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Don’t Let Legacy WANs Stifle Customers’ Cloud Experience

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Cloud-Based WAN
Infoblox's Lori Cornmesser

Lori Cornmesser

As the pandemic lingers and businesses balance new safety guidelines with revenue goals, Charles Darwin’s assertions in his landmark book, “On The Origin of Species,” that species that adapt to their changing environment have the best chance of survival, still seems apropos more than a century after the book was first published. We’ve seen restaurants close down in-person dining and shift to online ordering with curbside pickup and delivery options, and many other businesses have implemented remote work strategies. Common among these profound changes is a growing reliance on the public cloud.

According to a 2020 Global Networking Trends Report from Cisco, half of all workloads will be run outside the enterprise data center by 2021, either in cloud and data center infrastructures or at the network edge. The same report notes that newer approaches to network architecture, such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), currently carry 23% of traffic within enterprise data centers. Next year, the adoption of those network architectures is expected to grow to 44%.

Additionally, 85% of IT organizations are evaluating or already using the public cloud, and within the next 12 months, 94% of companies will be using or evaluating it.

Traditional WANs Aren’t Cloud Optimized

While some companies believe that moving to the cloud makes network considerations less relevant, nothing could be further from the truth. Adopting cloud services means that remote connectivity to those services is more critical than ever. It also means that traditional wide area network (WAN) architectures, which weren’t built to be cloud-first, agile or extensible, are no longer optimal, or preferable.

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has evolved as a viable solution, integrating multiple transport types (e.g., MPLS, broadband, LTE) and allowing for direct connections to cloud-based platforms. It also enables dynamic path selection of application traffic to meet quality-of-service (QoS) standards. The opportunity to get the same or better connectivity for the same cost or a reduced cost has made SD-WAN one of the fastest-growing networking industry segments in recent years.

IDC reports that 95% of IT decision-makers have already deployed or plan to deploy SD-WAN in the next two years. But deploying SD-WAN without upgrading the critical tools that networks rely on to operate can suppress this essential technology’s full potential. If companies are to take full advantage of all the benefits SD-WAN brings, other network parts must evolve, too, including DDI. This shorthand term refers to the domain name system (DNS), dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) and IP address management (IPAM) functions. These processes are some of the first services that a device contacts when it connects to a network and can provide critical security and visibility for IT teams.

Implementing an integrated DDI helps solution providers simplify and automate the management of the interactions between DNS, DHCP and IPAM. These capabilities enable organizations to effectively cope with ever-increasing volumes of IP addresses and business dependency on core network services. DDI can also play a significant role in next-generation network technologies like SDN, facilitating an enterprise’s move to the cloud by focusing on automated provisioning and integration with …

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