Digital transformation and the rise of public cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have created desperation among companies to integrate new revenue driving services into their WAN environment. It has become critical for companies to have the agility required to rapidly deploy cloud, big data, analytics, mobility services and edge computing says Marius Visser – Managing Director, Metacom Belgium.
The challenge for companies is that they have traditional WAN systems, which are not designed to manage access to cloud-based services. These systems typically do not have the necessary bandwidth or security architecture required for managed localised break out or managed access to cloud services. IT Managers struggle to adapt these legacy systems to meet the requirements, but key business revenue drivers demand immediate access.
According to Visser, whether the traditional IT-team is ready and capable of bringing these services to the table is irrelevant. “The revenue driver comes first, and the only question companies need to be investigating is how they can meet those needs,” said Visser.
Why Metacom recommends switching to SD-WAN
Metacom deals with a large number of retailers, financial institutions, and industrial enterprises across 22 countries, and according to Visser the company makes use of its unique products and development capabilities to enable rapid access to SD-WAN and cloud-based services.
Metacom recommends switching to SD-WAN, as it offers the necessary architectures to meet modern business requirements. The implementation of SD-WAN does not only allow for managed access to cloud based services, but it simultaneously solves a number of key connectivity issues, whilst reducing cost.
According to Visser, many traditional networks are limited in terms of bandwidth due to the high-cost of dedicated circuits and traditional VPN services. SD-WAN, however, allows customers to use broadband services with access to much more bandwidth at a much lower cost. It also allows for the use of multiple last mile connections, often at a lower cost than a single point-to-point connection.
Effective use of network resources
Another issue SD-WAN addresses according to Visser, is network resource management. Traditional architecture does not allow for large volumes of cloud-based data to be routed through core corporate WAN infrastructure. By allowing for localised, secure, managed break-out, corporate network resources can be managed more effectively.
Cloud based services can break out locally whilst corporate services are routed across the corporate WAN, which reduces the overhead on Corporate IT services and accordingly reduces IT costs.
Increased uptime, reduced cost, and improved reliability and speed
Multiple broadband services provided to a specific site often costs less than half of what a dedicated circuit does, which means you can now have two or three different connections to a specific remote site, with seamless failover between these connections, all managed through the SD-WAN architecture. Connections across different providers and different mediums ensure the best possible failover path in the event of network failure.
In addition to providing multiple failover paths, users of SD-WAN services also benefit from rapid deployment of new sites. It is almost always possible to get access to a broadband connection within days, while dedicated circuits can take months. This enables SD-WAN users to deploy new sites rapidly.
Centralised management of configuration allows for easy and quick deployment of routers to remote areas. When the routers are powered up, it connects to central managed services in order to set the correct site configuration and policies.
Quality of Service, load balancing
Metacom’s implementation of SD-WAN allows customers to route data across multiple last mile connections. Different Quality of Service (QoS) policies can be set up, ensuring that data is routed optimally depending on which last mile connection types are available. It is, for example, possible to route all cloud-based services across a broadband connection, while routing voice, over a synchronised connection. If one of the connections should fail, all data will be routed across the remaining connection, with an appropriate QoS rule for each service, depending on which connection is available.
Customers can have multiple secure VPNs to remote sites with appropriate routing rules for each VPN. They can, for example, use one VPN for their core business, another for partner communications, and a third VPN for a potentially unsecured internet breakout.
For additional reliability, Metacom offers multiple national and international SD-WAN hubs, which means that even if a core SD-WAN hub fails due to disaster, the entire network will switch over to a different SD-WAN hub hosted in a geographically different location.
“The initial customer experience is often a significant cost-saving, but our customers also experience better uptime through the use of multiple last mile connectivity options and SD-WAN hubs, giving complete redundancy,” said Visser.
Superior WAN service
A key objective of SD-WAN is to save costs and provide flexibility, but all the value-added services around it are what really allows customers to leverage the value of the SD-WAN architecture. Metacom customers benefit from services such as managed client Wi-Fi, Internet Proxy and Multimedia (Internet Video and Internet Radio) services, seamlessly integrated into the SD-WAN architecture.
“We’ve designed Metacom’s SD-WAN solutions so that the actual deployment is vastly superior to traditional services,” said Visser. “Our devices are configured centrally, which means that we offer deployment at lightning speed. We’ve actually even had customers asking us to please slow down, as they’re not used to the speed at which we work!”
Visser highlights that most traditional network providers are still struggling to get their head around how they are going to move from traditional MPLS type services, to SD-WAN.
Metacom on the other hand has, over the last 15 years, built their entire business on SD-WAN based technology.
Metacom develop their own hardware and back-end systems, which enables them to evolve together with customer requirements – and this gives them control over the entire system.