Right now, if you’re responsible for transforming your legacy wide-area network estate, you might be asking yourself, what does it mean to monetise your enterprise WAN? How can I leverage my WAN as a form of currency to earn revenue from my network assets? There are two primary ways to improve a company’s financial bottom line. One is to lower capital and operational expenditure (CAPEX and OPEX), while the other is to increase revenues.
We don’t often think of networks as assets we can monetise but just as governments monetise debt to keep interest rates low on borrowed money and businesses monetise products and services to generate profits, SD-WAN technologies can help monetise WANs to keep bandwidth costs low and deliver new service revenues with greater agility.
SD-WAN can also help internet service providers (ISPs), managed service providers and cloud service providers increase profits by leveraging excess bandwidth and delivering new value-added network services.
According to Gartner, 22% of an enterprise’s capital and operational budget is spent on data and voice networks and staff. In fact, Gartner details how CIOs and network managers can save up to 50% on network expenses with its 10 best practices to optimise spending on network infrastructures and telecom services.
- Manage your network service provider relationships appropriately and save 20%.
- Use hybrid WAN architectures, preferably with SD-WAN, to save as much as 50%.
- Embrace new consumption models and save 30%.
- Implement SIP trunking to save as much as 50%.
- Manage your mobile service providers and save 15%.
- Carefully manage your network equipment vendors and save 30%.
- Segment your network infrastructure and save 30%.
- Leverage WAN optimisation to improve WAN performance and save 30%.
- Just say “no” to chassis-based switches and save 70%.
- Scrutinise network equipment maintenance expenses and save as much as 50%.
Virtual technologies, mobility and the cloud, have forever changed the cost and efficiency dynamics for data delivery, consumption and insights. Unfortunately, many companies are being stifled by their private legacy networks.
Compared to broadband internet, MPLS is expensive and rigid and locks companies into a single carrier for each location. SD-WAN, on the other hand, helps lower bandwidth and management costs, frees enterprise WAN connectivity by supporting multiple network service providers, eases network management, simplifies administration and optimises cloud connectivity.
SD-WAN efficiently distributes traffic across multiple WAN connections including MPLS, low-cost internet, LTE, DIA internet, VSAT, and others. To avoid service provider lock-in, each connection can be from different network service providers. Additionally, because the most progressive SD-WAN techniques are observing behaviour at the packet level, uni-directionally, many times per second, multi-vendor telemetry data analysed by SD-WANs are effective analytics in terms of SLA attainment with both MPLS circuit providers and ISP/cloud internet connectivity service providers. Many enterprises aren’t interested in managing their own WANs and applications, so outsourcing WAN connectivity to a service provider can be a good option. For service providers, SD-WAN as-a-service, bundled with compute, storage and business-critical edge-network apps such as unified communications including voice and video, offers new revenue opportunities for managing enterprise WANs.
Pay as you grow
With a pay as you grow SD-WAN pricing model, WAN infrastructure can easily scale without hitting a performance ceiling. With subscription-based pricing it’s never been easier or more cost-effective to take advantage of SD-WAN benefits, such as eliminating upfront costs and moving budget requirements from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure, based on a Monthly Recurring Contract (MRC). Comprehensive maintenance may also be included within the MRC subscription to simplify deployment and ongoing support. Some additional benefits include:
- Easily decommission WAN connectivity at the end of a short-term data migration project, or keep it in place to support ongoing strategic projects, like data replication.
- Only pay for bandwidth actually used, instead of overpaying for more capacity than is needed, while also benefiting from intelligent link aggregation to reserve bandwidth for high priority traffic.
- Upgrade virtual SD-WAN appliances at any time, to meet changing WAN capacity needs.
- Dynamically deploy a network on-demand from a centralised controller node, either on-premise or via XSP, to flexibly align WAN support for localized and regional business opportunities.
MPLS has performed well in legacy datacentre to branch architectures, but in today’s cloud-connected enterprises MPLS is not well-suited for connecting users to cloud and SaaS applications, without additional costs and considerable re-engineering. SD-WAN, with diverse commodity internet connections and hybrid WAN options, enables enterprise users to connect to applications in cloud and corporate datacentres over any network and any device – from any geography.
SD-WAN direct cloud connectivity eliminates the trombone effect, so traffic from remote locations doesn’t need to be backhauled to the corporate datacentre before exiting to the internet – eliminating latency that can adversely impact the user quality experience.In addition to cost savings, SD-WAN orchestration makes service-chaining multiple functions significantly faster and easier. CIOs can take advantage of cost-effective thin-branch consolidation of multiple network functions like routing, firewall, app-security and WAN optimisation within a single SD-WAN edge appliance, virtual machine and/or cloud instance.
Think global, act local
SD-WAN network overlays allow administrators to automate new service provisioning without having to rebuild their network hardware infrastructure. The ability to achieve greater control, automated traffic flows and dynamically route traffic among multiple network links with QoS turbo boost and app prioritisation allows organisations to create new service revenues.
When a local or regional time-sensitive business opportunity arises, time to market is of utmost importance, whether setting up a pop-up retail shop, a temporary or short-term healthcare service or streaming live video of sporting, industry or corporate events. The ability to easily and cost-efficiently turn up a reliable, robust and secure WAN within hours can not only make the difference between failure and success, it can deliver a competitive advantage, while supporting new revenue streams, through e-commerce and new customers/subscriber acquisitions.
At a time when every business is looking closely at its bottom line and exploring ways to make savings and generate new revenue, it’s time to take a fresh look at how you can monetise your networks rather than seeing them as a just a necessary drain on resources.
This is a guest post by Atchison Frazer, head of worldwide marketing at Talari Networks.