Productivity apps such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite are being used in 70% of non-HQ locations, according to IT decision makers recently surveyed by IDG Research Services. More than half are also using cloud-based audio/video conferencing and filesharing applications. That’s a dramatic shift and reflects continuing efforts to offload traffic from traditional multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) corporate networking.
MPLS has been the workhorse of many enterprise wide-area networks (WANs), with the ability to prioritize traffic and ensure quality of service for mission-critical applications. But these hubs are being overloaded with less-critical traffic as locations across the WAN ramp up their bandwidth consumption.
As Network World observes, “MPLS was designed in an era when branch offices sent traffic back to a main headquarters or data center, not for today’s world, where branch office workers want direct access to the cloud.”
Routing branch traffic through the MPLS hub simply adds to congestion and is a drag on performance of cloud-based apps and services. End users are using Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite increasingly to collaborate with users in other offices, further ramping up the need for bandwidth. Their use of video and audio conferencing is also growing.
IT decision makers are figuring out how to ensure performance of these tools without diluting the priorities placed on mission-critical, data-intensive applications. Many are turning to hybrid networks to relieve the MPLS. An increasingly attractive option is the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) that can connect users to cloud providers over the public internet, or route over secure virtual private networks to the MPLS-based corporate hub.
To learn more about the changing network needs of non-HQ offices, read the TechPulse white paper.