As the rate of adoption of cloud services increases exponentially, the majority of enterprises are making the move to Cloud Providers. In particular, Office 365 adoption is booming. Microsoft expect two-thirds of Office business users to be cloud subscribers by mid-2019.
When making the switch to cloud services most enterprises focus on the migration process, deployment to users and the adoption of new collaboration features. User experience and performance are also critical but few take a detailed look at the readiness of their infrastructure in advance to ensure the best possible performance on migration.
It comes as a shock to many when user experience does not meet expectations and focus quickly turns to internal infrastructure. Factors such as network latency, Internet filtering, network design and geographical location quickly become critical to improving UX and ensuring adoption rates meets expectations. These issues are not normally highlighted during a proof of concept but only come to light after several thousand users (and a multiple of connections) are all trying to squeeze out of your internet links at the same time.
It is a fact though, that Enterprises need to fundamentally change their existing Network Topology to get the most from cloud services. Historically, most enterprise Networks were built in a Hub/Spoke Model with private MPLS links back to on-premise, centralised Data Centers where applications were served to users.
To access the internet users in branch offices would egress via the Data Centre where traffic is inspected by Proxies, firewalls, and possible IPS/IDS systems. This Data Centre egress point could often be located many hundreds (or thousands!) of miles from where the user/branch offices are located. This is known as ‘back hauling’ or ‘hair-pinning’ but both mean data traffic is slowed down going back and forth between multiple locations before getting to the user.
Nowadays this traditional hub/spoke model is no longer fit for purpose. Nor is it recommended by Cloud providers such as Microsoft for Office 365. Legacy MPLS networks were just not built for the modern Cloud world.
Many companies are realizing this often too late into a Cloud migration such as Office 365.
Microsoft recommend the following for Office 365:
- Use simple internet connections to egress user/branch traffic directly onto the internet as close as possible to the user. This means Branch offices should break traffic out onto the internet at the branch location and not backhaul traffic via centralized Data Centers.
- Avoid Network Hairpins
- Avoid Express Route, a simple internet path is recommended
- Ensure Round Trip Times (RTT) are as low as possible
- Ensure local DNS resolution services are used
- Bypass On-Premise Proxies, Traffic Inspection Devices, SSL Inspection, DLP, etc. (Your security team will not love this!).
So, if you are an Enterprise planning to move to Office 365 or have even started the journey have you really taken these steps? If not, do not be surprised if performance issues arise, the project perception is impaired, and you have frustrated users staring at egg timers or error messages.
At this point it can be very painful to IT Departments to figure a way out of the crisis.
So, what is the answer?
Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN).
SD-WAN allows Enterprise to quickly and easily adapt their Network Topology to change from a legacy Hub & Spoke model using private links, to one that can provide the optimal performance for today’s modern cloud needs.
For example, SD-WAN allows Enterprise to:
- Securely steer specific application traffic at branch level directly to the Cloud provider without backhauling through the centralised Data Centre. This ensures an optimized user experience in line with recommended guidelines from Microsoft and other Cloud Services/Providers.
- Replace or reduce expensive MPLS circuits with standard internet connections (this often will pay for the SD-WAN implementation itself).
- Increase bandwidth to locations very quickly and easily by bonding available circuits together or allowing for additional, easily obtained connectivity such as commodity internet circuits (ADSL, Fibre & even 4G!).
- Strengthen resilience within the Enterprise Network by now leveraging the internet to create secure, encrypted, virtual connections towards the legacy enterprise Data Centres, or branch locations in a Mesh like configuration.
- Ensure always on Branch connectivity
- Gain visibility and control over applications
- Simplify the branch network
- Enhancing Network security with encrypted tunnels used across all network links
- Improve application quality by prioritizing application traffic with real intelligence, not just filling up QoS queues.
So, if you are an Enterprise that is planning to use Cloud Services (or already started) and you have not yet modernized your network, action is needed.
The good news is that thanks to SD-WAN and specialists such as Edge7 Networks it is not as hard as you think.
In fact, in nearly all cases a rapid Return on Investment can be achieved while implementing SD-WAN.
Edge7 Networks are specialists in SD-WAN Technology. An accredited Citrix Solution Advisor, Edge7 Networks transforms enterprise connectivity for customers enabling them to enjoy the cost, availability and security benefits that SD-WAN delivers.
Contact Edge7 Networks to start a conversation. We’ll get you to the cloud.