As new technologies proliferate the industry, it can be difficult to figure out which ones will have lasting power and are worth investing your capital and time. Any new technology should enable your business to innovate and gain a competitive advantage. We think these technologies could drive real value to your business and your bottom line.
SD-WAN abstracts the management and operations of the WAN from its hardware. By providing an overlay that virtualizes the WAN layer, connectivity can be achieved by leveraging multiple technologies while providing increased visibility, intelligence, availability, and simplified management. Using SD-WAN can help increase your WAN performance while reducing the cost of the overall WAN infrastructure. This can be achieved by allowing you to get rid of costly MPLS connections or enhance them using broadband or even LTE connectivity, and significantly reduce the cost and resources required to set up edge or branch locations. Gartner estimates that by 2023, 90% of WAN edge infrastructure initiatives will be based on a virtualized solution like SD-WAN.
You can re-allocate the money you save to increasing bandwidth, to other IT projects, or even to your bottom line.
One of the most exciting advances in the network environment, 802.11ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6, allows for faster wireless transmission on dense networks. The protocol reduces latency and increases network speed by allowing for multiple users to transmit data at the same time (instead of processing data sequentially like with older protocols). In addition, an increased number of channels and sub channels can be leveraged to reduce interference when multiple users are connected. A wireless environment running Wi-Fi 6 is a must for any dense environment where you have a lot of users, devices, or applications that need to send a lot of data (like voice-over-IP). Since 802.11ax transmits multi-gig, cabling to the physical access points may need to be upgraded to handle the bandwidth.
Of all the transformative network technologies discussed in this article, this one will be the most impactful to your end users’ daily experience.
While not an emerging technology, we would be remiss for not mentioning Leaf-Spine architecture as a core component of any network refresh that has a goal of driving innovation. The Leaf-Spine architecture is a radically more efficient network topology that allows for east-west traffic flow at higher speed and with lower latency. The technology uses Layer 3 routing for traffic flow and thus eliminates Spanning Tree Protocol and VLANs from the environment and creates a much more stable and scalable network. The Leaf-Spine architecture supports the higher 25/40/100 Gbps speeds necessary for a software-defined data center, especially those replete with a hyper-converged architecture.
This architecture is a must if you’re looking to grow and scale the network backbone, or if you’re looking to implement a software-defined networking solution.
Micro-segmentation is a relatively old networking concept. In the old days, you achieved segmentation of your collision domains by implementing separate physical switches, VLANs, and IP subnets. Now, micro-segmentation can be configured at the software layer using products like Cisco ACI or VMware NSX. Using a software-based micro-segmentation offering allows you to automatically isolate and protect virtual workloads as they are spun up and in a more granular fashion. This technology is ideal for isolating and segmenting intra-data center traffic, because the segmentation policies can also follow the protected workloads as they move to another software-defined data center or even the public cloud. Consider implementing micro-segmentation if you want to decrease your risk domain by isolating workloads.
If you’re ready to explore your options for network transformation, give us a call. Our team of experts can help you select the technologies, services, and solutions that are right for your organization.