Data Center Connectivity: Why Your WAN is More Critical Than Ever

Cloud and wireless traffic are breaking new ground. Is your business keeping up?

Bill Kleyman

August 26, 2016

4 Min Read
Data Center Connectivity: Why Your WAN is More Critical Than Ever
A symbolic data cloud is seen at the IBM stand at the 2014 CeBIT technology Trade fair on March 10, 2014 in Hanover, Germany. CeBIT is the world’s largest technology fair and the year’s partner nation was Great Britain. (Photo by Nigel Treblin/Getty Images)

The rapid digitization of business is driving a lot of changes in the way wireless and WAN technologies are utilized. The latest Cisco Cloud Index report estimates that the amount of data center traffic in 2014 was 3.5 ZB, which would will triple to reach 10.4 ZB by 2019, while the amount of global traffic crossing the Internet and IP WAN networks is projected to reach 2.0 ZB by 2019.

Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two-thirds of total IP traffic by 2020, and wired devices will account for 34 percent of it. Wired devices accounted for more than half of all IP traffic last year.

Follow that last sentence? Wireless devices are about to eclipse wired devices as the major carrier of IP traffic. This means it's time to take a hard look at your WAN, how you deploy critical resources, and what you can do to optimize it all.

Your Wide Area Network has become the distributed carrier for critical data points supporting a truly distributed user. Let’s look at some ways you can support a new kind of digital user and how you can better control all of that wireless traffic coming into your data center.

See alsoData Center Connectivity: How to Use WAN for Competitive Advantage

Content Delivery Networks to the Rescue

A recent Visual Networking Index report indicated that CDNs will carry sixty-four percent of all Internet traffic by 2020, up from 45 percent in 2015.

The reality is you’re delivering richer resources to more users worldwide. These users are utilizing a variety of devices and accessing applications, pictures, desktops, videos, big documents, and much more. Instead of constantly pinging a single data center for big content files, organizations are working with CDNs to intelligently distribute this data. For example, an organization hosting training videos will distribute their content to multiple locations to ensure that this data is available to users closest to the data center.

Proper CDN utilization will help ease WAN traffic as users will be able to access content closest to them.

Software Defined WAN Tech Will Impact the Data Center

A recent IDC study showed that today’s digital transformation and cloud computing trends are driving the need for significant changes to enterprise WAN architectures.

“The growing enterprise adoption of SaaS, IaaS, and other cloud services will accelerate and heighten the need for significant architectural changes to the WAN,” said Brad Casemore, director of research, Datacenter Networking, IDC. “However, the need for SD-WAN is not only occasioned by the increased adoption of cloud services but also by the steady migration of enterprise data traffic from the enterprise branch directly to the Internet, and by the requirement to reduce the complexity and cost of WAN provisioning and management.”

Software defined technologies help organizations abstract key services from hardware systems. WAN virtual appliances can be deployed for greater WAN control, content delivery optimization, and even for better remote data center controls. The beauty of these technologies is the flexibility. Software-defined WAN systems are agile, easy to deploy, and help optimize a delivery strategy.

WAN Optimization (WANOP) is Huge

A recent report from MarketsandMarkets shows that the WAN Optimization market was estimated to be $5.2 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow to $12.1 billion in 2019.

No big surprise there. We know that there is more traffic traveling over the WAN; we see that there are more digital data points; we are aware of a highly distributed end-user; and we see that the content being delivered is a lot richer.

Here’s the reality: WANOP helps organizations categorize WAN requirements based on context. IT admins can granularly control WAN traffic and optimize the delivery of key resources. All of this translates to greater business and IT controls for the organization.

Here’s the other cool part: WANOP systems come in hardware or software forms. This means complete flexibility in terms of deployment options and business alignment.

 WAN technologies will continue to impact business services and delivery architectures. Organizations that can effectively leverage their WAN ecosystem will be the ones who can deliver the richest content and optimize the experience throughout the process.

Cloud computing appeals to a variety of organizations spanning company sizes and verticals. However, the delivery of rich resources and controlling the WAN will translate to real-world competitive advantages. Moving forward, it’ll be critical for you to understand just how important your WAN is to your business and know where you can create powerful efficiencies.

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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