by August 1, 2009 0 comments



As businesses grow, they get distributed across the globe. So, managing an
extended enterprise network becomes a challenge. At the same time in the current
economic scenario, organizations want to do more with less without sacrificing
the performance of their applications. An organization having a centralized
environment would not want its branch offices in Europe or the US to be
experiencing slow application response time as it translates into productivity
loss.

There are technologies such as WAN optimization and acceleration available,
that give LAN like working experience over WANs. This not only requires
enterprises to spend on WAN technologies but also means they have to hire
experts to manage their WANs. This is where outsourcing the WAN infrastructure
comes in handy. With managed WAN services enterprises don’t need to implement
and manage WAN management devices on their own. They can leverage existing
expertise of an MSP.

Such a strategy gives enterprises advantages such as having access to latest
WAN technologies, improved utilization of WAN, as well as improved network
availability. Another advantage is that with your WAN completely outsourced, you
just have a single point of contact, which reduces the time spent on
coordination in case of problems. When outsourcing is done, it is important to
have stringent SLAs with the service provider, ensuring the highest security
standard and QoS to be used by the service provider. Most managed service
providers provide additional services along with WAN services to give better
customer support. For instance, services such as Network Analysis and Enhanced
Reporting can be combined with Managed WAN Services and created to improve the
overall customer experience.

Managed WAN optimization
WAN optimization and application acceleration is gaining popularity among
enterprises, especially those that are distributed across the globe. In the
current economic situation, where enterprises are looking to consolidate and
optimize their existing infrastructure, enterprise’s have invested in
technologies such SaaS, virtulization and are moving toward a centralized
architecture than a distributed one. This means they need to ensure they get the
best performance out of their WAN links, and this is where WAN optimization
comes in to the picture. Most organizations have implemented VoIP throughout
their company and in order to get most from it, they also need to move all voice
traffic from branch offices to WAN. For this, they would need to have QoS
policies, low latency, etc on the WAN links. Also with WAN optimization
enterprise can get most out from their current connections and refrain from
bandwidth upgrades.

With ‘Managed WAN Services’ enterprises don’t have to deploy or manage their
own WAN appliance, as this will be taken care of by the service provider. Now
there are plenty of WAN optimization solutions available, including the likes of
Riverbed, Bluecoat, etc. While managed service providers have tie-ups than more
than one of the WAN optimization vendors, it’s important that you do your own
internal assessment of applications currently running over WAN and see if the
offering from a particular vendor might suit your needs better than others. For
instance, for your enterprise an application response time might be more
important or your priority would be to provide faster file access to remote
branch offices. In Managed WAN optimization, costs can vary according to the
applications you wish to optimize, the number of employees using applications or
the number of remote offices which need to be optimized.

Managed VPN services
Managed VPNs give enterprises advantages like scalability, flexibility, 24×7
support, pro-active monitoring by the MSPs, etc. When going for managed VPN
service, most enterprises face the dilemma of which VPN service to choose, ie
IPSEC or SSL or MPLS. MPLS VPNs are considered to be fast as well as secure.
They offer benefits such as end-to-end QoS, Scalability, instant correction of
node or link failure, etc. Such a VPN is a good choice if you plan to converge
video, voice and data onto the VPN. Another advantage of MPLS VPNs is that it
can run multiple VPNs on the same network core, as are separated by route
distinguishers, to ensure security and isolation of VPNs. In MPLS, enterprises
generally have stringent SLAs regarding their performance, scalability,
bandwidth guaranteed, etc.

IPSEC can also be used over MPLS, which is considered to be the most secure
VPN around currently. Managed IPSec VPNs can be deployed on any existing IP
network, can be delivered as a network-based VPN directly through the MSP’s
network or as a site-to-site VPN with a CPE. The core advantage provided by
IPSEC VPNs is low setup cost as compared to MPLS and it has strong security at
the same time. The advantage of SSL VPNs is that it does not require any client
software on a user machine; it only needs a web browser. This is a good choice
if a user needs to access specific company resources and not the entire network,
and remote access is required for only short durations.

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