When COVID-19 first hit, companies in Australia had to shift their focus toward launching new and expanded digital services.
The needed to support a fully remote workforce, as well as accelerate the transition to a more cloud-connected world. And they needed to do it all virtually overnight.
Now that businesses have been operating in this hybrid work environment for the past 12 months, they must now take a step back and assess if they’ve considered and adapted their IT and network infrastructure to support applications in a multi-cloud connected environment.
There are five common challenges enterprise IT managers face when it comes to supporting multi-cloud connectivity of applications across a wide area network (WAN):
- How do I assure the highest levels of performance for mission-critical SaaS applications that are carried over broadband?
- How can I integrate and enforce unique security policies for trusted or untrusted cloud-hosted applications with the increased use of broadband?
- How can I easily integrate and extend WAN applications to be hosted in public cloud environments?
- How can I automate the integration of my SD-WAN with the major public cloud backbone networks?
- How can I automate the orchestration of cloud security services hosted by leading cloud security vendors within my SD-WAN?
An intelligent SD-WAN edge platform explicitly addresses these challenges and forms the foundation for enabling an effective multi-cloud enterprise strategy.
SaaS optimisation for the best user experience
The majority of applications are now delivered as SaaS, so backhauling all cloud-destined traffic back to the data centre impairs application performance due to added latency.
SaaS optimisation connects users from branch sites to SaaS applications in a seamless and secure way, while continuously monitoring the quality of experience (QoE). This supports optimal connectivity, availability and performance.
Intelligent local internet breakout
Intelligent SD-WAN edge platforms employ a virtual WAN overlay model and enforce end-to-end micro-segmentation to enable differentiated treatment – including enforcing unique security policies and controls – for different classes of applications.
Having a unified zone-based stateful firewall at the WAN edge is essential for a complete, secure local internet breakout solution that delivers direct connectivity to trusted SaaS applications and IaaS from branch offices, blocking any unwanted or unauthorised traffic attempting to enter the branch network from the enterprise LAN.
Deploying SD-WAN virtual instances in public clouds
Enterprises can deploy a virtual appliance instance to extend their SD-WAN to IaaS providers with seamless orchestration and ongoing lifecycle management. These appliances may be deployed in public cloud infrastructures, enabling secure connectivity via public internet or private direct connects for all branch and data centre locations connecting to public clouds.
SD-WAN integration and automation with public cloud
An intelligent SD-WAN provides orchestrated, secure branch connectivity directly to public cloud providers’ global backbone networks. This greatly simplifies the SD-WAN overlay by connecting branch locations directly to regional points of presence that provide access to cloud resources within a region and across regions. The overlay also supports branch-to-branch communication without virtual gateways at each virtual private cloud.
Automation and integration of SD-WAN with cloud security vendors
Advanced API integration with third-party security services within an SD-WAN platform, enables network managers to fully realise a cloud-first vision that leverages UTM and advanced security capabilities. This enables the enterprise to automate consistent, network-wide security policies that combine the advantages of an advanced zero trust WAN edge on-premises, with cloud-delivered security services from their security vendor of choice.
Cloud programmable networking platform
With the emergence of secure access service edge (SASE), SD-WAN is becoming a cloud programmable networking platform for orchestrating network, security and SASE components. This provides enterprises with a better way to adopt, orchestrate and manage these discrete security components, plugging them into the network and centrally managing them with software.
This flexibility offers enterprises the freedom of choice to adopt leading cloud-delivered security solutions, which can be fully unified with their SD-WAN deployments.
In a multi-cloud environment, IT teams require automation and orchestration to ease the burden of deployment and ongoing management to ensure the highest level of performance and security for the users they serve. Lifecycle management and orchestration are essential to achieve the full transformational promise of the cloud.
SD-WAN: the easy button
Managing multi-cloud connectivity across your WAN must be made simpler, so it doesn’t become unruly or unmanageable.
Selecting the right SD-WAN platform provides an “easy button” to simplify the integration of private cloud, SaaS and IaaS hosted applications. At the same time, it delivers consistent and secure application performance over any WAN infrastructure to all users anywhere and from any device.
Nav Chander is a senior director of Service Provider Marketing at Aruba.