Video is fast becoming the medium of choice for distributing content online, and its use is quite staggering. Way back in 2014, 64 percent of all Internet traffic was video content. By the end of this year? It is estimated that video content will represent 74 percent of Internet traffic worldwide1. But why? Not surprisingly, video is one of the most powerful tools for engaging with an audience, and often your audience is your employees. Viewers of video content retain as much as 95 percent of the messaging that is relayed versus 10 percent when the same content is read. 2 As more and more communications channels move online, it’s becoming the domain of IT staff to ensure that connectivity, performance, and availability are optimal with few issues. What is one of the most effective way to ensure this? Through the use of a software defined wide area network, or SD-WAN.
Among other things, SD-WAN technology automates the process of determining the most effective way to route traffic to various locations for an organization. Three of the main benefits of this automation are that it delivers a superior end user experience, simplifies management tasks, and offers significant cost savings to the organization.
Let’s look at a very real-world scenario. Your company is going to deliver its internal quarterly meeting via videoconference with all branch offices and traveling employees participating. It kicks off and immediately the problems start happening: the Singapore office is experiencing massive lag, sales reps on the road can’t participate on their mobile phones, and finally, there is constant pixilation. With overall poor quality and generally ineffective, this meeting fails to provide value to anyone and is a waste of time and money.
Quality of video and end user experience need to be excellent in order to ensure engagement of the audience and delivery of content. The end user experience should not be compromised, e.g., no dropped packets, clear video, mobile friendly delivery, etc. To deliver this, you need to make sure that the video content is pushed through those circuits that can handle high bandwidth demands. By deploying SD-WAN technology, organizations are no longer limited to MPLS and dedicated circuits for sending content across the organization. With SD-WAN, content delivery can be done through dedicated channels as well as through broadband Internet without compromising quality or reliability and support for any device is ensured.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
One of the big advantages of deploying a SD-WAN is it makes things simple: network management, deploying updates, changing or updating configuration parameters, you name it. Operations that may have taken weeks or more in many cases – such as bringing new offices online – can be pared down to minutes. It’s unprecedented how even the most complex of tasks can be now be done at an order of magnitude faster than before with this technology. Deployment of a good SD-WAN solution can be fairly straightforward starting with physical, pre-configured appliances that can be added to a corporate network, as well as virtual appliances that can be deployed via existing network hardware. Once added to a network, SD-WANs reduce complexity through a centralized management console that provides a complete view of network components and connectivity. Ideally, workflows within that unified view are simple – drop down menus and check boxes – driving comprehensive automation in the background. For example, deploying VPN connectivity to the cloud can be done with a few clicks. Automation of services extends beyond provisioning of newly added locations or devices or clouds and also includes path control so that content can be distributed effectively based on attributes including priority of the application and real-time network health so that latency is minimized and packet loss is avoided and delivery is successful.
In the example of the ‘all hands’ video meeting, SD-WAN would be aware of the fact that the MPLS connection to the Canada office is down and only broadband Internet access is available, so content delivery can be achieved for that location regardless of connectivity restrictions. And all you had to do for a seamless user experience was to specify that the video application was a high priority.
Save money and look good doing it.
A really great way to look at the savings that SD-WAN technology can deliver is to simply consider the repercussions of not leveraging this tech. What would happen to that business that doesn’t have SD-WAN in our video content delivery example? Ideally, your network should allow you to deliver high demand, critical traffic with no issues and without compromising the end user experience.
Without a SD-WAN solution in place, this situation can get messy for the IT team, and expensive for the business as 45 percent of the total cost of ownership of running a traditional network is dedicated to the many individuals tasked with operations and maintenance.3 Additionally, these skilled personnel may not be available in all locations, the complexity of configuring and managing network equipment is a lot to support, and making configuration changes is not easy. This is compounded when there are multiple locations and highly mobile employees. Without SD-WAN, all of these challenges are real and you experience quite a bit of pain. You run the risk of losing out on the chance to reduce the TCO of your network, which according to Gartner can be 40 percent or more by leveraging SD-WAN technology4, through centralized (and simplified) management, increased automation of tasks, and a more intelligent utilization of resources for efficient delivery of, and access to, content.
Deploying SD-WAN in your organization helps to ensure that communication, both inside and out of your business, is of the highest quality, frictionless and delivered in a way that does not constrain organizational resources or threaten your bottom line.
- According to Kleiner Perkins: http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends
- According to Insivia: http://www.popvideo.com/blog/looking-at-the-facts-why-video-content-has-the-highest-retention-rate
- According to Zeus Kerravala, industry analyst:http://www.nojitter.com/post/240172529/sdwan-value-more-than-cost-savings
- According to Gartner: https://onecloudnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/GARTNER-SD-WAN-TECHNOLOGY-OVERVIEW.pdf
Filed Under: Infrastructure