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Hybrid WAN: Maximizing the Enterprise Network

By: Greg Butler, director, Zayo Product Management, WANs

The corporate wide area network (WAN) continues to evolve as more enterprises rapidly adopt public cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to improve efficiencies and include SD-WAN solutions to extend their networks. The additional connectivity and internet traffic demands of these cloud services are straining the traditional MPLS WAN and making branch office connections vulnerable to outages. Enterprises are seeking new solutions to address these challenges.

Many enterprises are turning to hybrid WAN as a solution to combine the benefits of multiple access technologies while taking advantage of cost savings and performance improvements across their corporate infrastructure. A hybrid WAN enables IT architects to change their infrastructure approach from focusing on a single solution to meet all of the varied needs of their internal users to choose the best fit for the application from multiple options. For example, a hybrid WAN with SD-WAN enables path selection based upon Service Level Agreement (SLA) thresholds at the application level, so traffic can be directed to the best path, ensuring the lowest latency and best experience for users.

According to Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner, the hybrid WAN offers a number of benefits including reduced WAN costs, simplified and improved management orchestration of WAN traffic and devices, improved traffic monitoring and better security.

Also, with more enterprises relying on SD-WAN, they’ve found using it in conjunction with a hybrid WAN has provided a complete solution. SD-WAN securely extends private IP-VPN connectivity to branch offices, provides a failover option for an existing WAN, or overlays a secure private WAN using the internet. The real-time traffic monitoring, unified visibility and orchestration features of SD-WAN provide the decision making intelligence for network optimization while its security features meet the requirements of distributed and cloud-based applications.

Greg Butler is Zayo’s Director of Product Management for the WANs group. In five years at Zayo, Greg has spent time in several Layer 2/Layer 3 solutions roles ranging from commercial support and pricing to new product deployments, to large scale integrations. Before moving into his current role with the WANs business, Greg ran the carrier Ethernet business for Zayo. He studied business at the University of Colorado, is a licensed CPA, and worked in public accounting prior to making the transition to telecommunications and product management.   

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