IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: New Solutions Keeping Enterprise Business Ahead of the GameJune 27, 2017 No Comments
10 years ago, the Internet was all about speed. How could we make the Internet faster? How could we halve download times? How could we reduce the gap between wanting information and acquiring it?
The need for speed remains a key requirement for Internet users across the globe, but in the world of enterprise business immediacy is part and parcel of a larger, all encompassing proposition: performance.
The Internet today is not just a business solution, it is business. Downtime and inadequate performance mean increased cost and even a reduction in turnover. For today’s enterprise business, high-priority traffic demands consistently high-performing Internet, and this isn’t always possible with traditional (not to mention two-decades old) Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) solutions.
We spoke to Sander Barens, VP of Commercial Development at Expereo to learn a little about the new solutions and evolutions driving internet into exciting places today and keeping enterprise business ahead of the game, from managed internet networks to SD-WAN services. Headquartered in the Netherlands (and with offices in the US, Singapore, Dubai, Brazil and Argentina) Expereo recently acquired Border 6, the creator of leading technology in internet performance-based routing.
We caught up with Sander to learn why enterprise business are in need of such solutions, and what steps they need to take to get there.
- Q. Why should companies consider SD-WAN and cloud acceleration solutions today?
We’ve witnessed the Internet evolve a great deal over the years. From broadband to Wi-Fi, from on-premise to Cloud – SD-WAN offers an evolution in Internet performance on par with these world-changing, disruptive leaps in technology.
Unlike BGP solutions, SD-WAN considers all provided options in a network, determining which are best to serve an application at a particular moment in time. SD-WAN deftly sidesteps many issues in a controlled way, uniquely leveraging the flexibility and agility of the Internet. It ensures performance remains unhindered across all applications – and that’s vital in today’s world of inter-connected, global, always-on business.
As time goes by, the question is less “do we make the shift?” For discerning business owners, it’s “when do we make the shift.”
- Q. What are the major trends in accelerating cloud application performance from a networking perspective?
Traditional WAN acceleration approaches primarily take care of the transport protocols and application level. They compress the traffic or content, optimise the TCP protocol and dynamically squeeze low priority applications when congestions occur somewhere on the path to and from the user. Other WAN acceleration techniques can do traffic load-balancing through multiple paths and optimise flow-based path selection based on performance. This focuses on the overlay networks, i.e. SD-WAN and MPLS-VPN. For some, storing content closer to the user dynamically via a CDN (Content Delivery Network solution) can be another option to consider. However, this option is limited to only those applications that do not require frequent or interactive updates.
In the corporate WAN context, the Internet has become the network of choice, as a replacement or alternative to many private services. SD-WAN is disruptive in the market driving this change. SD-WAN Technology already has some level of optimization, but only in the WAN overlay. There is now also a need and trend for optimizing the path selection at the underlay level. For example, the SD-WAN IPSec tunnels are transported on the Internet. Network administrators need to have the confidence that the best Internet paths are chosen for transporting these tunnels to ensure proper application performance and happy users.
In the cloud, the remote user is connected via the Internet only. On both ends, the best Internet path must be selected to have the best possible application behavior. When congestion occurs, and impacts the traffic with high delays or worse packet loss that breaks the application performance. WAN Optimization can resolve those issues autonomously.
- Q. What is more important for your customers today – performance or reduced cost?
It depends on the customer’s business and application choice. Some specific industries, like Real-Time Bidding networks, first care about latency performance. They deal with programmatic instantaneous auctions which are constrained in terms of maximum response time and require cluster calculation delays. They must make sure that they can talk to their partners with the smallest delays to win these auctions.
Corporate SD-WAN and hybrid-WANs typically carry a large variety of applications. Due to continuous application improvement, the sensitivity to high delay has become a lot less, but packet loss generally still has a high impact on their users’ productivity.
High-volume content providers (e.g. video) take a higher care of costs because of high bandwidth use. By nature, their applications have become more tolerant to delays.
