Redefining Networking: The Move from Cost Center to Strategic Necessity

A transition is underway in enterprise networking. In the past, the focus of enterprise networks was on the connections between offices, data centers, and colocation facilities. With the emergence of cloud computing, IT leaders have grown accustomed to elastic scale, spending flexibility, and near-instant deployment. These experiences with cloud services are raising expectations for enterprise networks.

Alongside this transition, the importance of linking IT to business performance is higher than ever—increasing the urgency for network agility. When your network can pivot to meet new business priorities quickly and seamlessly, it has transformed from a cost center to a source of fuel for digital business transformation.

AWS is working to bring the benefits of the cloud to your enterprise network. This adds the elastic scalability and pay-as-you-go economics of the cloud to wide area network connectivity options. In addition, we have built services that provide insights into network health that help you ensure high-quality user experiences and application performance.

For example, AWS Direct Connect works by—as the name implies—connecting your network straight into AWS. This creates the shortest path possible between your location and your applications and resources. In 2021, we announced Direct Connect SiteLink, a way to extend your existing network. Once you connect a data center, branch office, or colocation facility to a Direct Connect point-of-presence, you can use SiteLink to send data between those locations. When using SiteLink, data travels over the AWS global network, taking the shortest path between locations. This can help you extend your enterprise network more quickly. SiteLink can be turned on or off in minutes, giving you an option to meet transient connectivity needs in entirely new ways, and delivering the agility you desire.

We also recently announced AWS Cloud WAN, a service for building and operating wide area networks to connect your data centers, branch offices, and Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). With Cloud WAN, you connect to AWS through your choice of local network provider, Direct Connect, VPN, or SD-WAN and then use a central dashboard and network policies to create a unified network. This eliminates the need to configure and manage different networks individually, even when they are running different technologies. Cloud WAN generates a complete view of your on-premises and AWS networks to help you visualize the health, security, and performance of your entire network.

Using cloud services in wide area networks is an exciting new model for enterprise connectivity. Already, the idea of bringing the cloud to your enterprise network (or bringing your enterprise network to the cloud) is showing impressive results as enterprises extend, manage, and automate their networks to where they become a core asset to their digital strategy. I can’t wait to talk more about these trends and technologies at ONUG this week and hear more about the exciting things you are doing!

Author's Bio

Alec Peterson

VP of Network Platform at AWS