White Paper

The Network Evolution: A network that predicts, protects and adapts

The industries that define our lives including healthcare, transportation, finance, retail, manufacturing and many others are rapidly changing. It’s inspirational, motivating and unstoppable.

Overview

This evolution introduces an onslaught of applications and devices, a need for greater efficiency, and unfortunately new security threats.

Today's networks support a very different IT environment compared to just a few years ago. There has been a significant rise in the use of mobile clients, increased adoption of cloud-based applications, and the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As businesses have digitised, the scale of networks and networking needs have grown over the years, without a proportionate increase in IT resources. The end-user's expectations have also been rising, with businesses continually expecting IT to keep up with their evolving technology and growth needs. The networking technologies that have been the foundation of providing interconnectivity between clients, devices and applications have remained static.

While today's IT teams have a number of technology choices to design and operate their networks, there hasn't been a comprehensive, turnkey solution to address their evolving enterprise needs around mobility, IoT, cloud and security, until now…

By adopting an intent-based approach, networks will meet these challenges. They can understand the business intent and continuously align to it. They will use context and analytics to constantly learn and adapt to changing needs and conditions. And, fully integrated security capabilities will constantly protect organisations.

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A Forfusion team member supporting a customer with their network
Forfusion team members supporting a customer

Simplify deployment; reduce time, save money.

Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) allows you to manage your entire WAN from a single management platform, this is radically different to a traditional WAN where each device is configured and managed individually.  The controller for SD-WAN can be hosted in the cloud (AWS) or on-site or a combination of both.

Traditional networks involve managing devices individually increasing the chances of error and requiring a significant resource to implement. e.g changes need to be made across all network devices individually (often hundreds or thousands of devices) which takes time and significant human effort, often requiring large network operations centres (NOC) to oversee.

SD-WAN assures each device by automatically pushing the same policy across the network to all connected equipment. The policy or update is implemented almost instantly across the entire network resulting in significant time and cost savings at the same time as ensuring accuracy in the implementation. Zero-touch deployment means if a new device is added to the network in a remote location it will automatically configure and deploy itself.

A Forfusion team member supporting a customer with their network
A Forfusion team member supporting a customer with their network

Evaluate and learn, continuously improve efficiencies.

SD WAN can utilise any connectivity method and turn it into a WAN, typically links can be 3G/4G, LTE, MPLS, DSL, etc.. SD WAN will evaluate which link will service different types of traffic most efficiently.  e.g. voice or video can be sent over quicker higher quality links, whilst more affordable links can be used for messaging and email, where superfast down load of large data files is not as essential.  Its all about utilising the best tool for the job.

With traditional network systems without this intelligence there is an increased likelihood of slower speeds for certain traffic, inappropriate and unnecessary use of expensive links or lack of priority to content that requires a speedy service.

The ability to evaluate and utilise links efficiently means cost savings from appropriate spending on different links. You are able to monitor traffic and which links are being used, so that you can identify unnecessary spending on links that are high quality. The system will actually learn from and improve these efficiencies over time.

Man writing on whiteboard
Author by Marc Mawson

Marc Mawson has over 10 years’ experience designing, supporting and implementing enterprise networks while working with cutting-edge vendor technologies.

Let me introduce myself. I am an IT professional of some 15 years’ experience, I started out doing server administration and Microsoft infrastructure engineering, moving into pure Cisco networking support, and then into pre-sales and consultancy. I currently work as a Senior Consultant for Forfusion in the pre-sales team. I have over 10 years’ experience designing, supporting and implementing enterprise networks. My role affords me the opportunity to work with some cutting-edge vendor technologies such as SD-WAN / LAN. I specialise in SD (software defined) networking, for the Campus, WAN and Datacentre. My overarching specialisation is in the datacentre and cloud space.

I am proud to hold CCIE (Cisco certified internetworking expert) qualification in Datacentre. The CCIE is a coveted top-tier networking qualification and is the de facto for consultants/network architects (there are only about 45,000 active CCIE’s and they account for less than 0.01 of all the IT professionals in the world).

I’ve come to realise during my career that each piece of knowledge you acquire teaches you how much you still don’t know. I also found the fact that most network engineers have very similar interests fascinating.  

This white paper aims to address the challenge of trying to deconstruct all of the technologies (working more or less harmoniously together) that makeup software-defined access. Forfusion can offer a complete “service wrapper” for software-defined access, which includes design and implementation, carried over into a support cycle, this helps businesses leverage these seemingly complex environments so they can reap the benefits without taking on the risk.

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