Why You May Want a Hybrid WAN for Your Hybrid Cloud

The evolution of the data center holds tremendous potential for business. It can enhance competitiveness, cut expense, shorten development cycles, improve mobile access, help analyze big data and much more.

But none of that will happen without a well-run, cost-efficient network.

“There’s more and more powerful technology being deployed into the data center. And the network is the platform upon which the data center runs,” said Gary Middleton

“There’s more and more powerful technology being deployed into the data center. And the network is the platform upon which the data center runs,” said Gary Middleton, Business Development Manager for Dimension Data’s global networking group. “It’s the platform that enables the success of the data center.”

With the flow of data rising at a compound annual growth rate of 25-30 percent and many companies tying the Internet of Things into their data centers, the network infrastructure faces complex challenges on a worldwide scale.

“I think one of the biggest questions is how the heck do they cope with there the business is taking them?,” said Middleton. With the IoT, “you can imagine more and more sensors on the network. That data needs to go somewhere. It needs to be stored somewhere. It needs to be analyzed somewhere. And that somewhere is typically the data center. So the network is going to need to cope with all that.”

Another challenge comes in the area of technical skills. The network is gradually shifting from hardware to software. That means that the people managing the network must have both sets of skills. “It’s the two in combination that will give the company an overall network solution,” Middleton noted.

Regional Differences

There’s also a question of performance for companies that operate in different regions. Telecommunications costs can vary greatly, as does the quality of service. Systems that were designed to be run in a first-world environment won’t necessarily live up to expectations in emerging markets, according to Rob Lopez, the group executive for Dimension Data’s global networking team.

“A lot of our clients are expanding quite dramatically on a global basis, including emerging markets,” he said. “The way that infrastructure is designed and  built, you can’t assume that it’s going to work in Asia, in South America, the Middle East and Africa the same way that it would run in some of the more mature western European and US markets.”

Telecommunications services are a big part of that regional issue.

“Sometimes it’s not just the quality of the telecommunications but the cost of it,” said Lopez. Often, he added, an application solution may work in one region, but not in emerging markets where telco costs can render that approach unworkable. To solve that, some companies are now turning to the Internet instead of the local carrier.

The Hybrid WAN

“We’re seeing the emergence of something call Hybrid WANs, or Hybrid Wide Area Networks, where the clients want to send some of their traffic over the Internet,” said Middleton. “That’s a brand new way to view markets and I think it’s going to be one of the big, big trends of the near future.”

Currently, most WANs are connected to carriers that use high-cost multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology. “Essentially, that network is the on-ramp to the cloud. So it becomes an incredibly costly thing for that client to keep upgrading their bandwidth to deliver the performance that’s required for the cloud,” said Middleton.

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Now, companies are starting to use “multiple carriage types” on WANs, opening up the potential for much lower costs. “Then they can make decisions about sending business-critical traffic over the secure high-cost links on the carriers versus sending other traffic – which might not be that critical – across much, much lower-cost Internet connectivity,” he added.

Lopez echoed Middleton’s words, adding that in many cases, the data can be transmitted as securely, if not more securely, through the Hybrid WAN approach with the help of trusted providers to manage the traffic and the multiple carriers.


Rob Lopez
Group Executive, Global Networking Team
Dimension Data

Read Biography

Gary Middleton
Global Business Development Manager, Network Integration
Dimension Data

Read Biography

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