Network Agility and Extensibility: Flexing Your Digital Infrastructure

May 10, 2021
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The network changes necessary for business continuity during the pandemic and the accelerated adoption of cloud-based models brought with them the need for greater network flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. Organizations have realized that they can transform much faster than they ever thought possible and the pressure to maintain this speed of innovation will persist. To keep up the pace, IT decision makers need to first make sure they have established a strong technology core that provides the network agility and extensibility necessary for growth.

Why is network agility and extensibility important?

 

For enterprise businesses, when your bandwidth needs, SD-WAN, cloud, edge compute and 5G are all growing at the same time, you have a flywheel effect. The more you are using cloud assets and cloud compute, the more bandwidth you need. With hybrid environments and multiple clouds, you need the ability to segregate and prioritize different types of traffic and applications. SD-WAN solutions provide a way to manage a network of locations and connections to applications and data in the cloud at an affordable cost, with higher visibility at a greater granularity to the data being transferred across those different locations. The network agility and extensibility provided by different modes of high bandwidth transport, coupled with software defined networking, enable companies to use more cloud assets efficiently and effectively.

To address the new digital business demands, IT decision-makers need to address key questions like:

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To help answer these questions we’ve assembled some best practices and industry commentary to help organizations achieve the best network configuration to scale.

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Assess needs

 

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Bandwith
Correctly estimating bandwidth requirements can prevent you from paying for more than your business needs. Not procuring enough bandwidth can result in slow connections and poor employee and customer experiences.

Supporting Cloud Environments
Architecting connectivity to manage direct-to-cloud, multi-cloud and multi-connectivity environments (5G, IoT, etc.).

Prioritization Path
Shifting demand patterns to support more critical applications. Leveraging SD-WAN to automatically direct traffic to the best path for improved network and application performance.


 

Flexible infrastructure

 

The ability of cloud to scale up and down quickly in response to changing business requirements will continue to drive cloud migrations. IT departments will also be tasked with moving existing and new applications to secure and easily accessible locations. To support all of these operational and networking shifts brought on by rapid cloud adoption, technologies like SD-WAN will be increasingly utilized to help deliver the necessary application prioritization, optimization and security.


 

Benefits of SD-WAN

 

With SD-WAN and agile networking organizations:

Gain network flexibility and control

  • Easy deployment and management

  • Faster time to service

Improve extensibility and scale

  • Deploy connectivity in the right places and supply scalable bandwidth across the network to reliably connect all devices and users.

  • Support a distributed apps environment, meet unpredictable business demands and enable remote workforces for business continuity.

  • Provide easy expansion to all edges of the network with SD-WAN.

Increase automation

  • Automate key elements of the network from traffic prioritization policies to failover rules and performance monitoring to alerting.

 

The powerful combination of SD-WAN and security

 

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Managed services as an enabler of agility and extensibility

 

IT departments face many business challenges pursuing their priorities because they just aren’t ready or scaled for the challenges of deploying digital technology on the required accelerated timeline. There’s an unprecedented level of digital priorities and this time there’s urgency as well. IT departments can’t do it all by themselves—there’s a shortage of resources, they don’t have expertise in all areas, and there’s too many critical projects. Due to all of these variables, organizations should consider outsourcing foundational areas that require specialized expertise to trusted strategic partners to manage those services.

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Measuring success

 

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Measuring the success of network architecture depends on a number of factors. What needs to be a primary focus of IT departments or the managed services providers is the assessment of the security and performance needs of each application and making sure the SD-WAN policies reflect everything correctly in the initial set-up.

When it comes to ongoing operations, IT departments can continue to monitor and measure the level of benefits derived along the following categories:

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Drive automation

The application-aware traffic routing and network segmentation of SD-WAN allows IT teams to automate policies and have real-time visibility and control when adjusting to new business needs, managing bandwidth, and prioritizing mission-critical operations.

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Leverage insights and improve performance

Understand the who, what, when, where of network usage and how network traffic is flowing.

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Manage security

Trusted partners can provide a strong understanding of your network and find the best solutions for your business.


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Managed costs

Establish a more cost effective utilization of existing networking and computing resources.

The goals and needs of every business, no matter the size, are constantly evolving and IT leaders need a network that can be configured in a way that is agile enough to keep up and extensible enough to grow as the organization changes.

See how Comcast Business can help.

Network agility and extensibility can help deploy cloud assets more effectively.

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