Digital transformations and multi-cloud deployments require a re-invention of enterprise networking. Here’s why:
- End-user expectations of “it just works” are higher than ever
- Agility and speed are as mission-critical as the apps and services themselves
- Improving the network and security become just as necessary as improving the business applications
Network Traffic Has Changed
There was a time when most mission-critical servers and data centers were hosted on-premises and the traffic was all LAN or MPLS based. That time is no more!
Nowadays, more traffic is external, encrypted via SSL, and too mission critical to back-haul to the corporate network just for traditions sake. Most app vendors such as Microsoft and Salesforce recommend not proxying or tunneling traffic. Instead, they recommend local breakouts for branch offices straight through to their service front doors.
Transformations Require Visibility
These requirements demand a fundamental transformation in the enterprise network landscape. Whether its SD-WAN, cloud-based gateways, proxies, SDN or improved VPNs, enterprises must start network transformations with network visibility and application intelligence.
Success Depends on Network and Application Intelligence
Visibility and planning are the key to successful network transformations. Re-modeling enterprise networks requires a thorough understanding of the existing structure, application workloads, and desired service levels – before, during and after the transformations.
Setting Transformation Goals
Successful network transformations start with business goals. Network administrators often don’t dictate SaaS and cloud platforms, but they are responsible for efficient delivery and optimal digital experiences.
The goals for digital transformation should be understood across teams:
- Cost reduction
- Business agility
- Branch office performance
- Improve security
Benchmark Application Workloads
Network engineers must benchmark application workloads and evaluate performance to ensure optimal experiences. End-user experience monitoring – synthetic and real – is critical to ensure ongoing satisfactory performance.
Validate Breakouts, ISP Performance & Security
Branch office speed and access to SaaS/Cloud computing is the desired outcome for SD-WAN deployments. Local branch breakouts and direct access as opposed to slow, legacy back-hauling must be tested and validated to ensure response times, availability and end-user experience.
Local breakouts and direct cloud access often require a transformation of network security. Cloud-based secure access gateways and proxies are simultaneously required when introducing local network breakouts and direct cloud access.
Verify SD-WAN Policy and Controls
SD-WAN provides a way of overlaying control and optimization in a hybrid MPLS or VPN topology. The performance of Content Data Networks (CDN), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Single Sign-On (SSO), and other dependent application services must be continuously evaluated for adjustment.
A key value proposition of SD-WAN networks is bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS) controls. These controls require evaluation, planning, and measurement from the end user’s applications perspective.
Network Transformations for Office 365
The growth in usage and adoption of Office 365 is staggering and many IT leaders have identified Office 365 network traffic as justification for alternative technologies like Express Route, SD-WAN, WAN-Optimization and more.
In a recent Gartner survey, 22% of IT leaders identified networking problems as the root cause for performance issues with Office 365. The Office 365 suite places unique demands for increased bandwidth on the network and legacy equipment like proxies, firewalls, gateways and leased lines or VPNs.
…usage has grown from 34% of all organizations in 2016 to about 53% in 2018. It is estimated that there about 200 million business users of Office 365.
Direct Connections for Branch Offices – No More Hub-N-Spoke
When all the traffic was to internal SharePoint, File and Exchange servers, the LAN/WAN connections could keep up. Now that the traffic is external to the enterprise most enterprises have to back-haul network traffic and the LAN/WAN can’t keep up.
Back-hauling traffic introduces latency and overhead which is why Microsoft recommends against it and recommends direct connections. Microsoft also recommends against proxying or tunneling network traffic. Latency is to be avoided for Software-as-a-Service applications.
Instead, Microsoft recommends local branch office breakouts through to an optimal Microsoft network service front door.
Active + Passive Monitoring. One Platform.
Network visibility often requires both Active Monitoring, aka Synthetic Transaction Monitoring (STM), and Passive Monitoring, aka Real-User Monitoring (RUM). Exoprise has unique solutions for both types of monitoring.
Real-User Monitoring with Exoprise Service Watch
Real-user or Passive Monitoring captures errors and response time on behalf of a real user. Exoprise Service Watch is unique passive monitoring that is built for monitoring applications that network administrators don’t own or can’t instrument. Exoprise Service Watch securely captures performance metrics via a browser extension.
Synthetic Transaction Monitoring With Exoprise Synthetics
STM or Active Monitoring provides immediate insight and regular samples that lend themselves to easier capacity planning. With STM, there’s no waiting around for a user to experience a problem or let you know if a change was successful.
Real-user monitoring for Office 365, Salesforce, GSuite and more
Synthetic Sensors for every app, every protocol. No scripting required.