Story image

The seven scariest things about legacy WANs

16 Feb 17

From ancient and creaking architecture, through poor performance and leaking cash on unused bandwidth, to an alarming lack of visibility, there is lots to be scared about with the current state of the WAN (wide area network).

According to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, writing for Silver Peak, the seven scariest issues relating to legacy WANs are:

1. Built on an old architecture

Some people tend to love old things, but technology is an area where this doesn’t pay off. We never see people using bag phones or Palm Pilots, as they don’t work as well as the new devices. So why are businesses running a WAN with an architecture developed 30 years ago? Old things often break, and eventually the legacy WAN is going to crumble in an increasingly digital world.

2.  Wasting money on unused bandwidth

Legacy WANs protect against outages with ‘active-passive’ technology where the backup connection can be used only when the primary fails. This means businesses have deployed and are managing a link that may never be used. Imagine building a road system where alternate routes can be used only when the main road fails. Each road would need to be overbuilt to accommodate all the traffic. This seems ridiculous but it’s the norm with networking. For many organisations the overspend on bandwidth leads to scary WAN bills.

3.  Poor network performance is costly

A recent survey run by ZK Research found that workers are 14 per cent less productive because of poor application performance. Application performance is highly dependent on the network, particularly the WAN for cloud applications and workers in branch offices. Poor performance means workers suffer and are less productive which impacts the company’s top and bottom lines. Scary for the network manager.

4.  Lack of visibility into network traffic

WAN transformation is a hot topic but how can one even begin the process unless there’s an understanding of what applications are running on the network and how much bandwidth they are using. This is critical to being able to set baselines, which has a number of benefits.

5.  Network management focus is misdirected

People need the right tool for the job. Most network management platforms monitor faults by understanding the state of specific devices. This may seem useful, but networks are built with so much device redundancy that device outages rarely impact the business. The harder problem to solve is performance, where everything on the dashboard shows green but users are having problems. It’s critical important to manage application performance rather than network faults.

6.  Security is falling behind

An interesting factoid from ZK Research is that 90% of security spend is focused at the perimeter but only 20% of breaches happen at that point. Bigger, more expensive firewalls won’t make organisations more secure as breaches are happening inside the network. A better approach is to use a technology, like software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) that enables secure segments to be created. Then if a breach does occur, the rest of the network is not impacted.

7.  Not evolving the WAN 

This can lead to the end of the engineer’s career. Since businesses need to move faster, failing to advance the network with new technologies will cause the organisation to fall behind its peers. Network engineers will benefit greatly by leading the transition to an SD-WAN and keeping their career skills as well as their organisations’ competitive edge.

The current state of the network is worrying and a poorly designed network can curtail the productivity of users and network operations. The way to combat all these issues is by implementing the latest technology. An SD-WAN can ward off all the scary things associated with legacy WANs.

By Graham Schultz, Sales Director Australia and New Zealand, Silver Peak

Gartner names newcomer Exabeam a leader in SIEM
The vendor landscape for SIEM is evolving, with recent entrants bringing technologies optimised for analytics use cases.
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
Genesys PureCloud generates triple-digit revenue growth year on year
In Australia and New Zealand, the company boosted PureCloud revenue by nearly 100%.
Symantec releases neural network-integrated USB scanning station
Symantec Industrial Control System Protection Neural helps defend against USB-borne cyber attacks on operational technology.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.
Open source will be the next big thing for the channel
Channel firms should be on the lookout for opportunities across open source and more diverse software offerings like software-defined containers and storage.
Gartner names LogRhythm leader in SIEM solutions
Security teams increasingly need end-to-end SIEM solutions with native options for host- and network-level monitoring.
NBN Co rolls out 'optimised' wholesale business bundles for ISPs
“We recognise some businesses are on nbn powered plans that have not been optimised for their needs," says Paul Tyler.