In this modern age, enterprises are relying more and more on Wide Area Networks (WANs) to run many crucial business applications. Since these applications are the backbone to running a business they demand reliability and quality of service to guarantee efficient productivity.
Many IT staff find themselves in quite the predicament when they try to improve the reliability and capacity of their WANs. Adding capacity to Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), even though it is reliable and fairly consistent, can be expensive. A less costly approach is Internet connections via broadband, but when you take this route you lose out on reliability and performance. WAN optimization products can increase performance and bandwidth but, if the underlying WAN is unreliable or unavailable, there will be issues.
A solution to this predicament is a new approach called “WAN Virtualization.” This technology binds multiple MPLS and broadband paths into a single logical path. With this technology quality of service rules, path selection and traffic shaping can be applied to ensure that principal applications always perform well. It also ensures that all bandwidth on all paths is completely utilized. What is remarkable about this solution is that even if there is a network outage, and only one path remains, critical business processes can be protected by switching over of key applications in milliseconds so that service can continue uninterrupted.
But before we go into the specific WAN virtualization solution, let’s take a look at a typical situation for networking between a datacenter and a remote office. In this scenario all traffic for business applications is set to run through an MPLS connection with one or two paths through the Internet for backup in case the MPLS link goes down. See image below:
What are the shortcomings in this scenario?
1. There is a lot of wasted bandwidth and contention.
2. When a connection goes down it can take several seconds or even minutes before it is back up.
3. After a failed connection applications will be competing for limited bandwidth causing it to become unstable.
4. If the Internet cannot provide the required reliability and quality of service then adding additional capacity can be very costly.
5. Although MPLS networks are generally of good quality, they can still experience packet loss.
6. Network administration can become complex and time-consuming to re-configure or monitor applications through different paths.
The scenario outlined is only for a single datacenter and one remote office, now these issues will be magnified with multiple datacenters and many remote offices or with cloud-based applications.
So how can this be solved? A way to solve these six issues and increase reliability, scale bandwidth and lower networking costs is CloudBridge Virtual WAN solution by Citrix. To learn more about this solution, go here.
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