The WAN is Now Cloudy and That’s a Good Thing

Enterprises are used to the idea that the cloud is consumable. After all, cloud consumability is the characteristic that brings the chief cloud benefit: business agility. Why build and maintain your own data center space, power, equipment, etc. when you can simply click or API your way to thousands of servers? For traditional IT teams, cloud consumability has been a revelation. For digital native DevOps and SRE teams, cloud consumability is a given.

The bad news is that the WAN as a whole has historically run far beyond cloud infrastructure, storage and application delivery in terms of agility. But the good news is that this is rapidly changing. The WAN is now a cloud service, and yours can be too.

The Rise of the Enterprise Cloud Core

Cloud computing isn’t just a location change in where enterprise applications are physically hosted. It’s also a distributed way of building applications, combined with a quantum leap in infrastructure automation and scalability. Cloud computing is the enabler for and beneficiary of enterprise digital transformation, which has in turn resulted in an explosion of cloud-based apps, services, and data consumed by a massive and growing set of human and machine users.

So it’s important to remember that the cloud’s impact on the enterprise WAN isn’t just about altering the way that remote users connect to applications. There is also a tectonic shift in the core of the enterprise IT machinery, from monolithic data centers to distributed computing and storage resources connected together as a hybrid and multi-cloud core, scaling up relentlessly as digital data and workflows grow exponentially.

Unpredictable, Heavy Bandwidth Demands

The core of the WAN is much more unpredictable than ever due to the proliferation of app components and data across colocation, cloud, and SaaS, and the high rate of change in digital business. An analytics project may require Petabytes of data to be transferred from a data center to a cloud. A new go-to-market or a shift in end-user demand may spike capacity needs for compute and network bandwidth. The fact is that in a digital business world, connectivity for your cloud core is intense and  unpredictable. And that’s on top of the normal fluctuations in bandwidth requirements due to seasonality, new business initiatives, and corporate events like mergers and acquisitions. The flexibility of your interconnection matters a lot in the cloud core.

Good News: NaaS Makes Core Connectivity Work Like the Cloud

Nobody would seriously consider using Internet connectivity for mission-critical data center and cloud interconnections at any scale. But traditional telco connections are also highly problematic. They’re slow to provision and come laden with inflexible contracts that rob you of the ability to flex your cloud connectivity to meet all those changing and unpredictable digital business demands.

Fortunately there is a better answer. Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) provides a combination of private, telco-style networks combined with cloud native programmability, operational, and billing flexibility to make WAN behave like a cloud service. NaaS (also called middle mile) services are natively automated to allow enterprises to consume high-speed (Up to 100G+) private connections between colocation data center, public cloud, SaaS, Internet Exchange, and independent cloud providers on-demand via a portal or REST API.

What do you get from a WAN core that acts like the cloud?

  • Network agility: You count on cloud and SaaS to give you business agility. Now your WAN acts the same.
  • Supply chain freedom: As more pieces of your business migrate into the cloud, you can get high-speed, cloud-native connectivity without dealing with physical networking infrastructure.
  • Optimal cost-performance: What if you could burst bandwidth from a steady state of 1Gbps to 10Gbps by the hour? Think of how much better that is for backup and recovery operations than the traditional, fixed contract alternative. NaaS enables that agility.
  • Carrier-class reliability: You don’t have to trade away reliability and performance. NaaS service offerings are available with stringent and transparent SLAs.

Learn more

If you’re looking to learn more about how to transform the core of your WAN and make it more agile, tune into upcoming ONUGs and also visit us at where you’ll find a ton of good resources.



Author's Bio

Alex Henthorn-Iwane

CMO, PacketFabric