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Getting Ready for a Hyper-Connected Future?
By Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager, Global and Emerging Markets, Cybera 

Although today's most important business trends focus on a diverse range of technologies and markets, they share a common requirement for reliable, high-performance data connectivity. That requirement is increasing the pressure on businesses to modernize their digital infrastructure, particularly in areas where older legacy technologies are being stretched by new and demanding applications.

There's little doubt that the latest technologies are creating new opportunities to build better, more effective businesses. However, the unrelenting pace of innovation is also shining the spotlight on legacy networks that lack the performance, control, and flexibility needed for today's fast-changing marketplace.

Legacy Networks Impact Modernization

For some businesses, a fundamental challenge stems from the fact that legacy network maintenance consumes a disproportionate amount of the IT budget that could otherwise be invested in modernizing IT infrastructure. And then there's the ever-present security risk caused by legacy technologies that might no longer be supported by vendors.

Despite these challenges, many businesses remain focused on network modernization, whether they are attempting to deliver cloud services, mobile connectivity, or edge networking. In doing so, they've had to balance their networking strategy with their broader technology requirements to ensure high enough network performance, security, and reliability to cost-effectively modernize their infrastructure.

As part of this process, they typically face some important questions. For instance, can they afford to be at the mercy of an outdated or inflexible network? Can they ignore the enormous potential of transformative technologies? Can they manage the risk of losing out to more agile competitors? Or is there an opportunity to gain a real competitive advantage by building the level of data connectivity that modern digital transformation requires?

Advanced Connectivity: The Role of SD-WANs and NFV

To deploy advanced "on-demand" data connectivity that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively, many businesses are turning to two key technologies-Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Combining these technologies enables businesses to build increasingly agile networks that help solve their current and future connectivity needs.

SD-WANs are purpose-built solutions that leverage intelligent software to deliver agile, secure, and scalable connectivity. By offering centralized network orchestration, control, and zero-touch provisioning, they can provide high-performance networking within a "borderless" infrastructure across highly distributed enterprises.

This level of flexibility is particularly important for digital transformation initiatives, because SD-WANs can leverage all types of connectivity options (including MPLS, broadband, 4G, and 5G) while automating network functions. This approach greatly simplifies the process of connecting people, devices, and locations to the cloud. It also helps businesses access the virtual functions and services they need.

SD-WANs can also help businesses reduce the complexity of the underlying network by creating a virtual layer that simplifies network operations. In practice, this means IT staff responsible for network provisioning and management won't need to manage multiple layers of hardware (such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers) that have historically made networks more complicated.

This approach is especially useful for geographically distributed businesses that want to simplify their branch or remote office networks. SD-WANs allow them to connect new offices or branch locations to the corporate network in hours, rather than weeks or months. This can prove particularly useful when there's a need to quickly deploy new apps and services while controlling or even reducing networking costs.

Moreover, adding NFV functionality can improve both network agility and efficiency by utilizing key network functions on an "as-a-service" basis. By replacing legacy network hardware with software that runs in the cloud, businesses have a cost-effective way to modernize firewalls, intrusion detection systems, traffic prioritization, and network performance optimization-all while safely integrating public cloud services.

A Streamlined Digital Transformation Journey

Leveraging SD-WANs and NFV, businesses typically find it much easier to reconfigure their networks and meet the data connectivity needs that lie at the heart of digital transformation. The versatility of these technologies can help businesses streamline their digital transformation journey, simplify operations, and increase agility-all while delivering a more compelling customer experience.

As we move deeper into the era of ubiquitous connectivity, SD-WANs and NFV will play an increasingly critical role in ensuring a smooth digital transformation facilitated by a modern network infrastructure.

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About the Author

Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager, Global and Emerging Markets, Cybera

Michael Cabra 

Michael Cabra brings over two decades of business strategy, product management, and technology development in publicly traded companies, large enterprises, and emerging start-ups to Cybera (www.cybera.com). Cabra has helped to develop and bring to market cutting-edge technologies that have redefined industries, such as communications, networking, and video/TV. He has held leadership roles at some of the world's most well-known and highly respected organizations, including Sprint, Cingular Wireless, and CSpire.

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2020 8:52 AM by David Marshall
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