SD-WAN and Multi-Cloud Digital Transformation Part 2: Managed OTT Multi-Cloud Connect Opportunity

This is the second of a three-part blog series on the role of SD-WAN in enabling multi-cloud digital transformation. This blog will explore how managed service providers can leverage an advanced SD-WAN platform to offer enterprises additional flexibility to securely connect to multiple cloud providers over any network.

Today, service providers offer a range of managed cloud connectivity services to enterprises. Dedicated private cloud connect services utilize MPLS or Ethernet as the underlying network to connect to public infrastructure-as-a-service providers (AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle) and also to some software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers. These services provide secure, reliable access to major cloud providers without exposing traffic to the internet, benefiting enterprises that are already existing customers of the service provider.

So why are we not seeing widespread adoption by enterprises for managed private cloud connect services? Does cloud connect really mean multi-cloud for every cloud provider? Are there any shortcomings?

Let’s examine five reasons why an enterprise might choose not to utilize this type of managed cloud connect service:

  1. The additional cost associated with dedicated MPLS bandwidth capacity that may be required to support connectivity for multi-cloud services, even if these cloud connections are not utilized 100 percent of the time.
  2. Cloud connect service does not connect to EVERY SaaS provider, or to the key providers the enterprise is currently using or planning to use
  3. Cloud connect service typically requires a two-or-three-year contract, and enterprises may prefer the flexibility of an on-demand service or to use an alternative service provider all together
  4. Lack of flexibility to use alternative broadband or third party MPLS for OTT cloud connectivity
  5. Enterprise requirements for a high availability cloud connect service which may require a second private MPLS connection for the back-up cloud connection service

So, what if a service provider could offer a new, managed OTT multi-cloud connect service that could leverage the right SD-WAN platform to enable the service provider to offer broadband or third-party MPLS connectivity to all cloud services, IaaS or SaaS and offer end-to-end SLAs?

An SD-WAN platform must have the capability to identify, classify and automatically steer application traffic, including cloud-based applications. For example, enterprise QoS and security policies vary significantly across different classes of applications including real-time traffic, like voice and video; mission-critical SaaS applications, such as Salesforce or Office 365, and large file transfers, such as data replication and basic email.

The advanced performance, application visibility and SaaS optimization capabilities of the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN edge platform can support any broadband or third-party provider’s MPLS connection to any and all cloud service providers. This enables service providers to leverage SD-WAN for either on-net or off-net locations and provide a secure, always-on connectivity to all multi-cloud services. With an EdgeConnect SD-WAN virtual instance in a SaaS cloud co-location, service providers can rapidly turn up SaaS connectivity to all SaaS services as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. EdgeConnect™ enables OTT and private multi-cloud connectivity
Figure 1. EdgeConnect™ enables OTT and private multi-cloud connectivity

For critical cloud applications, EdgeConnect can support a back-up OTT multi-cloud connectivity service which ensures 100 percent uptime with automatic failover to broadband if the primary MPLS or broadband private cloud connection fails, enabling the service provider to offer competitive end-to-end SLAs.

Selecting the right SD-WAN platform can play an integral role in enabling service providers to differentiate and offer a flexible service offering to every enterprise branch office. A managed SD-WAN can enable enterprises  to connect to multiple cloud providers and do so either as part of a high-performance managed SD-WAN or as a private or OTT multi-cloud connect service.

The Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform expands the market opportunity for service providers to offer both a managed SD-WAN service and an OTT multi-cloud connect service to existing and new enterprises. It provides the highest application performance for branch sites that access SaaS or IaaS services and can help improve customer “stickiness.”