elsewhere. It enables your solution, whichever one you choose.
Is SD-WAN right for your business? Watch our on-demand webinar ‘Worry-free IT with SD-WAN’ hosted by Damian Murphy and Scott Alexander, Cloud Solutions Business Development Director at Juniper Networks to find out more.