Future of Cloud: Digital transformation in a post-pandemic world
Despite obvious difficulties, many companies had a surprisingly successful pandemic year. With home broadband common and technologies like SD-WAN and SASE keeping corporate data safe, millions of employees remained productive from their kitchen tables—joined together by the Cloud.
But with vaccines enjoying success and death rates declining worldwide, people are now starting to return to the office and plan for growth. Which begs the question: what next?
That was the subject of a recent panel between three Expereo execs—Salim Khouri (Director of Global Solutions Engineering) Jan Marsman (Senior Solutions Consultant) and Francois Devienne (Director of Engineering), hosted by John Cruickshank (Director, Enterprise Sales EMEA). All people with decades of experience at the coalface of corporate connectivity.
Let’s look at the future from their perspective—including an example of how a global manufacturer kept things humming amid pandemic disruption.
Khouri on connectivity: one of three transformation must-haves
As Salim puts it, the world was already moving into the Cloud, but the pandemic kicked things up a gear. It wasn’t a smooth shift, either. Starting as a coping mechanism to keep employees connected, it’s become clear that an internet underlay is more than a temporary fix: it’s a valid model for BAU, or Business As Usual. Not an emergency measure, but something that works for the day-to-day, pandemic or not.
In other words, the pandemic proved the point. Traditional MPLS and WANs centralized in the data center, while pricey, work just fine when everybody’s office-based. But with the right solutions layered on top, the public internet—in all its forms, from home fiber to mobile broadband—can provide the same service levels, the same security, and the same capacity to a more diverse set of users. The tools that make it possible? Established SD-WANs, newer SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) … and Expereo’s special ingredient: Cloud Acceleration.
Cloud Acceleration swings in Artificial Intelligence to “look” at how data moves across a connection and optimizes it for routing and volume moment-by-moment. Cloud Acceleration brings order from chaos—rather, it imposes order on an unpredictable network underlay, just as a skilled ship’s captain will navigate around storms and rocks.
“Internet usage here is key. It allows us to deliver the shortest path between customer locations—and from customer locations to the applications, wherever they are.”— Salim Khouri
That’s Salim’s point—and the pandemic proved it.
Marsman’s migration: regaining control over diverse data
Jan just completed a migration of an 80-site heating equipment vendor to such an underlay, moving multiple networks on MPLS to a single SD-WAN on business internet … worldwide. And the boost he’s delivered is astronomical.
The first win wasn’t about cost, but control. Different networks had different security environments, meaning the CIO didn’t feel in control of his IT. The SD-WAN, with security standardized across all locations, simplified that grab-bag of processes into one. A second win was on usage patterns: with the SD-WAN, the customer can now see traffic flows between data sources and applications globally, letting them fine-tune resources for each site and application. Even when those applications are distributed: Azure instances, private data centers, and SaaS. (Lesson One for any CIO: there’s more than one Cloud to deal with.)
It’s an example of how a less controllable underlay (the internet itself) can in practice deliver more control to the CIO. And that’s good news for end-users, who want the same experience no matter where they’re connecting from. Remote and mobile access lets the customer’s employees connect with ease every time, whether they’re in the den or the data center.
“We got great feedback from the customer—on the speed of transformation, the in-depth knowledge our engineers have about all layers of the solution: underlay, overlay, and security.”— Jan Marsman
Devienne’s diversities: smoothing away the underlay’s rough edges
Francois Devienne drills down deep when it comes to the actual methods Cloud Acceleration uses to bring order from chaos. About as deep as it gets: packet loss, latency issues, and broken tunnels. (Tunnels are the encrypted “secret passageways” of a VPN or SD-WAN, on which private data can travel safely over public infrastructure.)
Ultimately every chunk of data on an IP network is packetized. The internet’s basic protocols ensure overall integrity remains high, but the methods of doing so are basic, solving them without stopping them from happening again. A single email between East and West Coasts on plain old internet service may hop between dozens of servers and suffer 25% packet loss, clogging bandwidth with inefficiencies. Cloud Acceleration addresses these issues.
First, packet loss. Cloud Acceleration treats losses not as problems to be solved, but as information to be acted on. Looking across the whole network, it tracks down the sources of loss and clears the logjams where they happen, switching to more efficient (if less obvious) routings in tune with customer demand. Once established, those better routes become preferred routes, leaving nothing to chance.
The same happens with latency. Even small delays across a series of hops add up—so Cloud Acceleration seeks to minimize the number of hops a packet takes to complete its journey. Overtime (and “time” can mean mere seconds) machine intelligence builds up a picture of the ideal routing table and refers to it again and again … until conditions change, and it needs to update. It’s completely dynamic, flagging up persistent issues for human intervention (such as two equally vital applications competing for bandwidth) as needed.
In summary, the IP environment of the internet is diverse and varied—and Cloud Acceleration treats that as a plus, turning best-effort into an optimized outcome on an ongoing basis.
“From the user perspective, this service looks like internet, but it’s actually a much better internet, guaranteeing an underlay that bypasses bottlenecks, congestions, and poor choices made by third parties.”—Francois Devienne
Cloud acceleration is business acceleration
So that’s the future of the cloud: the flexibility of broadband internet, digitally transforming companies thanks to cloud acceleration. Business networks that operate smoothly across the public network—without losing any of the security, availability, and seamless bandwidth once exclusive to fixed infrastructure like MPLS.
The pandemic brought a lot of chaos and pain—but in its decline may come a small dose of good cheer. Because the necessity of providing access to corporate data across diverse connectivity has proved the effectiveness of SD-WAN and SASE to countless executives.
This is the future of the Cloud—and it’s available today.
Ask Expereo's experts about how Cloud Acceleration can get you there.