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Half a decade ago, the public cloud was shot into the limelight as the transformative technology for enterprise IT and business processes. It signalled the beginning of the end for some industry professionals as fear arises that the cloud is out to eradicate data centres around the world.

Fast forward to 2020, data centres and public clouds are inseparably intertwined in many digitally mature enterprises.

Hybrid cloud has been the preferred computing environment, favoured by financial institutions, governmental organisations and almost every other enterprise.

The main benefit of the hybrid cloud to enterprise is the choice when dedicating resources for data and applications needs. 
For instance, securing sensitive data within a controlled, private environment while relying on the public cloud to deploy customer-facing applications. For modern enterprises, hybrid cloud also implies the need for a hybrid network infrastructure.
Welcome to the Jungle?
Deploying connectivity to multiple clouds from data centres and enterprise locations is incredibly complex.
Across the entire enterprise IT environment is a jungle of different infrastructure that’s constantly growing. The goal is bringing them together and ensure they interact cohesively, like in a rainforest where various organisms are dependent on each other for survival.
On average, a large enterprise uses about 129 applications.
The data and applications’ performance are underpinned by the wide area network (WAN) which connects branch offices, data centres and the cloud environments.
How can a branch office securely access Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and gain insights on business-critical data from an on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) software?
WAN Transformation: From fragile to agile
Amongst enterprises, there is a growing realisation of the impact of WAN transformation on their cloud investment.
Cloud spend – especially Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and SaaS – over the last decade has been incredible. According to Synergy Research Group, cloud services had an average annual spending growth of 56% from 2009 to 2019.
If the WAN is a jungle, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) will be a luscious tropical rainforest.
Early adopters of SD-WAN looked at it as a viable option to replace legacy equipment and combining transport links to eliminate complex configuration and fulfil new operational requirements. With multiple clouds in the mix, there is now a new set of priorities to make the best out of their investment in the cloud.
The evolution of SD-WAN today is going to impact edge to cloud connectivity; notably in improving enterprise productivity, enhancing user experiences and increasing security between various endpoints. That matters because we will see edge computing becoming more prevalent, just by looking at the rapid development of technology in the automotive, healthcare, manufacturing and retail industries.
Will the edge eat the cloud? Probably not.
SD-WAN empowers both the edge and cloud to live and thrive in the same space through various connection types and management of network traffic. For latency-critical applications, real-time data processing happens near the WAN edge while the cloud can be used for data storage and disaster recovery.
SD-WAN helps enterprises to optimise and secure the network to improve communications between the edge and the cloud, eliminating the existence of silos and complexities.
And many are already enjoying the benefits today.
SD-WAN’s SASE Future
It may seem that the popularity of SD-WAN is peaking, but clearly it hasn’t.
SD-WAN adoption is set to reach 60% by 2024, thanks to growing digitalisation and edge computing requirements.
SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), a term coined by Gartner, is set to be the next evolution of SD-WAN. It is essentially an SD-WAN that combines network security with SD-WAN capabilities and delivered primarily as a Service (aaS).
Even though it’s a relatively new term, there are already platforms out there, such as Cato Networks, making SASE available to the market.
Here at Epsilon, our SD-WAN is also a cloud-delivered enterprise networking solution integrating advanced security features with configurable network and security policies using a centralised orchestrator.
What does this mean to the enterprise?
Better performance, higher levels of security, faster deployment, ease of use, cost savings and scalable.
Whether it’s securing the cloud or connecting multiple branches or replacing MPLS, SD-WAN (or SASE) will be something that modern enterprises cannot overlook in their overall IT strategy. If the network is fragile, everything else will fall apart.
With massive (and growing) spend in the cloud and edge technology, business users cannot afford slow response and downtime across the WAN. Network downtime is extremely expensive, costing enterprises $5,600 per minute according to Gartner.
Indeed, SD-WAN can solve or mitigate this problem and enhance the way enterprises consume Network as a Service (NaaS) – it lays the ground for intelligent edge and innovative technologies of the future.
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