If you really want to see VoIP and other real-time, business-critical UC apps dance, you need to move to the rhythm of a failsafe SD-WAN. Even if the sound of your network transport has a good beat, not all SD-WANs are easy to dance to. While some SD-WANs claim to save you money and provide greater bandwidth, that’s not good enough if you have applications that need to perform at their best all the time. And for that the failsafe element is critical.
Every IT administrator will know the applications that his or her business relies on and generate the most trouble tickets and complaints if they don’t work. These could range from billing or a Salesforce CRM system to Office 365 and video conferencing applications, where jitter or delays are at best irritating. It is these applications that need a platinum QoS-oriented SD-WAN service. In other words, the SD-WAN fabric can recognise an application based on its domain name or sub-domain name, which allows a network administrator to establish a special set of policies to steer the application to a defined service.
In the case of Talari SD-WAN, the idea of enhanced application identification involves more than 100 pre-defined applications and also supports the addition of user-defined applications, all of which are assigned to a pre-defined application category. Alternatively, users may configure additional application categories as required.
From an application-centric perspective, the network admin determines what applications should be steered out through the local Internet service and what applications would be hair-pinned back to the data centre or NCN (Network Control Node) site. The user can then define a specific application policy for the specific service, which could include and be applied to all SD-WAN sites or just a subset of sites depending on user and business needs.
Traditional QoS principles are applied for SD-WAN conduit or tunnel services, whereby the user can map an application to a pre-defined classification or select their own classification. With the added functionality of an application dashboard, IT operations admins can view the granular performance and health of critical applications, cumulative and live, with bandwidth usage by service.
A good use case example is in contact centres, especially 999/911/112 first responders, because second-by-second failsafe services are mission critical:
- Contact centre applications and services work without interruption, even in the case of link failure or degraded network links
- Traffic is prioritised during times of congestion, ensuring that critical traffic such as VoIP receives priority across the network
- Bandwidth reservation and reliable QoS are available that allow even best effort broadband networks to deliver high quality and reliable performance
- Performance of bandwidth-intensive applications are improved since they can use the aggregate of all WAN link bandwidth or packet/path replication
The future state of application ID in a failsafe SD-WAN fabric will include cloud-based apps that extend app fluency beyond the branch or remote site to local Internet conduits that tunnel directly into the call cluster of, say, RingCentral cloud-voice, to optimise WAN-edge connectivity and bandwidth, communications reliability and application QoE.
How SD-WAN benefits add up
Cost reduction has traditionally been the low-hanging fruit of SD-WAN benefits. Compared to waltzing to an MPLS-only plan, SD-WAN is almost always more economical. Gartner estimates a 250-branch deployment would cost only one-third as much over three years as an all-MPLS one. But aside from cost and resilience, other SD-WAN benefits include:
A Better User Experience for Cloud Apps
SaaS apps are staples of productivity, yet poorly supported by legacy WANs, which impose significant performance penalties when backhauling traffic through data centres. SD-WANs take a more streamlined approach, with only a single hop, thanks to direct cloud connectivity, which means that end users see the benefits of improved usability.
The frequent need for additional bandwidth contributes to the high price tag of traditional WANs. In contrast, SD-WANs make the full aggregated bandwidth, regardless of the underlying transport types, available to critical applications such as videoconferencing and VoIP. MPLS, broadband, cellular and satellite links can all be incorporated into the SD-WAN mix to optimise performance as well as cost.
Remote and branch offices (RBO) often get left behind in the struggle to properly configure network services with awkward pre-configuration of devices and time-consuming on-site visits. In contrast, SD-WANs dramatically simplify RBO setup, allowing for easier expansions and updates across the entire organisation.
So, make sure your disco club scene is filled with failsafe SD-WAN innovators and MSP enablers who can help your UC apps break-dance to greater business agility and moon-walk to a new world of IT resilience for your edge network.
Guest Blog by Atchison Frazer of Talari Networks
Talari Networks, the trusted SD-WAN technology and market leader, engineers the internet and branch for maximum business impact by designing failsafe WANs that deliver superior business-critical application reliability and resiliency, while unlocking the simplification and cost reduction benefits of branch consolidation.