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Category : SD WAN Chicago

The only truly scarce commodity in business is time. You can’t create time, so it must be spent wisely. The most successful organizations are ones that always find ways to be more efficient and productive with their time; leading to a low cost structure, high customer satisfaction and good employee morale.

Over the past 20 years, MPLS became entrenched as the gold-standard of WAN transport and many organizations have found a way to absorb the high cost and inefficiencies inherent in MPLS. Why? Because with technology, there’s a strong tendency to stay with what you already know so it’s no surprise that most organizations have not spent time looking to escape their MPLS WAN. But things are changing quickly.

The rise of cloud computing has exposed “real world” limitations of MPLS and created a new reality where it is draining knowledge worker productivity. Whether it’s a new site deployment, an employee running cloud applications, or an IT engineer configuring the network, MPLS is wasting your time. Successful organizations may be able to spend twice as much money to maintain the status quo with MPLS, but when you consider the new SD-WAN math, you save time and money. So the question is, What are you waiting for?

SD-WAN is about accelerating productivity.  SD-WAN enables your organization to collaborate and innovate at 10 times the speed of MPLS. Putting aside the 50% TCO savings from SD-WAN, the fact is cloud-driven organizations can’t afford to waste another minute waiting on MPLS.  Given the efficiency of SD-WAN it is no wonder that late 2017 marks the tipping point; according to IDC, the SD-WAN market is projected to grow to $8 billion in annual revenues by the year 2021.

3 Key Areas Where MPLS Is Wasting Your Time

1.) Site Deployments  First, MPLS circuits have notoriously long provisioning times. This delays new branch deployments hugely.  “There’s simply no fast way to deploy MPLS,” explains Futuriom Founder and Chief Analyst, Scott Raynovich, during a recent webinar presentation of his SD-WAN Growth Outlook. “It often takes months, not weeks or days.”

2.) Worker Productivity — With cloud applications on the rise, MPLS is unnecessarily slowing down day-to-day worker productivity. Cloud applications running over MPLS can be sluggish, disrupting the flow of productivity by causing workers to waste time waiting on their network instead of focusing on their tasks.  The two primary causes of slow cloud performance are relatively low MPLS bandwidth speeds, which is exacerbated by indirect routes connecting users to their cloud applications. “MPLS is designed to support point-to-point data centers, not cloud,” describes Raynovich. “Now you have people going out to the cloud with applications like Salesforce CRM, Box and Office365 and the performance of these applications is really the productivity of your business.”

 

3.) Network Engineering Time — These MPLS deficiencies didn’t just spring up overnight, they are part of MPLS’s DNA. IT teams have been spending precious time combating these issues for years. Branch router complexity has been increasing and WAN optimization appliances are often inserted to overcome MPLS limitations. Maintaining the old WAN model requires specialized knowledge and hands-on configuration. Bottom line, your IT team is spending too much time supporting your MPLS network. An engineer’s time and expertise is highly valuable, so according to Raynovich the question is, “as a corporation, do you want this person spending their time on manual router configurations, or do you want to free them up to service customers or for projects that create even more value?”

MPLS is designed to support point-to-point data centers, not cloud. Now you have people going out to the cloud with applications like Salesforce CRM, Box and Office365 and the performance of these applications is really the productivity of your business.
Scott RaynovichFounder and Chief Analyst, Futuriom

SD-WAN Accelerates Innovation

Technology is now driving the business ecosystem, from internal teams, to supply chains, to customer interactions. At some level, every major business initiative relies on skilled IT personnel to connect, integrate and operate the software and systems that help you compete and win in the market.  To accelerate key initiatives, organizations must shift their best and brightest technology minds away from basic network operations functionality so they can focus on strategic, revenue-impacting technology initiatives.

SD-WAN simplifies branch networking through network function virtualization.  Centralized orchestration brings network automation and efficiency to a new level. SD-WAN performance and resiliency radically reduces the amount of IT time spent reacting to network outages and trouble tickets.  Network-as-a-Service offerings maximize IT time savings, providing a fully managed SD-WAN solution including solution design, network integration, ongoing branch orchestration and even the SDN overlay transport network to connect all your sites, users and applications.

SD-WAN Accelerates Productivity

When application performance is sluggish, it can interrupt the user’s stream-of-consciousness which brings productivity and innovation to a screeching halt. SD-WAN eliminates last-mile MPLS bottlenecks that leave users starving for bandwidth, enhancing throughput and productivity for everyone including remote offices, mobile workers and even IoT devices.

