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Achieving Agility with Cloud UC

Author: John Burke, CIO & Principal Research Analyst

Businesses are rapidly moving to the cloud for their communications and collaboration needs, especially when they want to deliver a consistent set of services to staff anywhere in the world without the hassles of maintaining a PBX of their own. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) strives to meet business needs for features and performance, but achieving a successful rollout means providing a network that delivers high availability, high performance, and the ability to proactively address conditions that can hurt cloud communications and collaboration.

Three options are key to re-architecting the WAN in the age of cloud: Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN), Direct Cloud Connect (DCC), and WAN-Cloud Exchanges (WAN-CX). SDWAN pools branch connectivity and intelligently manages traffic across all available links, increasing resilience and improving performance while reducing management costs. DCC bypasses the Internet for communications with a specific cloud service provider by linking the enterprise WAN edge to the cloud provider’s edge directly. WAN-CX uses an exchange approach to direct connection: enterprises connect to an exchange, then spin up virtual links through that connection to any cloud service provider on the exchange.

Connecting enterprise networks to cloud service providers through direct connect, SDWAN, or WAN exchange services offers the opportunity to guarantee high quality application service delivery as well as to reduce costs by leveraging lower-cost connectivity options globally.

IT leaders should:

    • Re-evaluate their wide area network strategies in conjunction with their plans to adopt cloud application and platform services, especially UCaaS
    • Examine the ability of SD-WAN to reduce operating costs, enable greater flexibility, and optimize cloud-based traffic flows
    • Consider DCC and WAN-CX offerings to provide more predictable performance, increase resilience, and enable end-to-end performance management for cloudbased applications, especially UCaaS
    • Explore various SD-WAN approaches to find the one that will work best for their organization.

Table of Contents
    • Table of Contents
    • Executive Summary
    • The Issue: Business Needs UCaaS, UCaaS Needs More
        • The Shift to the UCaaS
        • It’s Time for a New WAN
    • The Cloud Requires a Simpler, Smarter, Software-Defined WAN
        • Direct Internet Access
    • Enter SD-WAN
    • Types of SD-WAN
        • Overlay SD-WAN
        • In-Net SD-WAN
    • Direct Cloud Connect (DCC)
        • WAN-Cloud Exchanges (WAN-CX)
    • Making the Business Case for SD-WAN with UCaaS
        • Bottom Line Benefits: Cost Savings
        • Top-Line Benefits: Business Agility
        • Bottom-line Benefit: Management Overhead Reduced
        • Operational and Performance Risk Reduced
        • Global WAN, Regional Services, Unified Solution
    • Conclusions and Recommendations


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