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Types of Cloud Services WAN Managers Should Consider

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WAN managers are responsible for every innovation within the network infrastructure of an organization. From data center updates to vertical scaling and implementation of intranet tools, a WAN manager supervises all. In today’s dynamic technology ecosystem, it has become quintessential for WAN managers to leverage cloud technology in the organization as it offers myriad of options to leverage virtualization, provide scalable and even on-demand services, and reduce hardware dependencies. By virtualizing WAN in an organization, physical devices such as office routers, and virtual mediums like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be transitioned into a cloud environment. This reduces the strain on hardware and eliminates the requirement of physical systems and devices. The impact of cloud computing on WAN is immense and mostly ascribes to an array of features such as:

Minimal upfront IT investmentCloud services are typically pay as you go, so there is no need for capital expenditure.

Expert technical support—Cloud service organizations have in-house expertise to quickly find fault and resolve issues. Technical staff is constantly up-skilled to understand latest trends in the cloud landscape.

Competitiveness—Cloud grants smaller enterprises access to –enterprise-class technology. It also allows smaller businesses act faster than established large competitors. A recent study on disaster recovery concluded that companies who did not use cloud had to rely on tape backup methods and complicated procedures to recover data that are slow and laborious.

Although at the outset, cloud seems to be a compelling and robust solution, however there are certain concerns that have been troubling the landscape, most important of which is security. Therefore, WAN managers should look into many factors before making cloud centerpiece of their WAN strategy. Some of the considerations to keep in mind are listed below:

Latency and Packet Loss—Latency and packet loss have a significant effect on throughput between customer locations and cloud vendors. This sometimes has minimal effect depending on the size of the data flow; however, it can have great importance when we have large volume of data.

Network Degradation—When connecting different types of networks, the distance can have a significant effect on the packet, in turn causing a degradation of the network in general. When using cloud services, this can become more pronounced depending on the distance for the packet to travel.  

Network Peering—It is well established that passing traffic between different carriers can cause bottlenecks and overtime cause a negative effect on network performance. It can be adverse when peering with providers that have lower quality connectivity to enable cost savings. In some instances, an enterprise may purchase low-cost internet services unaware that it may traverse a number of separate internet switching services.

Working With the Right Cloud Model

After considering all essential aspects regarding cloud adoption, WAN managers will find themselves in a crossroad, where they have to select a specific cloud model. The models available in the market today are Public, Private, Hybrid, and Community. WAN managers should introspect and find the right model that suits the organizational structure.

Private – This model is apt for organizations who do not want to lose control over their software and tools. In this scenario, the organization will be deploying in-house hardware and software into the cloud servers. This model ensures better security than other models of cloud deployment.

Public – Organizations frequently need to test an application or a set of servers. Instead of buying equipment, they will “rent” it out. In this pay-as-you-go model, WAN managers can provision Virtual Machines (VMs) in a public cloud environment, work with them as long as needed, and then decommission those servers. All of this will have little to no impact on the local corporate data center.

Hybrid – In some cases, two different cloud platforms need to be combined to test production data with a public cloud virtual machine (VM). In this case, organizations are able to create secure connection between the public and private environment effectively creating a hybrid cloud environment.

Community – This is the latest and recent addition to the cloud model. Imagine that there is an application being hosted by a provider. Instead of providing the same application for a customer on individual VMs, the provider is able to segment connections coming into its environment. From there, it will allow multiple customers to connect into its cloud platform to access that single application. This is, effectively, a community cloud.

Taking into account all these considerations, WAN managers can implement cloud WAN in their organization and when set up effectively, cloud WAN services can reduce hardware costs and maintenance. Companies achieve cost savings by virtualizing current WAN technology, and cut energy bills due to cloud WANs’ greater efficiency and lower overhead costs. Although cloud service is a transformative force, WAN managers should be ready to embrace any newfangled technology that may arise in the impending years.