SD-WAN is an overlay technology that works with your existing technology ecosystem, powering the software, systems and connections you already use to run way, way faster. From the employee perspective, SD-WAN is a seamless and transparent productivity boost.  Existing employee workflows are accelerated because SD-WAN provides faster access to business-critical cloud services, with 10X the bandwidth speed and more direct, low-latency routes to power cloud applications.

SD-WAN Accelerates Growth

When multi-site organizations look to expand, they need to enter new markets and that leads to opening new sites in new territories. SD-WAN eliminates the long wait times for MPLS circuit deployments, so you won’t need to wait months to turn-up a new site.

SD-WAN provides customers the freedom to connect using any locally available circuits and/or carriers in the last-mile.  Versatility to use any Cable, DSL or even 4G/LTE connections allows new sites to be online in days. Once the last mile loops are installed, SD-WAN CPE are shipped overnight and remotely provisioned through a centralized orchestration portal in the time it that takes to grab a cup of coffee!

Next Steps

To get familiar with SD-WAN and how it helps improve performance beyond MPLS, check out the on-demand replay SD-WAN Growth Outlook: Lowering the Costs of WAN Services, featuring Futuriom Founder and Chief Analyst, Scott Raynovich.

For those ready to move forward on their Journey to an SD-WAN, we offer a series of eight free analyst white papers by Dr. Jim Metzler to guide you along the way.


Eliminate connectivity downtime

What is Downtime and how to Avoid it in Business

I love to read. One of my favorite authors is Malcom Gladwell who is renowned for explaining human nature and why we behave the way we do and why we make decisions. However, when it comes to phone services, it seems as if so many people make decisions based on a few narrow factors. Price, the charm of the salesperson and the inertia of staying with a current provider seem to be the qualities most common to business clients staying with a poor performing hosted voice provider. I read their horror stories – when the primary motive was saving money or they did a “plug and play” install – which turned out to be “plug and pray“.

In order to find out what is happening in real time to those people that make poor decisions, I went to www.downdetector.com. It is an interesting website where you can see outages from a variety of providers in real time. You can see maps of where outages are occurring and you can also read comments from people posting throughout the outages. It was astounding to see the comments and the shear misery of the downed businesses.

How much does misery cost? A simple method to calculate the cost of an outage is: what is the amount of fixed monthly expense you have per hour for the people that are most affected by the outage and cannot do their job. For example, if I have a call center taking inbound sales calls with seven agents and I am paying the agents each $12.00 per hour, my fixed direct cost is $84. An outage of 4 hours costs me $ 84 x 4= $336.  That is the lowest estimate of what that four hour outage cost – speak to your accountant on how your indirect costs will increase your cost (for most businesses) to almost double that amount. If I factor in the cost of lost business- people that were trying to reach me during those four down hours, my costs are further increased due to the lost revenue.

If I look at the heat map of the outages on downdetector.com, I see that I live in a sea of red for my Internet service provider- the worst place to be. How can I mitigate the costs of an outage? As my father has taught me, the best way out of a critical situation is never to be in one.

Technology is supposed to help us. Right? Well, that is why we have the latest and greatest development called SD WAN (software defined wide area network). The best way to make sure that your provider doesn’t go down is to make sure that you have multiple providers and multiple ways of reaching the Internet. That is the rationale behind SD-WAN. Basically, it means that you have a device on your premise that enables you to plug in multiple connections to the Internet into one device to make one big connection to the Internet. When service is not down due to an outage, you are able to aggregate your services. When service on one of the component connections is down, the SD WAN provider routes all of your traffic to the other connections. So if I have a cable modem, a fiber connection and a wireless LTE connection, the probability of all of them going down simultaneously is virtually null. If I couple that with a hosted service that is housed in a Level III data center and a portal that allows me to route incoming calls to other devices or locations, I have eliminated the chance of an outage.

If you look at 99% reliability, that means approximately 20 hours of down time a year. Even 99.9 % reliability can cost 2 hours of downtime. You can’t choose when that downtime is going to happen. It can happen at a low impact time – or it can happen at the worst possible moment.

Lessons Learned:

  • Go onto downdetector.com and see if there are lots of outages with your provider
  • If you want to avoid the risk of downtime, diversify your bandwidth
  • Make sure that your cloud phone provider is housed in the best possible data center
  • Make sure your cloud phone provider is completely virtualized with redundancy.
  • Make sure that you have access to a portal and know how to re-route your calls immediately.
  • Make sure that you use SD WAN as part of your total solution.

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