The era of manually configuring networks is over. Welcome to self-driving networks.
The term streamline owes its origin to fluid dynamics, where it describes the direction of elements within a fluid. It is more commonly applied to altering forms to increase efficiency, such as reducing drag in planes, trains and even cyclists racing around velodromes. Applying it to traffic on the Internet is a less established usage, but for technology pundits it may soon become de reguire.
In the last decade enterprise productivity applications have moved from being locally hosted in corporate datacenters to being multi-tenanted in the cloud. CRM applications, read Salesforce, led the charge, and more recently communication solutions such as ShoreTel Cloud, RingCentral and Zoom have jumped on the SaaS bandwagon. Even though these apps have moved to the cloud, performance, security and reliability are still paramount.
The Enterprise LAN Has Been Subsumed into the Internet.
In the halcyon pre-cloud days, engineers built out corporate networks securely and reliably often using routers that required arcane programming skills at the Command Line Interface, or CLI. In today’s world, there is little use in engineers spending hours connecting remote offices and corporate datacenters with private networks or complex networking technologies such as MPLS, since the mission-critical apps now reside in the cloud. If private networks and MPLS no longer apply in a cloud-based world, how do enterprises go about ensuring that the services they rely on are still fast, secure, and reliable?
Welcome to the era of self-driving networks, where important traffic is automatically steered over the fastest Internet link and performance is managed dynamically based on actual network capacity. In this era, network components:
- dynamically determine the fastest link themselves, so that transient bottlenecks are avoided,
- regulate bandwidth so that applications respond as fast as possible,
- steer traffic over the access, backbone and core portions of the applications’ connection, so that intelligent switching is maintained end-to-end, from the edge right to your CRM app or your organization’s cloud-based VoIP service, and
- maintain Quality of Service (QoS) by assigning interactive traffic such as IP telephony and videoconferencing guaranteed priority, while simultaneously managing the overall profile of all traffic types.
Connectivity, Security and Reliability.
Truly self-driving networks need to be plug-n-play and maintenance-free. Critically, they need to provide a high quality experience for every application over every connection and for every device. The best-in-class solutions will provide reliable network connectivity over the most exacting connections and for the most demanding type of traffic, including interactive voice and video.
Next time you’re on a voice call and there are none of those persnickety problems like chirping, clipping or high background noise, or you’re on a videoconference that is artifact-free, or you’re using Marketo and it’s super responsive, you may be surprised to learn that you’re traveling over a self-driving network that was Streamlining the Internet.
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