Why SD-WAN is not enough for better application performance

Do you wish to deliver a better user experience for all your work-from-home teams? Don’t just stop at SD-WAN.

SD-WAN is an incredible technology, enhancing connectivity and enabling organizations to embrace more efficient cloud economics. It dramatically simplifies routing and network management, improves security, helps IT teams to reduce costs, and offers a simpler path to hybrid cloud, the nirvana for many enterprises.

But, and it’s a big but, SD-WAN is only part of the collaboration puzzle. And that’s because although it has intelligent routing on its own, it’s not enough to solve other bottlenecks that typically occur when applications are delivered remotely, as a service. Especially now as users are connecting from home, across large distances and over a multitude of network types, both underlay and overlay.

The challenge of the new normal

The physical distance between users and applications is increasing as more people work from home or remotely. Many businesses are continuing to backhaul through regional data centers, and this means IT teams are facing considerable issues with latency. This is not good for industries like financial services where even just a few seconds of lag, for example, on a trading application can have a huge cost impact.

It’s also important to consider the sheer number of application instances running in a typical remote-working business. Analyst IDC estimates that there are 20,000 different user-to-application connections that IT departments must now manage. This undoubtedly adds complexity and risks application performance.

And, of course, a poor-performing application can be highly detrimental to productivity. When CAD designers at Landform (a client of Riverbed, a partner of Orange Business) moved to remote working, they experienced huge delays when trying to open large design files. A file that took just a minute to open in the office took 20 minutes in a remote studio–and even longer at home. Just opening a handful of files could add hours to an employee’s working day.

Quite simply, no business can run optimally if their applications are not working effectively. So, if SD-WAN is only part of the solution…what is the rest?

The solution

The answer is WAN optimization, coupled with application acceleration for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).

At Orange Business, we deliver the SD-WAN connectivity and application performance management called Flexible SD-WAN, enhanced by Riverbed’s industry-leading WAN optimization and application acceleration technology in a product called Enterprise Application Management (EAM) based on Riverbed Steelhead technology.

Our strength as an integrator as well as a network provider worldwide, means we can leverage multiple optimization techniques, including data, application and transport streamlining, plus SaaS and cloud intelligence, to accelerate application performance and overcome latency issues, bandwidth constraints and network congestion.

You can boost workforce productivity, unlock innovation and new ways of working and strengthen growth and competitive advantage–all with the same predictable application performance for your users, wherever they are located, worldwide.

In the example mentioned above, Landform used Riverbed Client Accelerator, available with the Orange Business EAM managed service, to open files over a 100 Mbps home connection in just 1.5 minutes…the same connection that previously delivered a file opening time of 20+ minutes. Achieving these LAN-like speeds remotely through Riverbed technology offered such a huge productivity boost to the entire business that the installation effectively paid for itself within just one month.

Fundamentally, Riverbed acceleration technology significantly increases performance to improve user experience (UX) and productivity–something that SD-WAN cannot do by itself.

What happens next?

The question is, where does your business stand now, and what should you do next?

To help you explore this, we’ve developed a quick online self-assessment tool that allows you to identify your organization’s current status and attitudes towards network and application performance management. It will help you consider key questions and will offer a personalized report to support your next steps.

If you would like to discuss anything in this report or find out more about how Application Acceleration and Orange Business Enterprise Application Management can improve your organization’s capabilities, please get in touch.

Catherine Hayes
Catherine Hayes

Catherine is a Network Performance Management (NPM) Senior Product Manager in charge of acceleration products. She currently leads strategy, product innovation and international product development around NPM topics in Orange Business. Outside of work, Catherine likes gardening, hiking and surfing.