Applications – the appetizers – are making the world go hungry for more digital. Remember the famous line from Pepsi’s advertisement in the 90’s – Yeh Dil Mange More! However, as applications surge, it’s becoming harder and harder for enterprise networks to be able to digest and degust so many appetizers. Consumers (netizens) are obsessed with it, and enterprises just can’t stop having enough of it! From engaging customers, stakeholders and employees to operational benefits, businesses are reaping the maximum benefit of enterprise-grade applications. And, as cloud traffic surge globally, enterprise network teams are in an uphill battle to make WAN app-friendly. That’s no surprise, given that network is the only way to impress customers in the world bits and bytes i.e. serve better application (appetizer) experience to consumers and end-users.
“WAN is about connecting people and applications, and the most fundamental construct of connectivity is Bandwidth.”
-Shyamal Kumar, CEO Lavelle Networks
Worldwide, 2017 witnessed 178.1 billion mobile app downloads. This number is projected to grow to 258.2 billion app downloads by 2022. On the business end, a recent study highlights that on average an enterprise has 464 custom applications deployed today. Enterprises of all sort are reaping maximum benefits out of Apps. On average, enterprises with fewer than 1,000 employees run an average of 22 custom applications. The largest enterprises with more than 50,000 employees run 788, on average. The pace of deploying custom applications in average enterprises has increased by 20.5 percent. The staggering statistics prove how enterprises are using application services to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing process of digital transformation (DX).
Enterprise Application Challenges
The changing Traffic Pattern – Cloud traffic is at the crest of an enterprise network. Nearly 90% of enterprises following an app-first approach are shifting from traditional IT infrastructure to multi-cloud architectures. This is helping enterprise IT to ensure reliable network performance and enforce security with nicety. And as applications move to cloud platforms (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform), networking teams are constantly challenged to help enterprises ensure applications are always available, scalable and protected, irrespective of their destination.
Edge is becoming the new norm – As enterprises are using more add-on services at the branches, traditional hub and spoke model is becoming a challenge. But today, as traffic patterns are vastly changing. Increasing services like Biometric Authentication services, Microsoft Office 365, Point of Sale solutions etc, endpoints, devices and the surge of IIoT and IoT is causing latency, increasing bandwidth demands and making tough to compliant with world-wide privacy regulations, for example, GDPR. Traditionally, this kind of network architecture is quite common among enterprise network teams. Traffic is sent first to the data center or cloud services, and the central hub acts as the main decision maker. But sending all traffic to the central hub today creates bad user and customer experience due to high network latency. Secondly, using MPLS, networking teams end up paying a high cost of bandwidth and CTO takes a hit on his Capex and Opex expenditure!
End to End visibility – Enterprises optimize several applications today on a daily basis. From video conferencing to Microsoft Office 365 or Tally, you name it, and there’s an app for everything. Failure of any of these applications can have serious consequences on a day to day business operations. It can impact all functions like marketing, sales, and customer support. It is imperative for networking teams to have a clear insight on every connected device, so that before the failure impacts other devices, IT teams can address and fix the failure. On top of that, your employees may also use enterprise wi-fi to connect with apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and so on. Lack of a transparent network, assisted with powerful analytics and granular insights, can easily put IT networking teams on Achilles heals, causing security issues.
Application Security – 95% of CIOs expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their enterprise. Application development is important as ever as the enterprise delve deeper into the digital world. And amidst a maelstrom of not only applications, but a range of brand new technologies, ensuring security is becoming tough. Enterprises used private MPLS as a measure to secure WAN. Traffic was back-hauled in an enterprise data center (DC) and was inspected further. MPLS separated business critical traffic and networking teams could share the unencrypted traffic between two endpoints. Firewalls, in addition to measures like Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) etc were applied to guard the network perimeter. Used mostly as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), MPLS fenced the enterprise network from the Internet. But, traffic shared between two endpoints were not encrypted. Sharing data between two endpoints sans encryption is no more a possibility today. In the era of edge, a traditional approach to network security architecture raises the question not only on security, but increases complexities and lowers network as well as application performance. The traditional firewalls are no match to emerging new network security threats. Today, even in the cloud era, its essential for enterprise IT teams to identify and secure (endpoints) that matters! The growing importance of DevOps is a step that is already helping IT teams to ensure zero threats from enterprise applications deployed in the cloud.
Scale and deploy Applications seamlessly – The digital world is flexible and its well reflected in our daily life and in the way we do business. The rapid changes in the business landscape demand enterprise applications stay flexible when it comes to scale, deploy or redeploy. In terms of traditional network architecture, the model itself is rigid, hence expecting flexibility is surreal. And in a modern multi-cloud IT ecosystem the challenges are different. However, there are advanced approaches like Kubernetes available today to scale and deploy an application in a multi-cloud environment. We leave that discussion with the Kubernetes or containers folks to explain how they can help you overcome app deployment challenges in a multi-cloud strategy. 56% of respondents are employing containers, gateways, app security, and availability are growing in importance. Antivirus, network firewall, SSL VPN, and load balancing continue to remain the top application services currently deployed in enterprises. Critical enterprise applications have no time to recover. They must deliver as per business requirements. Today it’s a challenge for IT teams to be able to deploy and elastically scale enterprise applications and ensures application availability. when required, at any part of the world irrespective of their location.
Making WAN – Scalable, Flexible and Always Available
As networks evolve, become highly programmable and software-defined, enterprises are finding it easy to keep up with the rapid rate of changes required in the WAN for applications. With SDN, enterprises are not only witnessing direct benefits for their network but also optimizing SDN’s services and applications. In an era of mobility and flexibility, SDN is addressing today’s new concepts like IoT, edge, Cloud and Big Data. The burst of new applications, with each having different bandwidth requirements, puts massive pressure on WAN. It’s no more like yesteryear, the demand of today’s workload from enterprise WAN is no match for traditional infrastructures to meet. SDN’s ability to virtualize is probably among the biggest benefits enterprises optimize today. With virtualization, networking teams can stream applications with rich requirements using powerful VDIs. QoS policies, network segmentation, powerful network analytics, seamless management along with mobile monitoring apps like Lavelle Networks CloudStation Mobile, all these help network teams to deliver and support the application of all sort, delivered via virtualization.
Also, SDN allows extending the enterprise data centers. This beefs up the agility of an enterprise. A 100 percent software-defined architecture easily integrates with cloud, distributed locations and respond better at the edges. Irrespective the type of the underlying network in your enterprise network infrastructure, network teams can send business critical traffic to any location. Network teams can easily extract enterprise network controls to make data communication seamless between the data center and cloud, allowing networking teams granular visibility to your enterprise network.
Now that you have a clear picture of SDN, know that your enterprise may need to know about Lavelle Network SD-WAN solution suite. Know from the unicorn – Swiggy – how Lavelle Networks met the unique needs of Swiggy and fulfilled all network requirements. In no time Lavelle Networks SD-WAN helped Swiggy to scale its business without worrying about its network. In record time the first few locations were online. Post SD-WAN, Swiggy reported a network uptime close to 99.9999%, and a bespoke customer and user experience.