- Q. How is Expereo and Border 6’s approach to network acceleration for the cloud different from that of other companies?
We see several approaches to improve cloud performance. The private VPN supplier will offer the Direct Connect Cloud options, utilizing the private network with an SLA and CoS as the main differentiator. This works well if the customer chooses Cloud Applications that can be accessed that way and has no need for local internet breakout. More traditional WAN optimization solutions like compression, TCP/UDP optimization etc can be added to further improve performance.
For public cloud applications, the choices are more complex. A customer can choose a hybrid SD-WAN provider, running a global private network used for back-hauling to bring the customer cloud traffic to the closest internet gateway, reducing the length of the internet patch. This gives the customer the flexibility of public SD-WAN and some performance improvement / stability as the internet path will be across less networks. The downside is that end-to-end performance depends on the quality of the private back-haul network and the selected internet uplinks.
Expereo’s XCA offers the highest level of flexibility and makes use of the Public Internet to the fullest. As no private network infrastructure is used, XCA can choose, in real time, the best performing path across all available internet networks. This gives the customer the peace of mind that their network is optimized 24×7 resulting in the best available Cloud application performance.
- Q. Do you see SD-WAN and technologies such as Expereo and Border 6’s as absolutely necessary for enterprise business today?
For those companies that do explore the options available via SD-WAN today, the Internet presents a whole new kind of enterprise network. E-commerce portals can attract customer traffic by identifying the quickest and most reliable routes. Logistics companies can bypass problem spots along the Internet path, ensuring digital information on deliveries is delivered as smoothly as the goods themselves. Technology companies can analyze tracking patterns, making smart decisions around IP connectivity strategy.
There’s growth to come, and of course multinationals don’t move too quickly when it comes to decision making. Nevertheless, with enterprise customers looking for greater network flexibility and coming to accept intelligent routing as standard (and even exploring hybrid solutions, with SD-WAN solutions used on top of existing networks) it’s likely that the growth of SD-WAN is going to triple over the next three-five years. We’re at the moment of acceptance: solutions like SD-WAN and XCA will be absolutely necessary if companies are to keep pace with, or outpace, their competition.
We’ve witnessed the Internet evolve a great deal over the years. As corporations have overcome fears around security (or lack thereof), we’ve seen a growing shift to the solutions discussed – Cloud services now power and deliver many business-critical applications, and we’ve seen broad adoption of SD-WAN across a surprising number of industries.
From broadband to Wi-Fi, from on-premise to Cloud, from BGP to SD-WAN, we’re seeing huge evolutions in Internet performance – quite frankly, they’re world-changing, disruptive leaps in technology.
SD-WAN and other Expereo solutions sidestep issues of the old internet era in a controlled way, leveraging the flexibility and agility of the Internet. They ensure performance remains unhindered across all applications – and that’s vital in today’s world of inter-connected, global, always-on business.
As time goes by, the question for enterprise companies is less “do we make the shift?” For discerning business owners, it’s “when do we make the shift.”
Sander Barens, VP Commercial Development, Expereo
Sander joined Expereo nine years ago, and set up the first international Expereo office in Singapore in 2008.
Sander now works out of the Expereo HQ in Amsterdam as VP of Commercial Development. His team is spread out across five global offices and manages approximately 2,500 local partners that make up all the portfolio and buying options of Expereo International.
Before joining Expereo Sander worked out of Australia for BT Global Services and Infonet Services Corp. His telecom career started in 1997 with Unisource Business Services and AT&T Unisource in Europe.
Fun fact: before Sander entered the world of telecom he was a helicopter pilot!
You can learn more about Expereo at www.expereo.com
Expereo recently acquired Border 6. You can learn more about Border 6 at www.border6.comAPPLICATION INTEGRATION, CLOUD COMPUTING, DATA and ANALYTICS , Fresh Ink, Inside the Briefcase, MOBILE, SECURITY